At least five blocks of flats would be constructed in every rural district by 2030 under an initiative that is being spearheaded by the Ministry of National Housing and Social Amenities, it has been learnt.
The Government expects to get part of the funding from Pan-African housing financier, Shelter Afrique, which recently hosted its 41st Annual General Meeting (AGM) in Victoria Falls, where Zimbabwe assumed chairmanship of the institution’s bureau.
In an interview with The Sunday Mail, National Housing and Social Amenities Minister Daniel Garwe said the programme had been endorsed by Shelter Afrique.
“The transformation of rural constituencies cannot be over-emphasised and one key deliverable is to ensure rural communities are modernised, as President Mnangagwa has pronounced.
“One of the resolutions made at the Victoria Falls AGM is to access sovereign lending from Shelter Afrique, and Zimbabwe is top on the agenda in accessing that funding. We also discussed actual housing delivery; we believe that affordable funding from Shelter Afrique will help Government in championing that cause.”
Plans to construct the flats are already underway, with the ground-breaking ceremony set for next month. Phase one of the programme is funded by Treasury.
“We have secured land in Gokwe, Mutasa, Binga and Mudzi where the President visited and made a promise. We are working with the rural housing department in the ministry. Our pilot project is in Uzumba-Maramba-Pfungwe, which we will be launching soon, as Vision 2030 speaks to the entire Zimbabwean community, and not just urban areas.”
The flats, Minister Garwe said, would be available on a rent-to-buy model, with civil servants prioritised. Discussions with other investors to fund the project are ongoing.
“We are also talking to pension funds, insurance companies and we are putting packages in place which can attract investors to come and invest in those areas. We are also going to influence the generality of Africa in terms of joining Zimbabwe in transforming the lives of people in the rural communities, which is one of the Victoria Falls declarations.”
As part of plans to ensure the programme becomes successful, the Government is migrating from the traditional use of brick and mortar to new technologies. Contractors have been engaged to present available options, amid indications some of the new models will allow delivery of a minimum of 100 blocks of flats per month. Association of Rural District Councils of Zimbabwe chief executive officer Dr Isaac Matsilele said construction of flats in rural areas will promote urban to rural migration.
“Developing rural communities is a noble intention because housing has always been a challenge in rural areas,” he said.
“Workers who are deployed in rural areas will not shun their job because they will have somewhere decent to stay. So we really appreciate the move and we are ready to work with Government to develop rural areas and promote urban to rural migration.”
In 2021, Cabinet approved the National Housing Settlements Policy, which, among other measures, requires “at least 40 percent of new housing projects to be reserved for construction of high-rise buildings to curb unrestricted spread of settlements and promote modern housing infrastructure.” Sunday Mail