ANOTHER jewel in the crown of the massive construction works taking place around the country was added yesterday with the commencement of works at the state-of-the-art Liberation Mall behind the Museum of African Liberation in Harare.
The mall is being built through a partnership between the National Social Security Authority (NSSA) and the Institute of African Liberation (INSTAK).
Speaking during the ground-breaking ceremony yesterday, Public Service, Labour, and Social Welfare Minister Professor Paul Mavima said the Government was excited about the project concept and its development.
"Today marks the realisation and implementation of the partnership agreement and there is no better time than this to gather at such a grand occasion which dovetails with the broader national agenda on developing an environment that takes the country to an upper-middle-income economy by year 2030," he said.
The Minister quoted President Mnangagwa who famously said, "Under this New Dispensation, my Government is working towards building a new Zimbabwe, a country with a thriving and open economy, capable of creating opportunities for investors and employment. In this regard, my Government will leave no stone unturned in transforming Zimbabwe into a knowledge driven and industrialising Upper Middle-Income Economy by 2030".
Prof Mavima said the people of Harare and Zimbabweans at large are going through an economic transformation that has seen lifestyles evolving in many aspects, not least the consumer buying behaviour.
"We strongly recommend and hope that Liberation Mall tenants will also move with the times and offer all-round shopping convenience by opening for extended hours than we are experiencing at the moment. The Liberation Shopping Mall will benefit NSSA pensioners, contributors, and their families in many ways.
"Apart from a shopping experience in a safe and congenial environment, the mall will have many entertainment and amusement facilities. All this will add to the quality of life for surrounding communities as well as visitors to the mall."
Prof Mavima said in other territories, shopping goes on 24 hours a day and in the process that decongests both human and vehicular traffic because shopping can be done at leisure without everyone rushing to beat closing times.
"We also revel at the thought that the construction phase of the Liberation Mall will unlock employment creation opportunities for our youths and artisans in various aspects of the construction and maintenance phases.
"It is also projected that local building material suppliers and relevant industry value chain players will also pick up some spoils as the construction of the mall continues."
Prof Mavima said it is possible to deliver the mall to the public in the shortest possible time and officials should hold high levels of trust and confidence in the people to get their hands dirty and deliver the mall to the people sooner than later.
Permanent Secretary for Harare Metropolitan Provincial Affairs and Devolution Mr Tafadzwa Muguti expressed gratitude to Instak for having transformed the land which used to be a dumpsite.
Mr Muguti said talks are also underway to incorporate the Sherwood Golf Course into the Liberation City while it will be upgraded to a Presidential Golf Course.
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He said the project will also boost the provincial economy, create employment, decogest the Central Business District and improve the city's image through building in line with global trends.
Instak chief executive Ambassador Kwame Muzawazi said the concept seeks to generate revenue for the Museum of African Liberation as an income stream meant to sustain other educational and recreational facilities within the Liberation City.
Ambassador Muzawazi said the Liberation Mall is 10 hectares of public amenity located within the Liberation City and is meant to offer a modern-day shopping experience to the public.
"The Liberation Mall design concept brings about a refreshing and liberating shopping experience over and above the wide economic activities that it will house.
"The ground-breaking ceremony today rides on the strength of a Memorandum of Understanding signed between NSSA and INSTAK in the presence of the President of the Republic of Zimbabwe, His Excellency Cde Dr Emmerson Mnangagwa on 21 December 2021," he said.
Ambassador Muzawazi said at the historic signing ceremony, the two entities agreed to pool their resources together to establish an upmarket shopping mall designed to offer a refreshing shopping experience to the public.
"In return, the investment by NSSA will unlock and preserve value for the pensioners through the economic returns earned from this property going forward. In addition, visitors to the Liberation city will enjoy a wholesome family experience derived from their various appetites for heritage, educational, recreational, and shopping experiences all served in one place.
"The construction of the Liberation Mall feeds into the broader national agenda of moving Zimbabwe into an Upper-Middle Class economy by year 2030."
Ambassador Muzawazi said the project brings about opportunities for players in the construction sector, suppliers of building material and expertise, as well as a convenient modern-day shopping experience in this part of the City of Harare.
"Locals will also benefit from the employment opportunities which arise out of such a facility at both construction and operating phases of the Liberation Mall.
"The Liberation Mall has already attracted and secured anchor tenants who are giants in the retail sector before the first brick is laid. These anchor tenants will also drive the impetus from other retailers in the medical, financial, and commerce sectors to take up space in the mall," he said.
Ambassador Muzawazi said a service station will also be established coming along with the relative convenience shops like fast food outlets.