Leonard Ncube, Victoria Falls Reporter
THE number of national projects being implemented by the Second Republic in Matabeleland North gives the province a comparative advantage to grow its Gross Domestic Product (GDP) and improve people’s livelihoods.
The Second Republic under President Mnangagwa is implementing Lake Gwayi-Shangani, Bubi-Lupane Dam and Irrigation, Hwange Unit 7 and 8, rehabilitation of Bulawayo-Nkayi Road and other roads, Bulawayo Kraal Irrigation Scheme, Nyamandlovu Aquifer and Lupane Provincial Hospital among others in Matabeleland North.
Some of the projects had failed to take off in the previous governments until 2018 when a new era was ushered, bringing hope to the citizenry that development was now possible.
The province is endowed with vast natural resources including minerals, wildlife and water, and also boasts of being home to the country’s tourism capital in Victoria Falls as well as conservation activities which are all the cornerstone of the province’s economy.
The rebranded Matabeleland North Agricultural Show is one of the grand platforms for the province to showcase its vast endowments and for local businesses to interact towards one common vision of development through devolution as espoused in the National Development Strategy 1(NDS1).
Officiating at the 59th edition of the annual expo, Matabeleland North Minister of Provincial Affairs and Devolution Richard Moyo said under the Devolution Agenda, the onus is on provinces to ensure that the living standards of their people are uplifted in line with Vision 2030.
“The theme calls upon the province to work hard and grow our GDP and provincial economy. The high number of national projects in the province such as Lake Gwayi-Shangani, Hwange Unit 7 and 8 and others, and our natural endowments give our province a comparative advantage.
“Let us as a province take advantage of our resources and actively source for investors. I call upon captains of industry and business owners to ensure active involvement of all those in the economically active segment of the population particularly youth and women during and beyond the exhibition,” said Minister Moyo.
The projects have been a source of employment for hundreds of youths thereby ensuring they desist from abusing drugs and thinking of going to neighbouring countries in search of jobs.
The show started on Wednesday and ends tomorrow. Today and tomorrow are public and entertainment days.
This year’s theme is: “Rising from turbulent times and sustaining growth in and beyond Covid-19.”
Minister Moyo said the exhibition is being held at a time when the country witnessed a successful farming season due to the good rains received this year.
He said the various irrigation schemes being implemented in the province and throughout the country pave the way for Zimbabwe to once again become the bread basket of Southern Africa as it will no longer be relying on rain fed agriculture.
The Minister implored all sectors to network and be able to find clients and share ideas that will help businesses grow.
“Due to the Covid-19 pandemic none of us thought we would be gathered here again pushing the province forward in various sectors that include agriculture, mining, retail, conservation and industry. But we are here and we are grateful to his Excellency President Mnangagwa for his visionary leadership that has seen his Government implementing various measures to ensure that Covid-19 is contained. The measures have seen the country avoiding a total lockdown thus minimising the negative impact of the pandemic,” said the Minister.
He said Zimbabwe has been listed among the 13 countries that have reached World Health Organisation target to fully vaccinate more than 10 percent of its population by end of September 2021, with over 13 percent of the population already vaccinated.
Minister Moyo said this is testimony that the New Dispensation is all about action and delivery of results, as he encouraged citizens who are yet to vaccinate to get vaccinated as this is the only way to control the pandemic and allow economic activities to move forward.
Exhibitors ranged from Government departments, agencies, security services, conservation organisations, Ministries, small and medium enterprises, small scale farmers to mining companies and small-scale fast-food providers.
The day was a busy one as exhibitors showcased their goods and services, with more action expected today when children will be allowed in.
Matabeleland North Agricultural Show chairman Mr Praise Moyo said the high turnout despite Covid-19 was encouraging.
Chief Wange said the annual expo was a success because of the peaceful environment enhanced by the Second Republic. — @ncubeleon