HARARE, June 17 (The Source) – Integrated financial services group Old Mutual Zimbabwe on Friday announced plans to construct a mall which will house small scale businesses and informal traders in Harare’s city centre.
Small to medium enterprises and informal trading have taken centre stage as country’s formal economy remains listless.
Old Mutual Zimbabwe chief executive Jonas Mushosho told journalists that the company had seen an opportunity in the provision of business infrastructure to the small scale traders.
“In response to the changes in sectorial composition of Zimbabwe’s economy, we saw a business opportunity to develop the Eastgate market specifically for SMEs and the informal sector,” he said, referring to a site adjacent to the Eastgate mall, also owned by Old Mutual.
According to an April 2015 report by the National Vendors Union of Zimbabwe (NVUZ) an estimated 20 000 vendors trade in Harare’s central business district.
“The growth of the informal sector has natural provided real estate investors with an opportunity to design and construct suitable working space for SME’s and informal sector.”
The project is expected to take 18 months to complete, with a delivery date set for December 2017. The mall will have five hundred and thirteen market stalls, forty residential single bedroom flats and fresh produce supermarket.
Mushosho said Old Mutual is working with several other local authorities to replicate the model in other parts of the country.
Old Mutual has a sizeable property portfolio with several office complexes and shopping malls around the country.
Property developers have started to move to meet growing demand by Zimbabwe’s burgeoning informal sector. Ken Sharpe’s West Properties last year opened its $5 million Mbudzi People’s Market on the outskirts of Harare, to accommodate 380 informal traders and 88 formal ones.