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Zimbabwe, SA to implement programmes under Trans-Limpopo initiative

by Staff reporter
02 Sep 2019 at 07:38hrs | Views
Matabeleland region is poised for economic growth following a crucial meeting in Polokwane, South Africa to operationalise programmes under the auspices of the Trans-Limpopo Spatial Development Initiative (TLSDI), a bilateral economic pact signed in 2001.

TLSDI was first proposed in 1998 before a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) was subsequently signed in March 2001 between South Africa's Limpopo province and Matabeleland region.  

The initiative is aimed at creating an economic corridor from Limpopo Province in South Africa through to Victoria Falls to promote trade and economic development in the Trans-Limpopo corridor as well as facilitating the flow of traffic and other movement between the two countries.

However, since the signing of MoU by the then Provincial Governors of Matabeleland North and Matabeleland South, Dr Obert Mpofu and the late Stephen Jeqe Nyongolo Nkomo and former Limpopo Premier Ngoako Ramatlhodi, there has been no implementation of some of the projects that have a potential to unlock foreign direct investment in Matabeleland and the country at large.

The Minister of State for Bulawayo Provincial Affairs Judith Ncube led a Zimbabwean delegation which included her counterparts from Matabeleland North and Matabeleland South, Ministers Richard Moyo and Abedinico Ncube respectively to a provincial meeting at Bela-Bela outside Polokawane on Friday.

In an interview yesterday, Minister Ncube described the meeting as fruitful, saying they resolved to implement economic programmes in various sectors of the economy to help foster economic development in the region.

"We held a very successful meeting in Polokwane with our South African counterparts in Limpopo province. The meeting was aimed at operationalising the MoU signed between Matabeleland provinces and Limpopo Province in South Africa in 2001. We managed to review the successes and failures and we were also able to come up with a new work plan to enhance economic growth in the region, particularly looking at areas of tourism, industry, infrastructure, water and agriculture," she said.

"We met the Premier of Limpopo (Mr Chupu Stanley Mathabatha) and we agreed to expand our partnerships between government institutions and businesses by exploring new avenues so that we grow our economies and already we have twinning arrangement between municipalities in the two countries."

Limpopo provincial premier's spokesperson, Mr Kenny Mathivha told The Chronicle that the growth of their special economic zones were affected by a critical shortage of water in the mining sector hence the need to import water from Zimbabwe.

"Our Musina-Makhado Special Economic Zone has a serious water challenges and among other things that were discussed during the meeting was the issue of importing water from the Zambezi upstream of Cabora Bassa basin since we have huge mining operations in Limpopo province that require a lot of water. The other thing is that we also want to embark on an exchange education programme which will see students from South Africa coming to study at the Zimbabwe School of Mines. We want to strengthen our economic ties so that we create jobs for our people on both sides of the border," he said.  

Some of the aspects, which were discussed during the meeting include the facilitation of tri-partite partnership between Limpopo Economic Development Agency (LEDA), ZimTrade and Zimbabwe Investment Agency (ZIA) and co-operation in the development of the Musina-Makhado SEZ in securing strategic raw materials from water and other mining areas, the exchange programmes on small to medium enterprises and co-operative development.

The other issue discussed was the collaboration between Limpopo Tourism Agency and Zimbabwe Tourism Authority to share tourism promotion strategies, solicit Limpopo-Zambezi destination route which envisage the support of Polokwane International Airport, Joshua Mqabuko Nkomo Airport and Victoria Falls Airport.

In addition, Premier Mathabatha and provincial affairs ministers of Zimbabwe will deliberate on the twinning of municipalities, Polokwane and Bulawayo on the spatial development initiative, Makhado and Gwanda as well as the harmonisation of Musina and Beitbridge cross-border permits for regional integration.

It is envisaged that some of the challenges facing Bulawayo, once the country's industrial hub, could be addressed if projects under the TLSDI are fully implemented.


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Source - chronicle

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