Zim plans new towns to ease congested cities

Zim plans new towns to ease congested cities

HARARE, July 13 (The Source) – Zimbabwe has plans to establish four new towns as part of plans to de-congest current cities and towns, President Robert Mugabe said on Thursday while wooing investors to exploit opportunities in the country’s real estate sector.

Zimbabwe has a housing backlog of over 1,25 million units and government has over the years failed to meet the high demand for accommodation resulting in sprouting of illegal settlements.

Addressing delegates at a national housing conference, Mugabe said the “self-contained towns” would be in Harare, Manyame, Norton and Bulawayo.

“Plans are afoot to pilot the new concept at Chishawasha B in Harare, Nyatsime area in Manyame, Knock Mallock in Norton and Umvutsha in Bulawayo,” Mugabe said.

“These schemes indeed require bulk offsite infrastructure which presents investment opportunities, in addition to on-site infrastructure and actual housing construction.”

He said the housing backlog was an opportunity for investment which would help stimulate economic growth.

Government on its part would remove bottlenecks faced by investors in providing housing delivery as well as land for new developments, he said.

“It goes without saying that when this (housing) sector performs, all other downstream sectors also flourish,” he said.

“The sector creates employment for those who are in construction, in as much as it promotes small and medium enterprises, the main suppliers of building materials.”

Investors have largely remained sceptical about investing in Zimbabwe with policy uncertainties keeping most out.

Owing a house remains a dream for millions of Zimbabweans due to unaffordable mortgages.

Building societies, property developers and local authorities are among those attending the three-day housing conference.