from DANIEL JONES in Victoria Falls, Zimbabwe
VICTORIA FALLS –THE Matabeleland region of Zimbabwe and Limpopo province in South Africa are reviving bilateral relations and cooperation in a number of economic sectors.
Proposed ties follow the relaxation of COVID-19 restrictions.
Thabo Mokone led a delegation from Limpopo to the Victoria Falls last Friday to revive engagements, as some memoranda of understanding (MoUs) were signed.
“The African Union has challenged member states to improve trade and cooperation among themselves and so we are here to restart this initiative,” Mokone said.
South Africa’s northernmost province, Limpopo, and Matabeleland signed an MoU in 2001.
This gave birth to the Trans Limpopo Spatial Development Initiative (TLSDI).
The TLSDI had been dormant over the years and the last meeting was held in 2019.
“We are excited that what was agreed upon a long time ago is being put into action to make sure we work together,” Mokone said.
He disclosed the parties would collaborate on matters of local government, tourism, education, mining and agriculture, among others.
“We are the only continent (Africa) that does not trade among its members and that should change,” Mokone said.
He was standing in for Limpopo Premier, Chupu Stanley Mathabatha.
Judith Ncube, the Bulawayo Provincial Affairs and Devolution Minister said the initiative should also include sport as a development agent.
“This development corridor will unlock inherent economic potential in the two countries and enhance trade,” she said.
Nqobile Mabhena, Hwange Local Board council chairman, said the twinning arrangement with Phalaborwa will unlock opportunities and trade in mining and tourism.
Matabeleland is made up of Bulawayo metropolitan province and the provinces of Matabeleland North and Matabeleland South.
The region borders Botswana, South Africa and Zambia.
It is home to Zimbabwe’s tourism capital, Victoria Falls, Binga, Hwange, Khami and Matopo, which are cultural and tourism icons.
The area (Matabeleland region) is also rich in minerals, game and livestock.
Limpopo’s capital, Polokwane, and Phalaborwa have mining and tourism opportunities.
The Beitbridge border post separating the two regions is the busiest in Sub-Saharan Africa.
Bulawayo is twinned with Polokwane while Phalaborwa signed MoUs with Hwange.
Beitbridge and Musina also entered into a twinning arrangement.
Gwanda twinned with Makhado while Victoria Falls City partnered with Phalaborwa.
Zimbabwe and South Africa have pledged to implement the African Continental Free Trade (ACFT).
– CAJ News