, By Matabeleland North Correspondent
VICTORIA FALLS: Matabeleland North has been described as a province with vast resources but very little to show for it on the ground in terms of development and growth.
Such is the story of Matabeleland North a province with gold, coal, untapped methane gas, timber, wildlife, fish, rich agricultural soils, and human capital but having one of the poorest populations in the country.
Hwange National Park is the second biggest wildlife sanctuary in the SADC region after Kruger Park in South Africa while Victoria Falls is one of the seven natural wonders of the world while the country’s major thermal power plant is in Hwange.
However, all this counts to naught as the province remains largely rural with no development happening in these communal areas.
As a result, different stakeholders are meeting in Victoria Falls seeking to craft a Matabeleland North provincial economic development plan meant to guide the province in realising financial benefit from its vast endowments.
The plan which will run for the next five years will be hinged on the country’s devolution agenda and National Development Strategy 1 (NDS1).
Provincial Affairs Minister Richard Moyo was the guest-of-honour at the meeting, which kicked off Monday.
“All the country’s 10 provinces were directed to craft their provincial economic development plans. Under the Devolution Agenda, all provinces will be competing to grow their economies and their Gross Domestic Product (GDP). The development plan will be finalised at the end of the workshop and will be a reflection of the aspirations of the people of Matabeleland North,” he said.
He said while the task is challenging, the plan will determine the type of investment needed in the province.
“Matabeleland North is endowed with vast natural resources and an attractive provincial development plan is the first step in our endeavour to be the best.
The workshop is being attended by various stakeholders including traditional leaders, local authorities, parastatals, and others.”