The rehabilitation of key rural infrastructure is essential in the development of sustainable local economies, and the improvement of road networks is of utmost importance. Rural economies especially in the lowveld are anchored by two economic activities, agriculture and tourism which heavily depend on transport networks.
Rural development councils therefore should prioritise rural road networks in resource allocation to improve transport linkages as this will support rural livelihood activities. The initial phase of the rehabilitation of the Makuvaza-Mkwasine road in Bikita which links Nyika growth point and Chiredzi town is highly commendable as it will provide strategic linkages that are critical for the post Covid-19 recovery of rural agriculture and tourism, cascading into the national economy.
The rehabilitation has also created employment for Bikita youths who are already suffering from the effects of thecolonial marginalisation of rural communities, despite some notable post-independence developments. The recruitment exercise held on 22 May at Mazungunye business centre was strongly appreciated by youths in the area.
Commenting on the project, a young entrepreneur and Chiremwaremwa resident in Bikita Lymon Mukanga said he was happy with rehabilitation of the road which had caused transport challenges for villagers. He added that most public transport operators had pulled out of the route due to the poor state of the dirt road, and there were only two buses remaining.
“As the residents of Matsai, we are happy with the rehabilitation of our road. The state of our road was very bad to the extent that motorists were absconding our roads, making it difficult for us to travel from Chiremwaremwa business centre to Nyika Growth Point.”
“As we speak, only two buses are using this road and we were also worried about their durability due to the state of the road before rehabilitation,” he said.
The completion of the project will improve mobility and access to emergency medical care for communities served by Mashoko Mission Hospital. The road is also an important linkfor tourists travelling to and from the Save Valley Conservancy, and will also enhance access to markets for smallholder irrigation farmers.