Vic Falls Special Economic Zone Feasibility Study Complete

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By Matabeleland North Correspondent

MOSI-oa-Tunya Development Company, a state entity assigned by government to lead in the development of Victoria Falls Special Economic Zone (SEZ), says it has completed the feasibility study and is seeking stakeholders’ input to proceed.

Mosi presented the study to various stakeholders who attended a Victoria Falls SEZ feasibility study validation workshop organized by the ministry of environment, Climate, Tourism and Hospitality Industry in Victoria Falls.

The company is working with Old Mutual on the study which will see Victoria Falls being expanded in line with the government concept of SEZ.

A board for the company was put in place in 2018.

Representing Mosi, Taona Zhou said the company has a specific mandate to spearhead infrastructure development.

“The company was mandated to unlock various funding opportunities considering we cannot continue relying on government funding. As part of fulfilling this mandate, the company entered into partnership with Old Mutual to fund the study,” said Zhou.

“We have gathered here today to interrogate the work done by the consultants led by Old Mutual and your input should enable us to finalise the important document.”

Newly appointed Environment, Climate, Tourism and Hospitality Industry deputy minister Barbara Rwodzi said the workshop marks a key step in the realization of one of the key targets under the National Development Strategy (NDS1) (2021-2025), which is to ensure the development of the Masuwe Integrated Tourism Resort.

“As you are all aware, Government approved the development of the Tourism Special Economic Zone corridor stretching from the current Victoria Falls City all the way to Binga and Kariba. This corridor has key nodes which include the regeneration of the existing city, as well as Masuwe, Batoka, Hwange, Binga, Mlibizi, Sijarira and Kariba. It also includes the development of tourism infrastructure around the soon to be completed Gwayi-Shangani Dam. The realisation of developments along this Tourism Special Economic Zone Corridor is key in unlocking the latent potential of Tourism to play a key role towards the realisation of the National Vision 2030 towards an Empowered and Prosperous Upper Middle-Income Economy by 2030,” she said.

Rwodzi was appointed a week ago.

She said it was incumbent upon the tourism ministry to vigorously push for the development of tourism and enabling infrastructure along the tourism corridor.

“A lot of work still needs to be done and we should therefore not be found wanting,” she said.

“This workshop focusing on the validation of the feasibility study should act as a catalyst to a series of events that will set the foundation for the actual development of bulk infrastructure on the Special Economic Zone. Once the feasibility report has been approved, the expectation will be for Mosi to move full throttle in implementation of the recommendations of the feasibility study report. Indeed as ministry our goal is for Mosi to move to the brick and mortar stage in 2022,” she added.

She implored the development company to collaborate with key stakeholders like Victoria Falls City, Hwange RDC, the Zimbabwe Investment Development Agency (ZIDA), various ministries and agencies.

She said the completion of the study comes at an opportune time when there is significant growth in tourism despite the Covid-19 pandemic.

Rwodzi said it is government’s wish for Victoria Falls to be a competitive world class tourism investment destination.