Binga new status woos investors

BINGA in Matabeleland North Province is aggressively positioning itself for a massive economic takeoff as it seeks to leverage on its vast untapped tourism resources by luring potential investors to partner with it in harnessing the resources in the district.

The vast district is endowed with an array of untapped natural resources cutting across the tourism, culture and mining sector.

In March, the Second Republic upgraded Binga to a local board following a request by traditional leaders in the Matabeleland North province.

The local board status has uplifted its investment attractiveness to investors.

The new Binga status brings to three, the number of local boards in Matabeleland North after Hwange and Lupane. The district is famed for fishing in the Zambezi River, tourism, and a rich culture characterised by art and craft.

Government under the Second Republic continues to accelerate the implementation of key infrastructure projects in the district, which for years lagged behind in terms of development.

The Government greenlighted the implementation of several major projects in the district in line with the Second Republic’s thrust that leaves no one and no place behind in national development.

In line with President Mnangagwa’s philosophy of ensuring that ‘no one and no place is left behind’ in terms of development, the Second Republic continues to roll out transformative projects in different parts of Matabeleland, a region that has over the years been regarded ‘marginalised’ and least developed.

Since coming to power in 2017, President Mnangagwa has been at the forefront in terms of driving economic growth and development in Matabeleland.

Early 2022, President Mnangagwa announced during a star rally at Siabuwa Business Centre in Binga that the Government under the Second Republic committed itself to developing Binga, which for years has been lagging behind in terms of development.

The projects, which the Government has greenlighted for implementation include the rehabilitation of roads, construction of a vocational training centre and a new border post, setting up of a nursing school at Binga Hospital and the refurbishment and operationalisation of the hospital mortuary.

Last week, 24 pioneering graduates from Binga district consisting of 12 males and 12 females graduated as part of the first 45 students enrolled at Binga Polytechnic College.

They graduated after completing courses in Electrical Installation, Maintenance and Repairs, Car Maintenance, Drain Laying and Rural Sanitation, Food Preparation as well as Tourism and Hospitality Management.

To tap into its natural resources, the local board is soliciting investors to partner with it to develop the sand beach, and a commercial complex, a development set to further unlock and promote economic growth in the district as it will draw in tourism and other business opportunities.

The local board has unveiled a lakefront tourism piece of land measuring approximately five hectares.

In an interview yesterday, Binga Rural District Council (RDC) chief executive officer Mr Joshua Muzamba said the development of the sand beach will improve the economic well-being of the district as it will bring activity to the town

He said all the sectors of the economy including fishing, tourism, and employment creation will be boosted by the development.

“The sand beach will bring increased tourist volumes visiting the local board, and improve business for the commercial sector which includes shops and banks. It will also promote increased accommodation demand for services, ranging from lodges, hotels, and guesthouses. We also envision increased demand for transport services and because of that we should see improved employment opportunities in the district and the fish industry will also improve due to increased demand by visitors,” said Mr Muzamba.

To promote investment within the district, Mr Muzamba said the local board is working with different organisations to advertise investment opportunities in their district.

“The local board is advertising through Zimbabwe Investment and Development Agency (Zida), trade fairs such as the Sanganai/Hlanganani international tourism expo and the Zimbabwe International Trade Fair (ZITF) and sensitising tourism players to ready themselves to take up increased volumes expected,” said Mr Muzamba.

The sand beach is close to the recently refurbished Binga Airstrip and is six kilometers from the business district

The district is also flexing its muscle in the mining sector as it houses coal focused mining ventures which are expected to steer economic growth and immensely contribute to the realisation of a US$12 billion mining industry by end of this year.

President Mnangagwa is expected to officially commission the massive Lubu Coking Coal Project in Binga district, which is being undertaken by a British investor, Contango Holdings.

The mine started production recently and is one of the transformative development strides in Matabeleland North province given its impact on jobs, community development and downstream industries.

The mining firm has been accelerating the assembling of machinery in recent months and this has been facilitated by the successful £7,5 million fundraising in October.

Coal mining is expected to contribute significantly to the realisation of a US$12 billion mining industry by the end of this year.

According to the 2022 population census, Binga has a population of about 159 982.

The district is part of the greater corridor linked to the Victoria Falls Special Economic Zone (SEZ).

The Government has put much focus on the operationalisation of the tourism SEZ as one of the key deliverables under the National Development Strategy (NDS1

The tourism SEZ corridor stretches from Victoria Falls City all the way to Binga and Kariba.

The corridor has key nodes, which include the regeneration of the existing city, as well as Masuwe, Batoka, Hwange, Binga, Mlibizi, Sijarira and Kariba. It also includes the development of tourism infrastructure around Lake Gwayi-Shangani.

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