By Richard Muponde
GWANDA, which is eyeing city status in a year, has dangled a carrot to investors by offering incentives to businesses willing to set base in the gold mining town.
The town is located 126km southeast of Bulawayo, Zimbabwe’s second largest city.
It is the capital of Matabeleland South, one of the 10 administrative provinces in the country.
Economic centres surrounding Gwanda include Mbalabala, West Nicholson, Filabusi, Esigodini and Matobo.
The town is endowed with natural resources on which it hinges its hopes for economic growth, which include, but are not limited to gold, lime ore, livestock-
rich grazing land, granite and beautiful geographical landscape for tourism.
However, despite the abundant resources, the town has nothing to show for it in terms of development, prompting the town fathers to line up a number of
incentives to woo investors.
Council has dangled a 25% discount on land sales, additional 10 % discount for outright cash payment towards land value, 100% removal/waiver of development
levies if construction commences within 12 months from day of purchase of land and exemption from payment of council rates for the first 12 months.
In an interview at the local authority’s stand at the just-ended Zimbabwe International Trade Fair, Gwanda’s economic development officer Mandlenkosi Moyo
said they were on an overdrive to attract investors.
“We have target areas, which we are promoting and our theme is ‘Infrastructure development to make industry tick”, that is aimed at creating a conducive
environment for industrial development and sustainable service delivery,” he said.
“We have also improved our road network to be the envy of many thanks to Zinara funding.”
Moyo said artisanal miners were the force behind Gwanda’s economy as they were producing more than the three big mines in Gwanda, namely Blanket, Vumbachikwe
and Farvic, combined.
“We want to help them to get investors so that they also use environment-friendly methods of mining,” he said.
“At the moment they are unwanted people as their methods of mining are unpopular with stakeholders, which leaves them being stigmatised, but they are the
driving force behind the economy of Gwanda.”
Moyo said the local authority was also targeting to increase the
number of hotel rooms in Gwanda as they only stand at 100 for all lodges including Gwanda Hotel.
“Gwanda is the capital of Matabeleland South. We do have land set aside for investment in hotels and lodges,” he said.
“We are coming from a background where land was sold to people who had no capacity and we can’t grab the land back.
“We have another space earmarked for investment in the hospitality and tourism sector, but we are not going to give out to someone without a business profile.”
Moyo also invited investors to venture into quarry mining at Masholomoshe Mountain as most of the town’s construction aggregate comes from Bulawayo.
He said livestock value addition chain investors were welcome to invest and tap into the large stock of livestock which Gwanda is endowed with.