Plans to develop Zimbabwe’s new capital city in Mt Hampden are gathering momentum, with a masterplan for the multi-billion-dollar ultra-modern development now complete.
The US$60 billion metropolis, which is anticipated to de-congest Harare, will straddle over 15 500 hectares and accommodate more than 1,5 million residents on completion.
Three local authorities — Harare municipality, Mazowe and Zvimba rural districts councils — will administer the city, which is set to be named after one of the country’s cultural and heritage endowments.
Government has already enlisted the services of Egyptian experts, behind development of a new administrative capital for the north African country, who are currently in Zimbabwe on a knowledge transfer mission.
The new city concept was approved by Cabinet in December 2018. The recent completion of the new Parliament building – the nucleus around which a new metropolis will rise – is set to catalyse development.
According to the masterplan, the city will be developed in four distinct phases spanning a ten-year period.
The first phase, which will run for two years, will entail creation of traction and development infrastructure.
This phase will be funded through Treasury and “donations from the private sector and other partners,” according to the blueprint.
Phase two will involve development of baseline infrastructure through funding from Treasury, public-private partnerships (PPPs), loans and issuance of bonds, debentures or bills.
The next phase, running from year five to 10, will witness the development of commercial, residential and industrial areas through PPPs, Foreign Direct Investment (FDI), syndicated loans, development finance and export credit finance, among other instruments.
The final phase, will entail continued development of commercial, residential and industrial areas from year 10 going forward through private equity, PPPs, FDI and syndicated loans.
Local Government and Public Works Secretary Mr Zvinechimwe Churu said work on the historic project has commenced.
“Development of the new city at Mt Hampden is expected to attract investors and stimulate rapid economic growth and development,” he said.
“The city will also solve the shortage of development space in Harare, which is being exacerbated by rapid population growth and ageing infrastructure.
“Strategic Government Ministries and departments including courts and parastatals will be relocated to the new city and this needs to be accompanied by prime residential, commercial and industrial development.”
Mr Churu said Government was learning from Egypt, which is alo in the processof contructing a new administrative capital just outside Cairo.
Egyptian Ambassador to Zimbabwe Mr Mahmoud Amer said: “The Egyptian delegation is in the country to transfer knowledge and expertise they have gained in building a new administrative capital in Cairo.
“This delegation has been sent here to help the Zimbabwean Government build the new city.
“They are here to listen and give direction and guidance on the construction of the new city.”
Over 600 hectares of land will be reserved for public administration and services zones, which will house Government offices, Parliament, the local municipality, the existing Defense College and security zone.
A ring radial road network will connect the new city to Norton, Ruwa, Chitungwiza and the Robert Gabriel Mugabe International Airport.
The city will also have high-quality transport infrastructure fit for low-floor buses, with dedicated bus lanes.
Authorities plan to create a sustainable garden city with a hybrid energy system consisting of two or more renewable energy sources.
In addition, the city will have a piped liquefied petroleum gas (LPG) supply system connected directly to households from a central main storage centre.
Closed circuit television (CCTV) cameras will be fitted on all public infrastructure, including on traffic lights, building facades and in underground rail to assist law enforcement.
The commercial zone will be situated on about 800 hectares, while 4 100 hectares have been reserved for residential areas.
There will also be a light industrial zone, recreational spaces, servitude zone, a medical zone, waste management centre and a solar farm.
Authorities have also approved the development of a religious park where there will be a conference centre, churches, cathedrals and apostolic church shrines.
Under phase one, according to the blueprint, priority will also be given to development of Government offices, residential flats and agro- processing parks.
Low-density residential areas, hotels, conference centres and mixed commercial use zones will be developed under phase two.
The Central Business District (CBD) and light industry will be developed under phase three.
“Government districts to act as catalyst for development – will help attract investors,” reads the report in part.
“Residential flats are urgently required for Parliament staff.
“The boulevard from Bindura will help to instill confidence to potential investors.”
The new city is geared to decongest Harare, which was originally developed for less than one million people but now has more than 2,1 million residents.
President Mnangagwa recently officiated at the ground-breaking ceremony of a multi-million-dollar cyber-city being developed by United Arab Emirates (UAE) billionaire Mr Shaji Ul Mulk.