Development in line with urban population growth

the herald

Farai Dauramanzi Herald Journalist

The major boost to critical infrastructure across the country, much of it in or for urban areas under the National Development Strategy (NDS1) and Vision 2030, is a direct response to population growth in cities, noted urban planning experts.

Preliminary results of the 2022 census which were announced on Tuesday indicate that rural areas still have a higher percentage of the population with 61.4% compared to urban areas which constitute 38.6% of the total population.

But the concentrated urban population has grown from just over 4 million people in 2012 to nearly 6 million in 2022, rising from 33% to over 38% of the total.

Growth is not only natural increase caused by more people born than dead, but also significant rural-urban migration.

This growth in the urban population of over one million automatically translates into increased demand for services such as water supply, waste management, roads and housing which the Second Republic worked to meet in under the NDS1 and Vision 2030 programs.

Some of the government-led projects aimed at improving service delivery in urban areas include construction of Kunzvi Dam, Gwayi-Shangani Lake, rehabilitation of Hwange Thermal Power Station, and upgrading of Beitbridge border.

Other projects such as the Pomona Landfill Project, the Emergency Roads Rehabilitation Program (ERRP), and housing programs in various cities also aim to improve service delivery in urban areas, although areas rural areas get a good share of the road scheme, have their own dams largely earmarked for irrigation, and a percentage of the water in urban dams with fishing rights.

Speaking to The Herald, urban planning expert Dr Percy Toriro noted that urban populations have been growing around the world since 2008, resulting in increased demand for housing, schools, jobs, public infrastructure and other urban needs.

“Government infrastructure projects under Vision 2030 are welcome as they are in line with demographic trends. Infrastructure is a key factor in socio-economic development.

“The country will need more water reservoirs, higher capacity roads with improved junctions, including higher agricultural productivity to support urban food security. Preliminary census results mean higher expectations for all public planning and infrastructure services,” he said.

Dr Nyasha Mutsindikwa, a regional and urban planner, explained that the reason for having a census every 10 years is to inform future national development planning and also to identify key priority areas in terms of resource allocation. resources.

“In terms of responding to this growth in urban population, I think the government has already set the tone in the right direction, as evidenced by the various projects such as the construction of dams like the Kunzvi Dam which, if is completed, will improve water supply in nearby urban areas.

“The ERRP that is also being implemented will also improve the quality and capacity of the road network. The various housing programs initiated by the Ministry of National Housing and Social Equipment will also have a significant impact in responding to this growth in the urban population,” explained Mr. Mutsindikwa.

According to preliminary census results, the country’s total number now stands at 15,178,979, up 16.2 percent from 13,061,239 a decade ago in 2012, and the current population lives in 3,818 992 households, each household actually needing a house or apartment.

The national annual population growth rate between 2012 and 2022 was 1.5%, with the eastern and western provinces of Mashonaland recording the highest annual population growth rates of 2.9 and 2.6% respectively. Much of this strong growth has occurred in the urban areas of these provinces, both the towns of Ruwa and Norton on the Harare border, as well as their own more distant provincial towns.

The population breakdown by province shows that Harare province still has the highest number as it had 2,427,209 people, followed by Manicaland with 2,037,762 and Mashonaland West with 1,893,578. Across all provinces, the female population was greater than the male population. population.

The tally for the greater Harare region, which has spilled over into the province, includes at least another 250,000 or so people in the contiguous urban area which includes Ruwa and Norton, as well as a range of smaller planned and unplanned centres.