EDelivers! Airport upgrade complete

PRESIDENT Mnangagwa yesterday officially opened the newly-refurbished Robert Gabriel Mugabe International Airport that can rival any in the world, putting the icing on the cake on signature projects that he has implemented since 2018 in spite of illegal economic sanctions.

The US$153 million airport upgrade that the President commissioned will see passenger capacity growing from 2.5 million per year to over 6 million, enabling more foreign airlines to launch direct flights into Harare and exposing the country to more investors and tourists

It is in sync with President Mnangagwa’s vision of modernising and industrialising the country towards Vision 2030, for Zimbabwe to become an upper middle-income economy.

The expansion is also a direct result of the President’s engagement and re-engagement policy, a thrust that has seen confidence in the country growing.

The President’s close ties with his Chinese counterpart, President Xi Jinping, which were solidified with a State visit to Beijing in 2018, culminated in the signing of a deal to expand the RGMI Airport alongside three other mega projects.

A wing of the expanded RGMIA that was commissioned yesterday

President Mnangagwa, who toured and then officially opened the magnificent new-look airport, told thousands of Zanu PF supporters that when he visited China in 2018, he had a list of four projects and all those had been delivered to the people of Zimbabwe.

In April 2018, I paid a State visit to the People’s Republic of China at the invitation of the President of the People’s Republic of China Cde Xi Jinping. When I went there, I realised that China was one of the countries that stood before independence with the revolution of this country.

“Therefore, I felt free to create a shopping list so that China could support us in our endeavour to modernise and industrialise our country. When I gave the shopping list to my dear brother President Xi Jinping, he said some of the things I wanted would be discussed between ministers from the People’s Republic of China, but on a few items he would make a political decision . . . there was no discussion on those items.

“One of the items he said there would be no discussion about was this airport. He said as President of the People’s Republic of China, my dear brother I grant you a concessionary loan of US$153 million to modernise your airport, there was no discussion. He went further and said on the list there is the construction of a new Parliament, my brother I grant you US$100 million as a grant, go and build your Parliament and the Parliament has been built. It is not only magnificent, but majestic and it is complete”.

The third project that Zimbabwe got on the spot during the President’s visit to China was a grant to increase the country’s power generation capacity and now power outages, once the bane of many, have been consigned to history.

“Today we have 600 MW as a result of that statement by President Xi Jiping. The fourth was a Computer Centre at the University of Zimbabwe, all these four have modernised our country, this is true friendship with China,” said President Mnangagwa.

During the construction of the airport, Chinese state-owned enterprise, Jiangsu International Economic and Technical Co-operation Group, was the contractor

The President Mnangagwa meets immigration officials during the commissioning of the RGMIA yesterday while flanked by Vice President Chiwenga and Zanu PF Vice President Cde Kembo Mohadi yesterday

“After getting such assistance and support from China, our airport is mouth-watering and magnificent. This is what we call development. Our newly renovated and modern Robert Gabriel Mugabe International Airport matches any airport in Europe. To China Jiangsu company, I thank you for the remarkable quality of work done at this airport,” President Mnangagwa said.

While the country has partnered with willing foreign nations for its development, the Second Republic led by President Mnangagwa has delivered to the people an array of projects that include hospitals, dams, schools, and roads, and ensured food security as part of development that leaves no one and no place behind.

The President said Zimbabwe and China enjoy very strong relations that are a reflection of the strong bond between the two countries.

In stark contrast, Zimbabwe’s erstwhile colonisers are determined to isolate and bleed the country and their efforts were on display this week when the United States of America tried to stop President Mnangagwa from attending a summit that was held in Botswana.

The President said when he travelled to Botswana mid this week for the US-Africa business summit at the invitation of his counterpart President Mokgweetsi Masisi, the Americans grudgingly said Zimbabwe could attend after Botswana stood its ground saying the two countries are sister Republics that could not be separated by foreign pressure.

The President said Zimbabwe and China enjoy very strong relations that are a reflection of the strong bond between the two countries.

In stark contrast, Zimbabwe’s erstwhile colonisers are determined to isolate and bleed the country and their efforts were on display this week when the United States of America tried to stop President Mnangagwa from attending a summit that was held in Botswana.

