PROPERTY developer, Mashonaland Holdings Limited says it is focusing on completing its ongoing property development projects, which are key to its portfolio diversification roadmap to hedge against the projected economic headwinds.

According to multilateral partners, Zimbabwe’s economy is expected to fall to below 3% this year from initial projections over that amount.

The downgrade is owing to the El Niño-induced drought and the volatile global commodity prices which are set to lower the returns of the economy’s two top forex earners, agriculture and mining, respectively.

In its annual report for 2023, Mashonaland board chairperson Grace Bema said the impact of the El Niño weather phenomenon would outweigh expected improvements in several sectors, slowing down the economy.

“The government of Zimbabwe has forecast that the economy will grow by 3,5% in 2024 down from 5,5% in 2023. The Finance, Economic Development and Investment Promotion ministry anticipates that the overall impact of the El Niño weather phenomenon will outweigh expected improvements in other sectors of the economy,” Bema said.

“Despite current economic headwinds, the group remains focused on its strategic objectives, notably portfolio diversification and portfolio performance optimisation. Major focus continues to be set on the completion of ongoing property development projects, which are key to the group’s portfolio diversification roadmap.”

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She said the group would be focusing on its three main projects, which are the Pomona Commercial Centre Development Project, the 12 Van Praagh Day Hospital Project and the Mashview Gardens Project.

“(On the) Pomona Commercial Centre Development Project, in the third quarter of the year, the group commenced construction works on the project. The development concept consists of wholesaling and flexible warehousing with 14 000sqm lettable space,” Bema said.

“The anchor tenant has been secured and 60% of the development has been successfully pre-leased. The project construction works have a target completion period of Q4 2024. The project achieved a 35% stage of completion at the end of the financial period.”

She said the hospital project had started earning rentals under a long-term lease in January 2024, after its completion over a 15-month construction period.

“The project has now been completed and has been handed over to the tenant to commence tenant fit-outs.

“The development started earning rentals under a long-term lease from January 2024 in line with the agreement to develop and lease with the property tenant.”

Lastly, the construction of the Mashview Gardens housing units under phases 1, 2, and 3 was also completed, with the site clearance and road resurfacing also completed.

“The group performed an open market valuation of its investment properties as at December 31, 2023. The group’s investment property portfolio was valued at ZWL647 billion, which represents a 99% capital gain over the course of the reporting period,” Bema said.