The region of focus is Harare which is both the capital city of Zimbabwe as well as one of the ten Provinces in the country. Focus will be on selected high density suburbs with a large number of informal business enterprises engaged in fabrication of products. Two sites that are of particular interest are ‘Siyaso’ in Mbare and ‘Gazaland’ in Highfield, two of the oldest high density suburbs in Harare.

Organisation reference

University of Zimbabwe


Established in 1955 through a Royal Charter as a University College of London, the University of Zimbabwe is the oldest institution of higher education in the country. It is a State university and is therefore largely funded by the Government, particularly for capital development. With the

unfavourable economic climate that has prevailed for almost two decades, the institution is increasingly relying on its own revenues, largely from the fees paid by students as well as donations from well-wishers or philanthropists and strategic partners.

It is a comprehensive academic institution with nine

Economic context

Zimbabwe’s economy largely depends on the mining and agriculture sectors. The economy was on sharp decline for at least a decade reaching its lowest point in 2008. The country then discarded its own currency and adopted a multi-currency system as one of the measures to salvage the situation. The economy responded positively to the interventions and recorded real growth of more than 10% in the period 2010-13, before slowing to approximately 3% in 2014. In-spite of the improvements, the economic environment has continued to be harsh and most households have remained poor. This is largely

Environmental issues

The sites identified for the project are characterised by large numbers of people operating in a confined area, resulting in a number of environmental challenges ranging from refuse disposal to sanitary provision. These spaces were not originally designed to accommodate such large numbers of people; therefore they need regenerated to allow for decongestion, and to improve infrastructure. The provision of clean water is one to the major challenges in the City of Harare and such sites therefore face serious shortages as the water is not only required for consumption but also for production. The

Social issues

The depressed economy has a direct negative impact on the provision of social services such as health, education and general welfare of households.[1] In 2016, Zimbabwe’s Human Development Index (HDI) was 0.516 placing the country at 154 out of 193 in rank order.

Over 70% of Zimbabwe’s population resides in rural and farming communities that are generally not serviced with amenities such as clean water, ablutions with running water, electricity and surfaced roads. The attraction to urban areas will therefore continue unabated, exerting a further strain on towns and cities that are already

Economic issues

The country’s economy has been affected by a number of factors, that include: weak domestic demand, high public debt, tight liquidity conditions, drought, poor infrastructure, institutional weaknesses and an overvalued exchange rate (Africa Development Bank, 2014)[1]. Although the business environment improved according to the World Bank report, 'Doing Business 2016', with the country moving up 16 places to 155 out of 189 countries, the prevailing economic sanctions will continue to negatively impact upon growth.[2]

There is also a weak industrial sector, a lack of a diversified export base

Other regionally-specific issues

The harsh economic environment has to a large extent resulted in strong political differences and tensions between political parties. The City of Harare has not kept pace with the ever-increasing demand for services and infrastructure with a growing population in some respects fuelled by rural to urban migration.

Venders and other traders involved in the informal sector have ‘invaded’ spaces in the City to conduct their business without regard to those in authority when seeking orders for them to vacate.

While security is not a particular concern, the increasing poverty from the harsh economic

Organisation and management

The University operates through a committee structure in which decision making is decentralised from Central Administration to Departmental level. While the Council is responsible for the institutional overall policies and major approvals regarding administrative and strategic issues, the University Senate is responsible for all academic matters. All new programmes and review of existing ones as well as research, teaching and learning as well as community engagement fall under the responsibility of Senate. The Vice-Chancellor chairs Senate and may sometimes delegate the function to the Pro

Main priorities of HEI in the region

We would like to focus on developing the capacity of the informal sector by equipping the participants with knowledge and skills that enable them to operate more viably and contribute to the economy in a more meaningful manner. The areas of focus of such intervention include design and technology capabilities that include origination and development of design of new products, making of artefacts of high quality, costing and marketing of the products. The training and orientation of those engaged in the informal sector should also include: soft skills that deal with basic social skills and

Cultural issues

Harare is a metropolitan and multicultural City. It is therefore not easy to develop strategies that embrace the different cultures of the residents. While the official language is English and the predominant indigenous languages are Shona and Ndebele, there are at least 14 other indigenous languages that are officially recognised across the country.[1]