The President said when he travelled to Botswana mid this week for the US-Africa business summit at the invitation of his counterpart President Mokgweetsi Masisi, the Americans grudgingly said Zimbabwe could attend after Botswana stood its ground saying the two countries are sister Republics that could not be separated by foreign pressure.

“This is what happened when I got there, American leaders said they could not be in the same place with President Mnangagwa and they were shown the door while we attended the meeting. God blesses countries that think good of others and punish those that have bad intentions”.

The RGMI Airport is already having trickle-down effects on the country’s economy, including skills and technology transfer, employment creation, andempowerment opportunities.

Vice President Constantino Chiwenga, Zanu PF Vice President and Second Secretary Cde Kembo Mohadi, Minister of Defence and War Veterans Affairs Oppah Muchinguri-Kashiri, Minister of Transport and Infrastructure Development Felix Mhona, Zanu PF Politburo members, Cabinet Ministers, and senior Government officials attended the official opening.

Speaking at the same occasion, Chinese Ambassador to Zimbabwe, Zhou Ding, said joint projects like the airport upgrade helped deepen co-operation between the two countries.

“Our bilateral co-operation has continued to deliver tangible results. This magnificent product is another testimony of our fruitful co-operation and another monument that we will cherish in the years to come. It is one of the key co-operation projects done by China. China will always stand with you and remain Zimbabwe’s true and worthy friend,” he said.

President Mnangagwa interacts with travellers after officiating at RGM International Airport, yesterday. — Picture: Tawanda Mudimu

Among other things, work done included expanding the international terminal, adding aprons, installing new air bridges, and upgrading ground lighting and communication systems.

Meanwhile, many people and organisations have praised the new-look airport saying it will give a proper image of the country and also boost the tourism sector.

Others praised the Second Republic for walking the talk on modernising infrastructure.

Said Ms Faith Muchenje: “President Mnangagwa promised to transform local infrastructure when he came in and look what he has achieved in five years; it’s massive.

“Now our airport stands toe to toe with some of the best in the region and potentially in the world.”

Posting on its Twitter handle, the Zimbabwe Tourism Authority said: “Kudos to @MinistryofTID,

@Airports_Zim & partners on this strategic gateway into destination Zimbabwe, which will edify our tourism economy through various revenue channels, employment, etc.”

Value-based airline, fastjet Zimbabwe, congratulated the ACZ, Ministry of Transport and Infrastructural Development and the Government of Zimbabwe on the commissioning of the new terminal facilities at the R.G. Mugabe International Airport.

“The wait is over, and we are delighted our passengers will now enjoy a heightened level of service unlocked by the new airport terminal,” said Mr Nunurai Ndawana, fastjet Zimbabwe’s spokesperson.

As we move into the new terminal, our customers can expect an enhanced and effortless customer experience made possible by this new facility. We are pleased to further expand our presence in the terminal with a new sales shop and boarding gates.”

Ms Vivian Ruwuya, fastjet Zimbabwe’s chief commercial officer, also said: “ACZ team has been exceptional throughout the development of this terminal, and congratulations to all involved in the development of this facility.

“Since our launch in Zimbabwe from RG Mugabe International Airport in 2015, fastjet has grown to connect eight destinations across three countries. Today we operate 28 flights a week between Harare and Johannesburg and the new airport will most certainly deliver an infrastructure equipped to meet the increasing travel requirements of both local and international travellers.

“The development of this terminal is testament to the commitment to deliver to the strengthening demand for travel to Harare and Zimbabwe, and fastjet stands ready to support this growth.”

Mr Musawenkosi Sibanda he was happy that the US$153 million loan extended to Zimbabwe by China had a “manageable 2 percent interest payable over 20 years, with a seven-year grace period”.

In terms of the loan facility, a Twitter user, Ndini Harare, said: “(It’s) a good deal. We need more deals like this unlike IMF deals.”

Mukaranga Mberengwa using the handle @mukarangaweku03, said: “Wozodei 2 percent interest, kupiwa mahara zveuko. Mabhunu aiva ajaira kutibira zvino vanogwadziwa neChina zvokuti dhuu

Herald

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