BY SILAS NKALA
THE Bulawayo City Council (BCC) is pursuing smart city housing opportunities that include development of low-cost accommodation for low-income earners and renewal of old suburbs.
The local authority has unveiled virgin land in the Umvumila area to the Special Economic Zone (SEZ) to set up a smart industrial park.
BCC economic development executive Kholisani Moyo said: “There is a lot of pressure on the city’s public hospitals that are in a poor state and fall short of meeting population needs, as well as world-class standards. This provides a plethora of investment opportunities,” he said.
“Smart projects and investments in the health sector include smart burial (double graves, tomb stones), solar system at clinics, conversion of solid waste to energy and medical tourism. The agriculture sector is the mainstay of the economy which contributes 15,5% to the country’s gross domestic product (GDP).”
Moyo said the city has a well-established value chain within its agro-processing industry at council owned farms, food and beverage industries and supermarkets.
He noted that nurseries could supply seedlings, seeds and trees greening the city and investment could be attracted in the development of the city’s smart vegetable market. Moyo added that on the Special Economic Zones, council has availed land in the Umvumila area to set up a smart industrial park.
“The proposed industrial park will be the first of its kind. The park will focus on attracting the much needed foreign direct investment into the city, as we aim to attract top investors to stimulate industrial growth and restore Bulawayo as a regional industrial powerhouse,” Moyo said.
“The city will be targeting various sectors which include an Information Communication Technologies (ICT) innovation park, beef and leather industry, car assembly, engineering industry, factory park, pharmaceutical industry, cosmetic industry, steel fabrication, tourism and curio manufacturing and solar engineering.”
Moyo said the ICT sector offers investment avenues to attain a smart city status and these include the Geographical Information Systems (GIS), payment and billing systems, cloaking systems, video conferencing systems, e-learning systems, drones to gather information, Closed Circuit Televisions (CCTVs), fire alarm systems installed to domestic premises and interactive Bulawayo City Council applications.
Bulawayo city’s housing backlog is sitting on over 100 000 applicants, amid increased demand for more space to be made available for the construction of residential houses.