THE GIS and mapping study on the Trans-Limpopo Spatial Development Initiative (SDI) will be launched in Bulawayo this week after the Government allocated $300 million for the project. This move is expected to resuscitate efforts to kick-start the development corridor between Zimbabwe’s Matabeleland region and the Northern Province of South Africa. A local consultancy, Holistic Information Systems, was awarded the tender to carry out the GIS study for nine months to establish the investment profile for the region.
The launch would be followed by a workshop for stakeholders who are expected to contribute to the information generation exercise. The stakeholders include rural district and urban councils, Government departments and the business community. The GIS will generate an information package and profile of the areas falling within the corridor which will be used to market the region.
The objective of the study is to come up with a comprehensive Trans-Limpopo database usable in packaging anchor projects and indicating how such projects would benefit from infrastructural, locational, marketing and human resource opportunities that abound in the region. It would also assist in assessing all locational advantages to be enjoyed by a given anchor project if set up in a given geographical area of the SDI, thereby making the project attractive to would-be investors.
The GIS study would also enable the local initiative to determine project linkages in terms of upstream and downstream projects that could be triggered by the implementation of one anchor project, such as the Coal Bed Methane Gas project, and how these projects are linked with each other.
Several data sources such as maps, records, files, remotely sensed data including aerial photography and satellite imagery and existing data would be collected. The data would be converted to a digital format and be used to attract investors from outside the country.
The SDI joint executive meeting, comprising representatives from both Zimbabwe and South Africa, has already hosted road shows in Matabeleland region to market the initiative. It identified anchor projects such as the Matabeleland Zambezi Water Project, the exploitation of methane gas deposits, a one-stop border post at Beitbridge and export processing zones in Zimbabwe and South Africa. Government earlier this year released funds for a geographical study to be carried out to determine investment opportunities in the region.