The Urban Councils Association of Zimbabwe (UCAZ)’s 78th Annual Conference and Local Government Investment Conference (LOGIC 2019) which was held recently at the Zimbabwe International Trade Fair in Bulawayo was a resounding success. The conference, whose theme was Urban Local Authorities: Embracing Devolution towards Attaining Vision 2030 was attended by a record 1 500 participants who included government ministers, mayors, all urban councillors, Town Clerks, senior council officials, representatives of government ministries, industry and  commerce, development partners and the South African Local Government Association and regional local authorities’ representatives.

The State President, His Excellency Emmerson D. Mnangagwa was the Guest of Honour. He commended UCAZ for engaging key stakeholders such as government ministries, industrialists and members of the business community. “This culture is commendable and should continue for it is only through dialogue that sustainable solutions can be found and the national cake fairly shared,” he said.

The President said that local authorities were the drivers of the local economy and that “our success or failure as a nation is best depicted by your collective performance”.

“You must therefore take it upon yourselves to gear up for higher productivity, growth and job creation as we accelerate our journey towards the achievement of Vision 2030,” said the President.

He further said that the provision of key services such as clean water, modern and efficient solid waste management systems, good roads education institutions, well stocked primary health care facilities, among other social amenities could only be realised “if we constantly dialogue and collaborate with one another”.

The President said that urban settlements were the face of Zimbabwe to the outside world and that the ambience or lack of it and the general wellbeing of the residents left a lasting impression to visitors and tourists.

“The performance of all our urban local authorities must therefore be a summation of what Zimbabwe is and aspires to be,” he said.

Local authorities were therefore obliged to carry the weighty responsibility of delivering affordable, efficient, reliable and sustainable services to residents.

He urged local authorities to streamline their operations and prioritise activities in line with the national development agenda.

He underscored his government’s desire to give full meaning to devolution adding that it was only through devolution that the country could achieve equitable and sustainable development that left no one behind. “The days of our Capital City, Harare being “bambazonke” (take it all) as far as development is concerned are over,” he said.

On the Ease and Cost of Doing Business reforms, the President challenged local authorities to accelerate the creation of conducive environments for investment within their jurisdictions by implementing the reforms. “You must aim to be thriving economic hubs that ensure vibrant industries, employment and empowerment opportunities, especially for women and youths.