Thupeyo Muleya in Beitbridge
BEITBRIDGE district stands to benefit immensely from a devolved economy given its vast investment opportunities and natural resources.
The district has citrus fruits, livestock, water for irrigation farming, resources for renewable energy, tourism attractions, good conditions for horticulture, minerals, transport and logistics services.
Acting district development coordinator (DDC), Mr Jahson Mugodzwa, said Beitbridge has already laid the foundation to pave way for a massive economic development. He said so far Beitbridge Rural District Council and the Municipality had received $516 000 and $135 000 respectively for capital projects relating to water infrastructure development.
“Recently we attended a devolution conference with a number of captains of industries among other stakeholders, to sell our investment opportunities and we hope that will help us take off,” said Mr Mugodzwa.
He said there will be follow up meetings at provincial level.
Some of the lined up projects include irrigation infrastructure development and the construction of more primary health care centres. Beitbridge Municipality on one hand expects to work on sewer and water reticulation upgrading as top priorities.
Mr Mugodzwa said Beitbridge’s proximity to South Africa presents a lot of opportunities for investment in manufacturing, road, rail and air transport and logistics, tourism development and related international trade facilitation services.
He said Beitbridge also has a rich Venda culture, which could be exploited for tourism gains given its links with South African communities. The other biggest project is the proposed sale of water to Limpopo province, mainly Vhembe.
“We have many water sources to sustain such an initiative.
“This would generate the much needed revenue to improve service delivery in our local authorities or even fund infrastructure development projects like roads,” Mr Mugodzwa.
He urged Government to speed up implementation of the One Stop Border Post with South Africa and rehabilitate the Harare-Beitbridge Road. These projects are critical in positioning Beitbridge as the best port of entry and growing investment opportunities for the country.
Mr Mugodzwa said national parks and other tourism players should take advantage of being part of two Transfrontier Conservation Areas with South Africa, Mozambique and Botswana and invest in related services.
“We are also encouraging communities to fully participate in activities that seek to grow their economic standing and national economic development,” he said.
“Livestock production, citrus growing and mining are some of our major economic drivers where opportunity abounds for investors. We are willing to assist anyone seeking to invest in our area.”
Beitbridge is also working on completing a 63km Zhovhe Beitbridge Canal, which will go a long way in addressing water problems in the town as well as assist in food production. Efforts are also under way to harness solar energy opportunities.
“This is a permanent solution to power supplies deficiencies. We are also courting investors to help resuscitate macro irrigation schemes, which can improve food security at household level,” said Mr Mugodzwa.