Eswatini and AfDB Partner to Develop New Eco-Green City Masterplan

A groundbreaking meeting convened on February 16, 2023, marked the initiation of the “Eswatini New Eco-Green City Masterplan” project, spearheaded by the Eswatini Water and Agriculture Development Enterprise (ESWADE) in collaboration with the African Development Bank’s Urban and Municipal Development Fund (UMDF). This transformative initiative is set to reshape urban landscapes and catalyze economic growth in Eswatini.

The partnership between ESWADE and the UMDF signifies a significant step towards sustainable urban development, with a focus on integrating agro-industrial hubs to invigorate economic activities and attract a substantial workforce. Central to this endeavor is the creation of an innovative agro-processing zone, envisioned as a dynamic public-private partnership initiative.

A grant of $400,000, sanctioned by the UMDF on June 8, 2023, fortifies the “Eswatini New Eco-Green City Masterplan” project. This financial backing will underpin the meticulous planning of a new urban enclave in the burgeoning Shiselweni region. Anticipated rapid population and economic expansion in the area underscore the urgency and significance of this strategic urban planning initiative.

The Shiselweni region, despite grappling with heightened poverty rates, harbors immense agricultural potential owing to its fertile soil. However, its susceptibility to drought necessitates innovative water management strategies. In response, the government is spearheading the Mkhondvo-Ngwavuma Water Augmentation Project (MNWAP), a multifaceted initiative aimed at bolstering irrigation infrastructure to mitigate drought risks and foster agricultural diversification.

The holistic vision of the MNWAP encompasses agricultural diversification, envisaging the cultivation of horticultural produce, cotton, dry beans, and oil crops. This diversified agricultural landscape will serve as a cornerstone for agro-processing ventures, attracting both investment and employment opportunities.

The imminent influx of labor necessitates meticulous urban planning to accommodate burgeoning population growth. The development of a meticulously planned eco-city is envisaged as a solution to address housing, healthcare, and educational needs, all while fostering sustainable economic growth and environmental preservation.

The UMDF’s pivotal role in shaping the development vision and strategy, coupled with its support in crafting a comprehensive master plan for the Eco City, underscores its commitment to sustainable urban development in Eswatini. Furthermore, the UMDF’s expertise will be instrumental in identifying non-agricultural facets of the project, such as energy and transportation infrastructure.

Marcus Mayr, UMDF coordinator, emphasized the project’s unwavering commitment to climate resilience, asserting that climate adaptation and mitigation strategies will form the cornerstone of urban planning endeavors and sector investment developments.

For further information, please contact Amba Mpoke-Bigg, Communication and External Relations Department, via email at media@afdb.org.

This initiative heralds a new era of sustainable urban development in Eswatini, characterized by innovation, inclusivity, and environmental stewardship.

Source: African Development Bank

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