Leonard Ncube, Victoria Falls Reporter
VICE-PRESIDENT Constantino Chiwenga has said Victoria Falls is poised for a major economic boost which will see the town and its environs growing into a world class business centre.
Speaking after touring Victoria Falls International Airport on Saturday, VP Chiwenga said several Government projects are underway to make Victoria Falls the centre for many economic activities.
The Government wants to make the resort town its conference capital and is courting investors for partnerships towards development of a number of projects including a convention centre with state-of-the-art conference facilities and five-star hotels, among others.
The Government plans to build Masue town at Masue Estate outside Victoria Falls where about 30 000 low- and high-density housing units will be built, including a medical centre, university and other developments.
In addition, there is the planned Batoka project and town which is part of the Batoka Hydro Electric Power Project spearheaded by the Zambezi River Authority downstream from Victoria Falls.
Government also recently approved the Conceptual Development Framework for the Victoria Falls-Binga Special Economic Zone (SEZ) to be spearheaded by the Zimbabwe Investment and Development Agency.
The SEZ’s focus is on Victoria Falls Municipality area, Jafuta (Masuwe) State land, Batoka Town, Mlibizi Resort, Binga Centre, Sijalila Resort, Binga hinterland, Gwayi-Shangani Dam Resort, Hwange Town, and Hwange Aerodrome Centre.
Matabeleland North recently twinned with Namibia’s southern region of Amaheke for partnerships in development projects. Government is also working on establishing the Victoria Falls Stock Exchange.
Growth of Victoria Falls will stir development across Matabeleland North whose economy is hinged on tourism, wildlife, mining, timber, agriculture and culture among others.
“Victoria Falls was designated a Special Economic Zone and will soon have a Stock Exchange. All this shows that Victoria Falls is going to grow big very soon. It is going to be a centre for a lot of activities.
“Remember Victoria Falls is one of the Seven Wonders of the World and we are going to develop it. And besides the Victoria Falls itself, think of wildlife in Hwange National Park and other adjacent parks. There is also the mammoth Batoka project downstream which is going to be starting soon. All these are going to be integrated and centred in Victoria Falls,” said VP Chiwenga.
He said Kazungula Bridge being built across Zambezi River where Botswana, Zambia and Zimbabwe borders meet will contribute to growth.
Zimbabwe was initially not part of the project until the Second Republic under President Mnangagwa engaged Botswana and Zambia who had already started the project.
VP Chiwenga said:
“We are now part of the Kazungula Bridge where we are building an inland port in Kazungula, tapping a lot from Namibia, Zambia and Botswana.”
The bridge is expected to facilitate the north-south trade in the Sadc region by easing movement of cargo by road.
The VP who is also Health and Child Care Minister, had visited Victoria Falls to assess state of readiness of the airport as the country reopens the economy.
He said Victoria Falls, Joshua Mqabuko Nkomo International Airport in Bulawayo and Robert Mugabe International Airport in Harare were ready to welcome both local and international visitors after necessary Covid-19 precautions were put in place.
The VP said inland border posts will be opened after consultation with other countries in the region.
Currently only South Africa has announced the reopening of Beitbridge Border post. — @nucleon