Leonard Ncube, Victoria Falls Reporter
THE exponential growth in coal, energy and infrastructure projects in Hwange is attracting investment opportunities in other sectors of the economy such as retail.
This is in line with the National Development Strategy 1 (NDS1) which is premised on enhancing industrial growth, creating employment, improving livelihoods, decentralising services towards achieving an upper middle-income economy by 2030 where the Gross Domestic Product per capita would be at US$3 500.
There are now more than 10 coal mining and energy producing companies in Hwange district alone, a development that has breathed a new lease of life to the local economy.
President Mnangagwa visited most of the projects last year as the Second Republic forges ahead with economic revival through industry capacitation.
Hwange had over the years witnessed some companies closing shop or relocating because of lack of business, but lately some businesses have been flooding the town to tap into the new opportunities.
A new fuel garage opened a fortnight ago after taking over the premises that had been lying idle for a long time.
One of the leading retail chain, Jet Zimbabwe Stores opened a branch in Hwange town yesterday.
The new shop has employed more than 20 locals while also providing shopping option for residents who have over the years depended mostly on informal clothing dealers.
A news crew witnessed the opening of the new shop, which is Jet’s 30th outlet in the country.
Hundreds of customers thronged the shop to sample the new fashion arrivals.
One of the shoppers, Mrs Gladys Mudimba said the new shop will provide a service that has been missing as Hwange residents would travel to Victoria Falls to buy clothes.
Jet is a discount chain under the Edgars Stores Limited Group and began trading in 2011, having rebranded from Express Stores.
Jet chain managing director Mr Peter Mnyama said a promising local economy in Hwange attracted the shop to open a new branch.
“This is our 30th store countrywide after we opened Nkwame Nkrumah and Mutoko branches this year. We used to be here before as Express Stores and we have presence in the form of Edgars which caters for certain customers and Jet is coming to complete the taste.
“Hwange is beginning to grow as we have more mines opening and we thought we should come and give customers service. This is part of our strategy to grow the brand that is trusted as we create Jet Nation by going to where people are. We are happy to be part of this community and Hwange is a place of people and we are grateful to Hwange Colliery Company for giving us the opportunity to be back here,” said Mr Mnyama.
All along there was a single Jet Store in Matabeleland North in Victoria Falls.
Mr Mnyama said the response on the opening day was resounding.
“We now have two Jet Stores in the district and province. We are here to satisfy customer base and we offer affordable fashion for everyday wear as our merchandise is affordable.
“We are glad to have provided employment and all staff are locals except for the manager while even the contractors who prepared the shop were from here. Today is a big day for us, and we are enthused by the response, it’s been amazing and there were queues since we opened at 9AM,” he said.
Besides open shopping, customers will have access to credit schemes and micro financial services.
Hwange District Development Coordinator Mr Simon Muleya yesterday commended the Second Republic for created a conducive environment for business.
“We are excited as a town and district as we are seeing more and more shop space that had become vacant being occupied as businesses respond to developments in Hwange. This is all as a result of the conducive operating environment created by the Second Republic and the devolution policy, ” said Mr Muleya. — @ncubeleon