Development trajectory points to bright future

Developmental projects being carried out in various parts of the country are a clear sign that the New Dispensation is on course to meeting its targets.

These are milestones that offer important indicators about the direction the country is going in its economic progress, and the impact is already starting to bear results.

In the last few weeks, including the past week, a lot has been happening on the ground, as the country continues to set new markers that point to the achievements being made in development.

President Mnangagwa has since indicated that it is now more about “development, development, development”, and he has been true to his word.

The President has been to various parts of the country in the last weeks, overseeing progress being made in the projects that are game-changers for the economy.

He has been to Hwange, Victoria Falls, Bubi (on the Harare-Beitbridge Highway) and Chiadzwa, inspecting the projects and emphasising the new approach to development.

Bubi and the Harare-Beitbridge Highway

Last week on Friday, President Mnangagwa was in Bubi where he commissioned a 32.2-kilometre stretch completed along the Harare-Beitbridge Highway under Phase One of the rehabilitation, upgrading and widening project.

Under Phase One of the project, the highway is being widened from the present seven metres to 12,5 metres in line with the Southern Africa Transport and Communications standards.

As part of the same phase, the stretch from Harare to Beatrice will be dualised, including 20km either side of Chivhu, another 20km either side of Masvingo, and 20 km from Beitbridge.

The entire highway of 584km from Harare to Beitbridge will be dualised under Phase Two of the project.

The focus on the Harare-Beitbridge highway is not a mere coincidence, it is a deliberate effort by the New Dispensation in recognition of the importance of such infrastructure in aiding development.

The eventual completion of the road works will restore Zimbabwe’s status as central in transportation of cargo in the Southern African Development Community.

In fact, an efficient road system has a positive impact on other sectors of the economy such as tourism, agriculture and mining, as it makes movement of goods and people easier.

A state-of-the-art Harare-Beitbridge Highway, including the Harare-Chirundu highway, will open a developmental corridor that will have an impact on a number of countries in the region.

This will be good to enhance the African Continental Free Trade Area, as it will boost trade and regional integration.

The highway connects Zimbabwe, South Africa, Botswana, Zambia, the Democratic Republic of Congo, Malawi and Tanzania.

The completion of the rehabilitation works on the highway will enhance the ease of doing business and help attract investors into the country, especially those in the export business.

This means the Harare-Beitbridge highway and the Harare-Chirundu highway should operate efficiently to enhance trade among African countries.

Roads rehabilitation is part of the Government’s infrastructure development programme that will revamp the country to new standards of doing business.

Victoria Falls and tourism recovery

As part of his hectic programme last week, President Mnangagwa was in Victoria Falls where he launched the National Tourism Recovery and Growth Strategy, which was approved by Cabinet recently.

The strategy will encourage investment in the tourism sector, making Zimbabwe a favourite destination among tourists, thus achieving the envisaged US$5 billion tourism economy by 2025.

The focus on Victoria Falls and the activities carried out by the President there clearly indicate the new approach meant to rebrand the tourism resort through the attraction of investors.

This will be greatly supported by the tourism recovery strategy, that will not only work to revive Victoria Falls following the outbreak of Covid-19, but help the entire sector.

Victoria Falls has been designated as a financial hub special economic zone, where investors in the financial sector are expected to sat base.

This will be supported by the Victoria Falls Stock Exchange whose operating modalities were gazetted recently through Statutory Instrument 196 of 2020.

Another milestone with regards to Victoria Falls is the adoption by Cabinet of a report on the operations of Mosi-Oa-Tunya Development Company, an investment vehicle for Government in the development of tourism facilities in the resort town.

The company is already working with a private sector concern to conduct feasibility studies for the proposed Victoria Falls Integrated Tourism Park in Masuwe Estate.

This project will result in the building of hotels, shopping malls, a medical facility, a convention centre and an upmarket golf course.

This clearly shows that Victoria Falls is no longer about tourism alone, but is set to play an important role in the development trajectory of the country.

The transformation taking place in the town is massive, and will have ripple, positive effects on the economy.

The financial hub special economic zone status for the resort town will result in investors bringing in capital and new technologies into the country that will enhance industrialisation and modernisation.

Apart from that, President Mnangagwa’s promotion of tourism is out of the realisation that the sector is a low hanging fruit that can contribute to a quick economic turnaround.

While in Victoria Falls, President Mnangagwa officially re-opened the Victoria Falls Rainforest that had been closed due to Covid-19, with the move signifying that the country is ready to welcome tourists once more.

But all this cannot be easily achieved without players in the tourism industry being innovative and adaptive to new and efficient ways of doing business.

The tourism industry is crying out for new products and services that can compete with any other in the world to ensure that tourists always put Zimbabwe on their itinerary.

Chiadzwa and the diamonds

On Saturday, President Mnangagwa was in Chiadzwa where he officiated at a ceremony to mark the return to full scale diamond mining by Chinese firm, Anjin Diamonds.

The return of the company is significant in that it will contribute to increased diamond mining and help up earnings from the gems.

The New Dispensation has set eyes on achieving a US$12 billion mining industry by 2023, and it is envisaged that companies such as Anjin will play an important role in the achievement of such a target.

Anjin contributed about US$200 million to the economy before it stopped mining in 2016, and it has so far invested US$38 million to resuscitate operations and will soon employ about 500 people.

But firms like Anjin and others in Chiadzwa should start taking value addition and beneficiation seriously to ensure that the country fully benefits from the gems.

It is possible to end up with a diamond city around Chiadzwa since the resources that enable the move are already available, abundantly.

Hwange and electricity

A few weeks ago, President Mnangagwa spent two days in Hwange where he toured projects in coal mining and electricity generation.

His visit was significant in various ways.

This area is important in the country’s development trajectory in that companies there are expected to be generating in excess of 6 900MW of power by 2023.

This will make the country self-sufficient in electricity and an exporter to regional countries.

Electricity plays an important role in industrialisation and modernisation of the country, as it powers industries and other sectors.

In fact, one of the boxes that investors are eager to tick when considering to commit themselves to a particular country is the availability of power.–

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