The transformation of Usisya into a rural growth centre has taken off with the construction of a K80m market on the hard-to-reach shoreline in Nkhata Bay West.
The making of the modern market under the Local Development Fund (LDF) started last month and is expected to end in July next year.
Speaking during the training of market committee members in Mzuzu on Monday, authorities said the market will spur business in the remote lakeshore locality and broaden the district’s revenue collection base.
“The market is one way of uplifting Usisya into a rural growth centre. The area used to be a vibrant town until 1979 when it was devastated by floods resulting from an overflow of Lake Malawi. Ever since, development has been sluggish in the area,” said LDF director of urban development Mike Moyo in an interview.
According to Moyo, Usisya Trading Centre is one of the LDF projects benefiting from the 11 million euros (about K5.5 billion) offered by the Germany Government through KfW Bank. Eight projects nationwide are in the frame to benefit from K1.3 billion injection made so far.
Nkhata Bay district commissioner Fred Movete said the market is a big investment, one of its kind in the lakeshore district.
“The market is huge. Apart from boosting business and revenue in the district, it will be a centre of focus which will attract other vital investments to the area which has been crying for development,” said the DC.
Usisya is a mountainous area only accessible by perilous boat rides to Nkhata Bay and a ragged unpaved road that dissects slippery steep slopes via Mzuzu.
The district council plans to build a bus stop adjacent to the market under construction when the road is upgraded.
Although Movete described the long-awaited upgrade as “a very important project” for the nearly cut-off population, he reckoned it would require a lot of money.
“Honestly, this is a difficult project that can only be funded by donors. Our only hope is that government will take it as a big project which requires funding,” he said.
For Senior Chief Mbwana, the market taking shape, “one step towards the construction of a rural growth centre in Usisya” will be nothing worthwhile without a better road.
“The market will offer a centrally positioned business setting for both local and visiting entrepreneurs. But another way to develop the area is to upgrade the road into a tarmac, for the rural growth centre will be nothing without a better road,” said Mbwana, the patron of the market committee being trained.