Urban population is increasing at a gradual stage worldwide. Statistics have shown that half of the seven billion worldwide population is now living in the city and the United Nations predict a 2,5 billion increase by 2050, with Africa and Asia claiming almost 90 percent of the increase. Such statistics cannot be ignored as planning is needed to accommodate the growth of urban population.
Zimbabwe’s urban population is growing very fast. The urban population which was 3.1 million in 2012 is expected to grow to 5.7 million in 2032. This significant ballooning of the urban population raises a very important question. Are the authorities ready? There is need to consider infrastructure, job investment, accommodation, food and water when it comes to accommodating the urban population growth.
Infrastructure development has been very low in Zimbabwe with the road system in urban areas in a poor state. Harare streets which are regularly congested, are littered with potholes. The water and sewer systems is also in a questionable state although some renovations are taking place. Their sorry state is evidenced by the flowing of raw sewage on streets and water rationing on residents’ houses. Electricity in Zimbabwe is still a problem as the country still imports electricity from neighboring countries amid predictions that industrialisation is going to increase the uptake results on a shortage of supply.
Accommodation is also a problem in Zimbabwe’s urban areas. According to statistics, Harare which the capital city of Zimbabwe, already has a housing deficit of over 600 thousand. With the increase in urban growth, a housing crisis is likely the emerge.
One of the most critical things in a human’s life is a source of livelihood. Jobs and investment opportunities have to appear in order to increase the living standards of people. The Finance Minister Patrick Chinamasa once predicted more problems in Zimbabwe’s urban areas. The Minister said that investment opportunities are not corresponding with the growth of the urban population.
Food supply is also a critical need that cannot be ignored. As the rural-urban migration increases in Zimbabwe, the number of farmers is likely to dwindle. Climate change is also negatively affecting agriculture due to extreme weather patterns.
Water supplies are also running dry with climate change also taking its part. Constructions on wetlands, which are a source of water have been continually taking place resulting in the destruction of water sources. Water is likely to become scarce in the future if better ways of conserving and getting water are not implemented.
Zimbabwean urban areas should be ready for the growth in population in order to avoid future challenges. If nothing is done in terms of development, urban areas might find themselves not being able to cope up with the ever-rising populations.