F/town looks to spruce up for investors

Change incoming: Francistown’s new plan will uplift the city for investors PIC: KEOAGILE BONANG
Change incoming: Francistown’s new plan will uplift the city for investors PIC: KEOAGILE BONANG

FRANCISTOWN: The Francistown Urban Spatial Development Plan, which will be launched in 2022, will be used to guide the improvement of the city’s infrastructure with a view of making it attractive to investors.

City Mayor, Godisang Radisigo said the new plan would be used as a guide to improve the general infrastructure outlook of the city and will span 24 years.

Radisigo first mentioned plans to unveil the new development strategy when addressing an ordinary full council meeting two weeks ago, but he did not elaborate.

This week, he told BusinessWeek the plan would replace the current Development Plan for Francistown, which was launched in 1997 as a development guide for the city. The 1997 development plan is coming to the end of its lifespan later this year.

Radisigo said that it is evident that the socio-economic and environmental conditions upon which the 1997 plan was premised have changed. For this reason, he said that 2022-2046 aims to address some of these challenges.

“The development for the 2022-2046 plan is still at a consultation stage. We expect consultations to be completed soon and the plan will be ready for use next year,” Radisigo said.

He said that one of the major focus points of the upcoming plan will be to emphasise the improvement of infrastructure to support investment such as the construction of factory shells in strategic areas around the city.

“One of the main reasons the city cannot attract investors is because it does not have suitable infrastructure to accommodate businesses,” the Mayor said. “For example, areas such as Selebi Phikwe have factory shells readily available to potential investors and this makes them very attractive when compared to Francistown.”

Radisigo noted that the Council will work hand-in-hand with various stakeholders in the city to explore various ways to fund or ensure the execution of the plan.

“Public-Private Partnerships are one of the strategies we intend to fully explore among others, to fund infrastructure development in the city as part of the execution of the 2022-2046 development plan. “The Council has ample land that can be developed through various strategies with a view of supporting or facilitating investment.”

The implementation of the 1997-2021 plan also faced its challenges, according to Radisigo. He noted that one of the challenges faced by the plan has been the traffic influx in the city, inadequate and dilapidated urban infrastructure as well an influx of informal sector businesses. For decades there have been concerns that the infrastructure in Francistown is not attractive to investors.

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