Zimbabwe has embarked on plans to build a cybercity in the outskirts of the capital, Harare, to incorporate a host of new technologies including blockchain and digital currencies.
“Zim Cyber City is to be a key feature that will bring added value to our new city here. The development around here for the smart city on 15,500 hectares will be the smartest city in our region,” President Mnangagwa said at the launch of the project.
The city is expected to permit blockchain and digital currencies while also becoming the new seat of government.
According to Local Government Deputy Minister Marian Chombo, who is responsible for overseeing municipalities, the ‘cybercity’ is drawing attention from various commercial, retail, and industrial investors, and is expected to cost up to $60 billion.
Investor confidence is growing in Zimbabwe!
This weekend construction began on the multimillion-dollar Cyber City in Mount Hampden.
Under my leadership we shall open the door to more investment and build a brighter future for our country.
Action, not words! pic.twitter.com/i0x8GeG4Cd
— President of Zimbabwe (@edmnangagwa) November 14, 2022
One of the investors and contractors backing the project, Shaji Ul Mulk, mentioned that Zimbabwe’s largest bank, CBZ Holdings Ltd, has made $100 million in financing available for the development.
“Mount Hampden is the new Harare,” said Ul Mulk, adding that he’s investing $500 million to get started on a project that he believes will ultimately resemble Dubai. “The parliament building has already been built there and all the ministers are moving there.”
China, which has longstanding ties with Zimbabwe, is said to have taken an interest in this development. The Asian giant previously constructed a new parliament building in the Mount Hampden area as a gift to Zimbabwe at a cost of $140 million.
CyberCity will offer several incentives to investors including a five-year exemption from paying company tax, a reduced income tax burden for employees, and streamlined immigration permits for foreign staff.
Besides blockchain and digital currencies, the city will incorporate a cybersecurity and biometric surveillance system which will enable facial recognition technology.
So far, Zimbabwe has resisted cryptocurrencies but has shown a willingness towards a Central Bank Digital Currency (CBDC).
“We believe in central bank digital currency which is basically trying to say ‘how do we have an e-Zimbabwe dollar as opposed to cryptocurrency,” said Central Bank Governor, John Mandugya, in 2021.
Harare Institute of Technology is also said to be working on a Central Bank Digital Currency (CBDC).
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