ZIMBABWE- On the 9th of December, Victoria Falls Municipality, a top global tourist destination in Zimbabwe was accorded city status. Under the proclamation 9 of 2020, the President of Zimbabwe, Emmerson Mnangagwa. The according of city status followed a long process of assessment by the Ministry of Local Government, Rural and Urban Development for the suitability of the town to be awarded the city status. Victoria Falls Municipality has been a global tourist destination since it was established as a town in the 1900 and becoming a municipality in 1999. It hosts one of the Seven Wonders of the World, the Victoria Falls along the Zambezi River on the border of Zambia and Zimbabwe. Under the proclamation, the name Victoria Falls Municipality becomes Victoria Falls City.
The according of city status to Victoria Falls follows an application by the municipality in 2017 to government for consideration of city status. A five-member commission from the Ministry of Local Government, Public Works and National Housing was subsequently appointed to assess the town’s suitability.
Following the findings by the commission, on the 28th of October 2020, the Parliament of Zimbabwe approved the recommendation of commission to accord city status. The process of according Victoria Falls city status follows Zimbabwe’s Urban Councils Act (Chapter 29: 15) whereas in terms of Section 242 of the Act, an urban settlement of lower status may apply to the minister for a change of its status.
Victoria Falls becoming a city make it central to the tourist industry in the region as various developments were streamlined by the government of Zimbabwe to boost its attractiveness. These include its designation as a Special Economic Zone in 2017, as well as the opening of the Victoria Falls Stock Exchange. In efforts to make Victoria Falls the country’s conferencing capital, the government of Zimbabwe also proposed developing Masue Satellite Town which will have high-end facilities that include high-end hotels, medical centre, a university, a Zimbabwe Defense Forces camp, sporting facilities among others. With a population of more than 38 000 and a large traffic of tourists, the newly accorded City of Victoria Falls is expected to have in increase in demand for better infrastructure and urban land for expansion. This has been followed by the need to redevelop the city’s poorly utilized land mostly that belong to the government of Zimbabwe. The conferment of city status has been accompanied by the awarding of Freedom of the City to President Mnangagwa for his contribution to the growth of the city. The award is the first ever and the award of highest honor in Victoria Falls.