Development, progress and change makers are measured in terms of how they impact and transform people’s lives and their respective communities.
In recent weeks, Zimbabwe has witnessed activities that are potential pointers to transformation of the northern region of the country.
Three projects are set to anchor the development and transformation of that region are the Muzarabani gas and oil project, the Mavuradonha Dam and the Kanyemba Greenbelt.
The impact of the three projects is set to transform that region ushering in development and progress that translates into real life solutions to everyday challenges that citizens in that part of the country encounter.
Last week saw the presentation of the technical briefing on progress on the Muzarabani gas and oil project. This coincided with the announcement by the Zimbabwe Investment and Development Authority (ZIDA) that the licence for the project had been granted. The Environmental Impact Assessment has also been approved.
The announcement paves the way for stepped up activities on the project in the Zambezi Valley. As a result, next month sees the company undertaking activities such as further exploratory work. Next year will see measurable progress on all the three projects.
The gas and oil company intends sinking two test wells. Depending on the outcomes, a positive drill could be a windfall for Zimbabwe, as has been the pattern and precedence in other parts of the world where drills have been successful.
In the early 1990s Mobil Oil undertook gas and oil explorations in the Zambezi Valley stretching from Hurungwe and Chirundu right down to Mukumbura.
Mobil Oil concluded that there was nearly “100 percent potential of gas and a high possibility of oil occurrence in the Zambezi Valley.
There are strong indications of significant reserves of oil and gas in the Zambezi Valley, with the major issue being determination and quantification of the reserves.
The latest interest by the Australia Stock Exchange-listed company, Invictus Energy, builds on the previous work, backed by the latest technology and appears optimistic of striking better fortunes where Mobil Oil gave up too soon.
This was partly due to the absence of a production sharing agreement and the slow response from Government, which at the time did not consider the project a priority. Invictus Energy’s optimism, while based on new technology, is buttressed by what has happened in neighbouring Mozambique, with which Zimbabwe shares the Zambezi Basin.
A recent oil leak discovered in Lupane appears to confirm the belief that the northern belt of the country could store gas and oil reserves. Mozambique is seen as the new gas and oil Eldorado, locating it among the superpowers in the context of global gas supply. The findings, so far appear to whet the appetite, promising greater expectations.
Other geological surveys of the northern region of Zimbabwe suggest the presence of high volumes of recoverable gas. What has been outstanding has been actual drilling, which should validate previously-held beliefs in the area’s gas and oil potential.
If what has transpired in Mozambique is anything to go by, the Muzarabani gas and oil project could be a significant game changer for the country. It could render Zimbabwe energy secure.
However, for the local authorities in the northern region of Zimbabwe, the expectation is that people from the region and areas identified as sites of operations in the Zambezi Valley, will benefit from much-needed employment opportunities while transforming the development landscape of the region.
Their hope is that unlike chrome, diamond, granite, lithium and platinum projects, the gas and oil discovery will lead to lasting development, transformation of their areas and solutions to everyday challenges they encounter.
The second development witnessed last week involves the planned construction of the Mavuradonha Dam in Muzarabani. Construction of the dam will transform agricultural activities and boost tourism in the area, which offers breath-taking scenic sights.
It will also have immeasurable impact on Muzarabani as it has potential to transform it into a greenbelt by anchoring irrigation projects. Muzarabani business centre will become a strategic link to Mozambique, which will be one of the ready markets.
Horticultural activities will witness a spectacular take off with the ARDA estate as the hub. The climate of the valley will ensure constant production of horticultural crops. A processing factory would be a logical step in adding value to the horticultural produce.
Organisations such as the Agricultural Marketing Authority and ZimTrade could open up conversations with communities in Muzarabani to prime them for production of export crops, through training so that they start small-scale projects in preparation for completion and commissioning of the Mavuradonha Dam. That would be real empowerment and transformational for the people.
The Kanyemba greenbelt, revolving around the proposed town on the banks of Zambezi River and bordering Mozambique and Zambia is one of the major developments destined to transform the northern region of the country. While preliminary work has already begun, the project is expected to be pick up pace next year, as are the other two projects taking shape in the region.
The northern region is set to become one of the major areas of investment and business.
In the process, the region will be transformed. These are projects that will impact lives of the people, communities and for the good of the business and the country.