47 farms earmarked for new city

FORTY-SEVEN farms in Mashonaland West and Mashonaland Central provinces have been earmarked for the development of the new capital city in Mt Hampden, where work on core infrastructure, which includes roads, water, electricity and telecommunications, has begun.

Most of the infrastructure is expected to be in place by August, when Zimbabwe hosts the 44th Southern African Development Community (SADC) Summit at the new Parliament building, which is the nucleus around which the new metropolis will be built.

Rehabilitation of roads such as the Bindura-Harare Highway and Nemakonde Way (formerly Lomagundi Road), connecting the current capital city and Mashonaland Central Province to the Parliament building, is underway.

The development of a multi-million-dollar residential complex to accommodate some of the delegates to the SADC summit near the imposing structure is set to commence soon.

(Multiple Values)A contractor compacting the area set for the Cyber city construction in Mount Hampden on Friday.- Picture: Joseph Manditswara

Chief director (spatial planning and development) in the Ministry of Local Government and Public Works, Mr Shingirayi Mushamba, told The Sunday Mail that a technical committee had been set up to oversee the clearing of farms ahead of the works.

“About 47 farms have been identified for the construction of the new city,” he said.

“The Ministries of Lands, Agriculture, Fisheries, Water and Rural Development; Local Government and Public Works; as well as Housing and Social Amenities will be working closely with the affected families, with a multi-stakeholder consultation meeting set to be convened soon.

“Development of the new city has begun in earnest as seen by the connecting of the new Parliament building through the widening of roads that lead to the city and the construction of roads such as the Bindura-Harare Highway.”

(Multiple Values) A contractor compacting the area set for the Cyber city construction in Mount Hampden on Friday.-Picture: Joseph Manditswara

He said the Government was working around the clock to ensure the roads were completed in time for the summit.

Water supplies, power and telecommunications connectivity are being established.

The Government, Mr Mushamba added, has drawn up a list of priority infrastructure projects set to be developed around the new city under the first phase of the project.

“We are also working on accommodation, which will be used by some of the delegates to the SADC summit. The accommodation will obviously constitute part of the new city.”

He said some facilities in Harare that will be used during the annual indaba are set to undergo an extensive revamp.

Overall, the projects dovetail with the Government’s vision of transforming the country into an upper middle-income economy by 2030.

“The President has itemised all the infrastructure that will be built inside the new city and this will be announced in due course,” said Mr Mushamba.

“Financing modalities and construction companies are still being identified. The Government has also drawn up plans to empower the 300 farmers that will be affected by the construction of the new city.”

The concept for the new city was approved by Cabinet in December 2018, with the opening of the new Parliament building last year helping to catalyse development.

An inter-ministerial committee comprising the Ministries of Lands, Agriculture, Fisheries, Water and Rural Development; Local Government and Public Works; and National Housing and Social Amenities has since been set up to facilitate the relocation of about 300 families to make way for the project.

The multi-billion-dollar metropolis, which is anticipated to decongest Harare, will straddle 15 500 hectares and accommodate more than 1,5 million residents on completion, according to the city’s master plan that was approved by Cabinet.

Three local authorities — Harare Municipality, Mazowe and Zvimba rural districts councils — will administer the city, which is set to be named after one of the country’s cultural and heritage endowments.

It is envisaged that the city will be developed in four distinct phases spanning 10 years.

The first phase, which will run for two years, entails the creation of traction and development infrastructure.

It is expected to be funded through Treasury and “donations from the private sector and other partners”, according to the blueprint.

Phase two will involve development of baseline infrastructure through funding from Treasury, public-private partnerships (PPPs), loans and issuance of bonds, debentures or bills.

The next phase, running from year five to 10, will witness the development of commercial, residential and industrial areas through PPPs, foreign direct investment (FDI), syndicated loans, development finance and export credit finance, among other instruments.

The final phase involves continued development of commercial, residential and industrial areas from year 10 going forward through private equity, PPPs, FDI and syndicated loans.

As signs of buy-in from investors, Dubai-based billionaire Mr Shaji Ul Mulk, who is the founder and chairperson of Mulk International Group, has begun constructing a US$500 million cyber city in Mt Hampden.

Urban planning expert and University of Zimbabwe lecturer in the Department of Architecture and Real Estate Dr Nyasha Mutsindikwa said: “The SADC summit set to be held in August is a great opportunity to showcase the country to potential investors from the region.

“Areas of potential investment include the new city, where investors can finance the construction of housing and roads infrastructure.”

Herald

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