Zimbabwe is working on a National Rural Development Strategy as the country moves to uplift the livelihoods of people living in rural areas, a Cabinet Minister said on Monday.
Addressing students at the Zimbabwe Staff College, a military training institution, Rural Development, Promotion and Preservation of National Culture and Heritage Minister Abednico Ncube said the strategy seeks to redress the imbalance between the living standards of rural and urban populations.
“The ministry is in the process of creating an enabling policy environment through the development of a National Rural Development Strategy. The strategy in question is intended to guide development interventions in rural areas by all stakeholders,” he said.
Minister Ncube said at present, the national rural development strategy is past consultation phase.
“I am happy to report that the process is now at an advanced stage with the first phase of consultation already done. It is our expectation that the final draft National Rural Development Strategy document will be in place by the end of the third quarter of 2017,” he said.
At least 65 percent of Zimbabweans live in rural areas. He said government needs to explore other mechanisms to fund rural infrastructure projects.
“However, further investment in infrastructure to service rural areas remains a key imperative if Government’s rural development agenda is to bear maximum dividend for rural communities,” he said.
The road network in rural areas continues to deteriorate due to a number of reasons which include but not limited to the economic slowdown, inadequate investment and poor maintenance.
The situation was worsened by recent floods which washed away roads, schools, bridges and homes in southern parts of the country.
Government last week launched an appeal for about $200 million to assist people affected by the floods.