Zimbabwean cities and towns are the engines promoting economic growth through urban expansion.

According to African Development Bank, countries in Africa are experiencing the highest urban growth which was at 36 percent in 2010, and is expected to increase by 50 percent in 2030.

A major indicator of economic growth is the performance of the construction industry. In Zimbabwe the construction industry has gained momentum, leading to the emergence of various entities in the construction sector which are providing employment to countless workers in that field.

Cement companies such as Sino-Zimbabwe, Lafarge and Premier Portland Cement in Bulawayo are capitalizing on the local demand for cement. Internationally, Chinese investors are eyeing cement manufacturing and have since made indications to set up more plants in the country.

At Redcliff recently, a Chinese company, Livetouch Investments, began cement production of up to 400 000 tonnes per year becoming the fourth cement facility in Zimbabwe.

Urban growth is causing an increase on the demand for goods and services. This in turn has created business opportunities that are waiting to be formulated and harnessed towards economic growth as championed by the construction industry.

Small and medium sized businesses have an opportunity to be innovative and capitalize on the needs of urban dwellers through providing them with their daily basic necessities.

With reference to the African Development Bank, resources to finance urban development can be mobilized from local and foreign investors. The resources should then be efficiently and adequately allocated through the local government’s urban projects and should also encourage strengthening the role of Town Councils with regards to service provision.

Human capital in urban settings can be improved through continuous promotion of equal access to education and healthcare services and facilities for all categories of citizens in order to meet labour market needs.

Cities provide the platform for diversification of economic activities through the creation of new economic hubs oriented towards high sustainable and value-added production and exportation. This necessitates the involvement of all categories of citizens, regardless of their age, race, gender, ethnicity, or socio-economic status, to have equal access to adequate housing, basic infrastructure and services and equal job opportunities.

- Derick Tsimba via Email