By Correspondent

Bulawayo City Council (BCC)
is left with only a year before 2024 by which time it should have completed its Smart City concept projects.

The strategy, developed in 2019, entails the implementation of various development projects across various economic sectors such as smart energy and special economic zones.

The initiative was being run concurrently with the government’s cities regeneration and rehabilitation exercise.

According to BCC Economic Development Officer Kholisani Moyo, the Smart City concept, “includes all the sectors of the city’s economy such as tourism, water, energy and roads among many others with the intention of achieving a smart city by 2024.

“In water we talk of the recycling of Khami Dam water, prepaid meters, solutions to speedily check water leaks and meter readings using gadgets which will identify the areas yet to be dealt with,” he said.

BCC also intend to have solar farms, street solar lights and installation of solar power at all council premises.

The city will also use drones to curb illegal activities while it also intends to have more high-rising buildings to deal with accommodation problems.

Problem Areas

Early this week Bulawayo Mayor Solomon Mguni admitted the challenges with vendors whose removal has been part of the concept.

“My Council recognised that despite facing financial shortages we have to implement innovative strategies that will enable us to achieve our vision of being a smart city by the year 2024.

“We will work on engaging illegal traders and vendors so that we curb illegal activities.

“We are aware of the challenges that our people have but we have to balance the informal trading while also keeping the ambience of the city,”he said.

This isn’t the solitary problem area.

Some of the projects, such as the Egodini rehabilitation project; have been hampered by delays and operational challenges which mean they are yet to be finished way past their deadlines.

Again, not much has been done towards the creation of smart cities in areas such as Cowdray Park, which sought to replicate the plans for Harare’s Mt Hampden.

BCC has also unveiled land for Special Economic Zones in Umvumila where an industrial park was supposed to have been built.

With challenges persisting in terms of the city’s revenue and the macro-economy many of the city’s targets are virtually no longer practical.

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