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As part of our series on Bulawayo #CityOnTheRise, we at Mukamba, have been drawing together articles, research, interviews and stories from the 2nd city in Zimbabwe. If you enjoy this article or are inspired, please contact us.

Bulawayo #CityOnTheRise: Article 3 of 8

While it’s true that Bulawayo, like many other cities in Zimbabwe, is grappling with a water crisis, the city has been making efforts to address this issue in line with SDG 6, which is about clean water and sanitation. The city has been investing in improving its water infrastructure, including the rehabilitation of water treatment plants and the expansion of the city’s water supply network, especially with new housing developments being built in the city. According to a report by Zimbabwe Vulnerability Assessment Committee (ZimVAC), Bulawayo Province has the highest proportion of households with access to piped water in Zimbabwe (86%) while the national average is 48,6%. (Moyo-Ndlovu. 2023)

The role of public-private partnerships (PPPs) cannot be overstated in these urban development projects. Beyond traditional financial roles, these partnerships are providing much-needed technical expertise, capacity building and risk sharing (Maposa and Munanga, 2021).

These multi-faceted approaches position Bulawayo for long-term sustainable growth. They ensure that infrastructure and services become more inclusive, green, and resilient, thus setting a model for other cities on localizing the SDGs. What puts Bulawayo a step ahead is its strategic integration of the SDGs into its masterplan (2019-2034). The Bulawayo City Masterplan (2019-2034) is a brainchild of this vision, setting long-term development directions for the city. The masterplan identifies key SDGs crucial for urban planning, strongly resonating with the vision for a better urban future. 

The city’s efforts towards efficient transportation stand testament to this strategic planning. In particular, the redevelopment of Egodini Taxi Rank has had a significant positive impact. The organized public transport system has addressed congestion and mobility issues in the city, serving as a practical example of SDG 11 in action. 

Beyond transportation, the initiative also vitalizes other important sectors. Bulawayo is working towards the provision of affordable housing and improving living standards – another crucial SDG. In an effort to foster inclusive growth and sustainable urban development, the city of Bulawayo is taking significant steps to integrate informal traders into the city’s economic fabric. One such initiative is taking place along 5th Street, a bustling hub of informal commerce. The city authorities are working closely with these informal traders to improve their working conditions and integrate them into the formal economy. This initiative aligns with the UN’s SDG 8, which promotes sustained, inclusive and sustainable economic growth, full and productive employment and decent work for all.

By recognizing the role of informal traders in the local economy, Bulawayo is creating an inclusive urban environment where everyone has an opportunity to contribute to and benefit from economic growth. The city is providing these traders with improved infrastructure, such as better stalls and sanitation facilities, to enhance their business operations.

Public-Private Partnerships: A Catalyst for Possibilities in Bulawayo

What’s even remarkable is the city’s approach to financing these initiatives. Public-private partnerships have been instrumental in driving urban development projects in Bulawayo. This synergy has not only brought in the required investment but also the technical know-how, making the development projects inclusive and impactful. 

As Bulawayo marches towards a sustainable urban future, the city continues to prove how localizing SDGs can bring about meaningful changes in local communities’ lives. By transforming the cityscape with efficient infrastructure and services, Bulawayo sends a powerful message about the potential of SDGs when localized strategically. Through rigorous planning and sustainable actions, Bulawayo embodies a greater vision of what cities can aspire to. The city’s multifaceted approach towards localizing the SDGs is creating a more organized public transport system, fostering affordable housing initiatives, promoting renewable energy usage and implementing efficient waste and water management strategies. 

These strategies demonstrate that the road to sustainable urban development is indeed tangible, achievable, and effective. However, the path is not without challenges. Local and international support, visionary leadership, and active citizen involvement are crucial to overcoming obstacles and ensuring the successful implementation of these sustainability goals. 

Indeed, Bulawayo’s story serves as an inspiring model for other cities seeking to embed the SDGs in their urban governance frameworks. By making infrastructure and essential services more inclusive and resilient to challenges, Bulawayo is not just paving the way for a sustainable future—it’s setting the pace. 

Moyo-Ndlovu. 2023. Bulawayo Tops in Water and Sanitation Services. Available at: The Chronicle – Breaking news. Accessed 3/8/2024.1

Moyo-Ndlovu, T and Phiri, A, 2024. Egodhini finally opens. Available at: Accessed: 23/3/242

Maposa, L. and Munanga, Y., 2021. Public-Private Partnerships Development Finance Model in Zimbabwe Infrastructure Projects. Open Access Library Journal, 8(4).Available at: Public-Private Partnerships Development Finance Model in Zimbabwe Infrastructure Projects ( Accessed:13/3/2024.3   egodhini taxi rank video4

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