The Sunday News

TRADING ECONOMIC.COM says 67,72 percent of Zimbabwe’s population lives in rural areas, according to the World Bank 2016 projections. Rural population refers to people living in rural areas as defined by national statistical offices. It is calculated as the difference between total population and urban population. 

On the other hand, says the rate of population growth has been consistently on the rise since 2005, and it has been having positive impacts on Zimbabwe economically and politically. 

Although difficult to prove causation, foreign domestic investment, exports, inflation rate, and interest rate have all been moving in a healthy direction since the population has been growing at a healthy rate. 

The birth rate in Zimbabwe is roughly 3,75 children born per woman, which is a much more sustainable number than many surrounding nations —  accounting for the 2019 annual growth rate of 2,27 percent and a population of 17 297 495. 

This would suggest that more children are born in rural areas, which therefore calls for more resources to be availed to people living in rural areas, be it farms or simple rural settlements. 

The people in rural areas are mostly subsistence farmers, and they have to be assisted so that they ensure food security and are also able to access basic needs. 

The policy of devolution being implemented by the Government, is therefore the answer to ensuring that people in rural areas, who form the bulk of the country’s population, are taken care of. 

And as rightfully pointed out by President Mnangagwa, Rural District Councils have their job cut out to ensure that devolution transforms lives of the rural population.

President Mnangagwa, while officiating at the first edition of the Rural Councillors Meeting in Harare last week, said Government had set aside close to $1 billion for the devolution programme.

“We have the policy of devolution as Government, meant to decentralise power and you as councillors you are the voice of our grassroots communities, so we ask you to listen to the challenges and other issues they are facing and convey them to us so that we know what the people want. 

“As the Second Republic, we want people in the rural areas to enjoy the fruits of the independence we have got and that can be done through improving their livelihoods.”

President Mnangagwa described the rural communities as the backbone of the nation.

“The rural district councils are the backbone of the country because most of our people reside in rural areas. So, when we have drought and hunger in rural areas, the whole nation will be hungry and if there are good harvests we will all sleep well because the nation would be happy. So, a wise Government does not forget its rural populace.”

President Mnangagwa said Government was already funding the devolution policy as required by the Constitution. President Mnangagwa said development could only be achieved if there was improvement in infrastructure like roads.

“Development can only happen when there are good roads and we are already repairing them countrywide through the Zimbabwe National Road Authority, the District Development Fund, the councils, so that there is better movement of people and goods. We have our programmes to ensure a good harvest and that includes the Presidential Input Support Programme and we will do all we can to ensure that every household gets seed and fertiliser.”