OLD Mutual Zimbabwe says the transformation of the local economy is key to long-term sustainable business growth in the country.
Old Mutual group chief executive Jonas Mushosho told workshop participants on Tuesday that the insurance company had keen interest in the development of Harare.
The workshop was part of a week-long fact-finding mission involving local and international representatives that will build on the City of Harare’s Vision 2025 Master Plan.
The exercise, funded by Old Mutual, forms the first phase of a proposal for a collaborative low-cost housing and urban development strategy between the University of Pennsylvania, University of Maryland, Old Mutual, Fuel Lab/Gensler and the City of Harare
“As a leading investment and savings group with interests in property development and management, we are keen to take a leading role in support of such initiatives,” Mushosho said.
“Zimbabwe, in general, and Harare in particular as the capital city, are very important to Old Mutual.
“Our long history spanning over 110 years demonstrates our unwavering commitment to this country.
“We lead the way in promoting and encouraging environmentally sustainable practices in the property industry.
“Adhering to the Green Building principles, we create properties that are energy and resource-efficient, as well as environmentally friendly.
“These principles incorporate design, construction and operational practices that significantly reduce or eliminate the negative impacts on our environment.”
Mushosho said Old Mutual’s desire for excellence motivated it to partner with Gensler, a global design firm.
Gensler has worked with various cities in the developing world in coming up with sound and culturally relevant models of urban development and renewal.
Gensler spokesperson Thabo Lenneiye said the stakeholders’ workshop was expected to develop a strategy and a brief for the focus of the programme.
“Following these sessions which will include the production of draft plans and sketches, the key stakeholders — civil society, businesses, city elected representatives, council officials — will consider different options to inform concrete and specific strategies that will guide future planning of Harare,” Lenneiye said.
“The goal is to assist the City of Harare to produce a strategy as a basis for a Master Plan Towards 2040.
“The strategy will cover both formal and informal developments, therefore boosting potentials and reducing the efforts that are required to upgrade these types of urban patterns.”
She said the consultations would bring together graduate students in architecture, landscape architecture, urban planning and other related disciplines together with stakeholders in order to develop options for the future planning of Harare.