Mashonaland West is currently being primed to readily adapt to more responsibilities that will arise from the transfer of power from central Government.
Preparatory meetings designed to make the seamless transition to the new governance system that is envisaged under devolution are already underway.
In essence, devolution is expected to uplift the lives of communities around the country through targeted programmes driven by provincial authorities.
Minister of State for Mashonaland West Provincial Affairs Mrs Mary Mliswa-Chikoka told The Sunday Mail last week that a business conference – the Mashonaland West Governor’s Business Indaba – will be held this week to get buy-in for Government’s development efforts from the corporate world.
“Mashonaland West is very prepared for devolution and is raring to go. We have held several meetings with provincial heads and local authority heads in different districts of the province.
“The meetings were emphasising on the inevitability of devolution and how business attitudes need to change for the better. Work ethics and work attitudes must change and everyone must adopt the “Ease of Doing Business” mantra,” said Minister Mliswa-Chikoka.
The mineral-rich province, she said, will leverage on its bountiful resources to spur development.
“It is true that Mashonaland West is endowed with many natural resources too numerous to mention. Exploration will need to take prominence in order to identify, confirm and quantify ore reserves.
“We plan to participate at the Zimbabwe Mining Investment Conference 2019 to be held in Victoria Falls in August, where, as the Minister of State, I will market the province as a mining investment destination.
“Currently, some local explorers have identified some resource deposits that could catapult Zimbabwe into a middle-income economy pretty much sooner than 2030,” she said.
Some of the multi-million-dollar projects that are raising the province’s profile include the Sunny Yi Feng Tiles project in Norton, Central African Batteries, Great Dyke Investments and new mining projects by Karo Resources.
Agriculture and tourism are also key economic activities.
Minister Mliswa-Chikoka said although the province has trafficable roads, reliable power supplies, clean water and competent colleges and universities, there is still need for more investments in infrastructure development in order to budget for anticipated future economic growth.
“We intend to dualise the two trunk roads: namely, Harare to Chirundu, and Chinhoyi to Chegutu highways, together with incorporating modern off-ramps throughout Mashonaland West province for ease of safe access/exit.
“We also want to ensure the railway line is upgraded and modernised so it can cope with anticipated heavy traffic volumes,” she said.
The province, which has seven districts – Chegutu, Hurungwe, Mhondoro-Ngezi, Kariba, Makonde, Sanyati, Zvimba – is also mulling various housing development projects.
Overall, it is believed that devolution will help deepen democratic and accountable exercise of power, foster national unity and recognise the rights of communities to manage their own affairs for the benefit of their respective areas.
The legal framework to enable the full implementation of devolution is being developed.