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Preparation for the Kasane-Kazungula redevelopment project which aims at optimising the area as a prime tourism destination for the diversification of the economy and job creation in the tourism sector is currently on-going.
The project was initially conceptualized in 2012 when the Botswana Economic Advisory Council (BEAC) advised the ministry responsible to develop an integrated tourism strategy for the area. The strategy was to position the area in readiness for the Kavango, Zambezi Transfrontier Conservation Park Initiative and inform of effective and efficient land use to support and encourage tourism related initiatives.
The strategy was finalised by the Botswana Tourism Organization (BTO) in 2012 and on its basis the Ministry of Land Management, Water and Sanitation Services prepared and completed a Land Use Plan in 2015 which gave birth to Kasane- Kazungula Re-Development Plan.
The Covid-19 pandemic however caused some delay in the progress due to a lack of funding to kick start it. The Covid-19 movement restrictions also delayed the United Nations World Tourism Organisation (UNWTO) to formulate the tourism master plan working together with the ministry of Environment and Tourism.
In an interview this week, Chobe District Council Chairman Amos Mabuku revealed that preparations for the project are currently on-going indicating that some of the affected government offices are temporarily housed at RAC.
He further revealed that some of the affected residents living in Kazungula have been given new plots and they have already been compensated.
Mabuku said as a tourism destination, government saw it fit to phase lift the area to be more attractive and visitor friendly. He noted that the project will give the area a better look, transform Kasane-Kazungula into a thriving and sustainable destination to benefit both the tourism sector and the local community.
He further stated that the project will enhance the employment, skills transfer and create business opportunities as prime areas on the riverfront will be freed for use by locals in tourism related activities.
For his part, the councillor for Kazungula Newstance, Simasuku Matengu mentioned that some of the affected plots in Kazungula have already been relocated and owners compensated. He added that the design stage of the project has also already been completed and awaits construction.
Matengu said his expectations are for the local community to benefit from the project and be given opportunities to venture into tourism businesses.
Meanwhile, when presenting the budget speech this week, the Minister of Finance Peggy Serame stated that the project is among the major ones covered by the remaining balance of P3.39 billion or 16.15 % shared among the remaining ministries and departments for infrastructure development.