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Zimbabwe’s Leader is Seeking Investment for a New National Capital

Zimbabwe’s political leaders have a remedy for the collapse of the capital Harare: Build a new “cybercity” with as much as $60 billion of other people’s money.  The development in Mount Hampden, 11 miles northeast of Harare, is slated to be the site of the national parliament, headquarters of the central bank, the high and supreme courts, mineral auction centers, a stock exchange, a presidential palace and luxury villas. “Mount Hampden is the new Harare,” said Shaji Ul Mulk, the billionaire who is backing it, adding that he’s investing $500 million to get started on a project that he believes will ultimately cost $60 billion and resemble Dubai, where he lives. That’s a world apart from Harare, which in two decades has transformed from a well-maintained city into what it is today: an urban sprawl riddled with potholes where refuse is rarely collected, electricity supply is more often off than on and many suburbs and townships have had no reliable running water for years. The planned development in Mount Hampden reflects “a ruling elite preoccupation not to interrupt their lives by having to see dirt and poverty,” said Stephen Chan, a professor of world politics at the School of Oriental and African Studies in London.