Following the identification of Francistown as one of the country’s economic hub designated for mining and transport logistics, the detailed plan to revitalise the city is now in full swing. Francistown mayor, Sylvia Muzila made this revelation when addressing the full council session that ended on Friday. According to Muzila, the move is also aimed at revamping the city to a vibrant economic investment destination. “As a city, we therefore, realised the importance of embarking on a revitalisation plan which will lay ground on specific precincts of the city to attract capital investments has been placed in an acceleration mode,” said Muzila. In laying the ground on specific grounds, the city is mindful of not compromising on the city’s fabric and identity, said Muzila. “Fundamentally, the project is to review holistically some of the key precincts within the city seeking to revitalise the centre, create opportunities of economic prosperity, competitiveness with a healthy living environment,” she said. According to Muzila, the revitalisation is expected to lead to a dynamic, attractive town for investments and living. She said the revitalisation plan covers the entire Francistown central business district (CBD) from the old Botswana Meat Commission (BMC) circle to the traffic lights on Nata/Zimbabwe junction road.
In outlining the objectives of the revitalisation plan, Muzila said the exercise is aimed at facilitating the best use of land in the project area by allocating specific parcels of land to the most appropriate land use activities. The exercise is also aimed identifying systems that ensure integration and sustainability of various land uses in the project area and to facilitate the creation of opportunities which provide choice and convenience, she said. “The other main objective of this plan is to explore and recommend appropriate urban revitalisation strategies and facilitate the protection of the environment by identifying environmentally sensitive areas and recommend appropriate conservation measures.” She said the identification of the strategic projects can lead to an increase in investor confidence when taken in combination and can spark spontaneous revitalization in the areas around the identified strategies. Former FCC mayor, James Kgalajwe, said the revitalisation is long overdue. Kgalajwe, a Specially Elected Councillor, said the revitalisation will go a long in providing job opportunities in a city that saw the closure of its mainstay in Tati Nickel Mining Company (TNMC).