Infrastructural development the heart of Zim’s transformation

Government will continue to prioritise infrastructural development countrywide under the Emergency Road Rehabilitation Programme (ERRP2) and other various initiatives which have transformed the economy as well as creating employment and bringing joy among the citizens.

The Second Republic, led by President Mnangagwa, has invested significantly in infrastructural development as a key enabler to economic transformation, despite limited access to external lines of credit.

So far, more than 50 000km of roads have been rehabilitated while 2 000 structures have been attended to since the start of the Emergency Road Rehabilitation Programme (ERRP2) in 2021.

Zimbabwe has an estimated road network of 84 000km, out of which 93 percent was in fair or poor condition and in need of rehabilitation or periodic maintenance.

Government is also in the process of negotiating with potential investors for the rehabilitation of some of the country’s roads.

Soon, Government is expected to roll-out another massive road restoration exercise targeting not only highways, but those roads in communities and other feeder roads to ensure no one and no place is left behind.

Negotiations between the Government and a potential investor for the rehabilitation of the Harare-Nyamapanda Highway and the Nyamapanda Border Post are also underway.

The 235,8km Harare-Nyamapanda highway, which links Zimbabwe with Mozambique and Malawi, has been affected by an increase in traffic, especially haulage trucks transporting black granite from Murehwa and Mutoko.

Government has prioritised rehabilitation of major highways that include the Harare-Masvingo-Beitbridge highway, where the rebuilding is almost complete, and now the Harare-Chirundu highway, the northern leg of the same main north-south highway.

The Harare-Mutare dualisation is also in progress, with a 46km stretch between Harare and Marondera already completed and opened to traffic.

Many other key highways are being rehabilitated, including the Beitbridge-Bulawayo-Victoria Falls highway, as good roads are critical for the movement of goods.

The rehabilitation of the Harare-Beitbridge highway and modernisation of the Beitbridge Border Post to bring in efficient systems aimed at reducing or eliminating delays, are some of the signature projects of President Mnangagwa’s administration. The new-look Beitbridge Border Post was also recently transformed by Government in a private-public-partnership with the Zimborders Consortium.

Beitbridge Border Post has already been commissioned by the President and users of the busiest land border in the SADC region have commended the speed with which they are being cleared. The project, which cost US$300 million has started bearing fruits, reducing the turnaround time for cargo clearance and the movement of human traffic. Long delays, which resulted in cargo and people spending between three to seven days had become synonymous with the country’s busiest port of entry in the last decade.

Also, the Mbudzi traffic interchange is now 53 percent complete, as the Second Republic continues to score big on infrastructural development as envisaged by the National Development Strategy 1.

Mbudzi roundabout had been a major vehicle traffic choke-point in southern Harare before Government committed resources to turn it into an interchange, as the Second Republic continues to upgrade infrastructure to cope with modern demands and trends.

Some of the benefits of the project include de-congestion of the Mbudzi area by creating streamlined and efficient traffic flow, reducing transit time and accidents in the area.

The project is creating direct employment for over 700 employees and downstream activities for thousands others, while creating skills transfer and upgrade for the Department of Roads staff. The US$88 million Mbudzi interchange is at the intersection of Simon Mazorodze Road, Chitungwiza Road and High Glen Road in Harare.

Funding of the project is being done through local financial institutions, while the contractor for the project is a joint venture of three local road construction companies: Tensor Systems, Fossil Contracting and Masimba Construction, collectively coming under the banner of Tefoma Construction joint venture.

When complete, the world-class interchange being constructed under the Emergency Road Rehabilitation Programme, is expected to eliminate congestion at the point where two major highways meet the Beitbridge-Harare national highway, with the traffic circle that was deemed adequate a few decades ago, now totally overwhelmed.

So far, the rehabilitation of the Harare-Masvingo-Beitbridge Highway is about 80 percent complete with 470km out of the total 580km of the road now opened to traffic, a move which has been hailed by motorists.

The rehabilitation of the Harare-Beitbridge highway and modernisation of the Beitbridge Border Post to bring in efficient systems aimed at reducing or eliminating delays, are some of the signature projects of President Mnangagwa’s administration.

The entire north-south corridor has been divided into three sections: the 580km Harare-Masvingo-Beitbridge highway together with eight toll plazas, the 342km Harare-Chirundu highway with six toll plazas, and the 59km Harare Ring Road with three toll plazas.

These tolls are aimed at paying for the rehabilitation and maintenance of roads.

In July, President Mnangagwa commissioned the new-look US$153 million Robert Gabriel Mugabe International Airport, as the Second Republic continues to deliver key projects in line with the country’s vision of attaining an upper middle-income economy by 2030.

The RGM International Airport has since been handed over to the Airports Company of Zimbabwe (ACZ) by the contractor, China Jiangsu International-RGM Airport Project.

President Mnangagwa said the completion of the expansion of Robert Gabriel Mugabe International Airport was evidence that the Second Republic was walking the talk in modernising and industrialising the country for the achievement of Vision 2030.

He described the new airport as magnificent. The Robert Gabriel Mugabe International Airport modernisation drive is one of the flagship projects being implemented by the Second Republic under the leadership of President Mnangagwa, who has placed emphasis on high impact projects in line with the National Development Strategy 1.

The airport will become a regional aviation hub able to handle about 6 million passengers annually, from the present 2,5 million. The upgrading of the RGM International Airport is also expected to see more international airlines opening routes into Harare and a corresponding increase in tourist arrivals.

Infrastructure development is at the heart of the Second Republic, which is in line with the aspiration of attaining an empowered upper middle income society.

Last week, Government said Zimbabwe has prioritised infrastructural development by committing local resources towards the completion of a 580km world-class highway along the North-South corridor which links to the modernised Beitbridge Border Post, which has been completed in the first quarter of this year. Zimbabwe said it is committed to cooperation under the United Nations System and the adoption of international good practices and standards in transport connectivity and sustainable mobility.

Speaking during the general and high representative for the least developed countries (LLDCS), and Small Island Developing States in Armenia, Asia Transport and Infrastructural Development Minister Felix Mhona recently said they were targeting four more border expansions in the next three years.

“I wish to reiterate that Zimbabwe is committed to cooperation under the United Nations System, and to the adoption of international good practices and standards in transport connectivity and sustainable mobility. The theme: Enhancing equitable, affordable, and inclusive transport connectivity as a driver for more sustainable and resilient economies in LLDCs”, aptly encapsulates the essential variables in our development agenda as Landlocked Developing Countries,” he said.

Minister Mhona said Zimbabwe adopted an ambitious Vision 2030, to chart the country’s new development trajectory.

He said the Vision reflects the collective aspirations and determination of the people of Zimbabwe, to achieve a Prosperous and Empowered Upper Middle-Income Society by 2030. “Among other priorities, the vision is leveraged by the following priorities: Image Building and International Engagement and Re-engagement; Digital Economy and Infrastructure and Utilities. We have thus prioritised infrastructural development by committing local resources towards the completion of 580km of world-class highway along our North-South corridor.

“Linking this road is the upgraded and modernised Beitbridge Border Post, which was completed in the first quarter of 2023. We are targeting four more border expansions in the next three years,” he said.

Minister Mhona said they also continue to roll out a robust road construction and routine maintenance programme, under the auspices of the Emergency Road Rehabilitation Programme (ERRP).

“In the last two budget cycles, 35 645 km have been constructed, rehabilitated and routinely maintained across the country. Our efforts have also witnessed remarkable progress in other sectors of infrastructural development. We are building a modern interchange to ensure seamless and quick access to the ever-expanding capital city of Harare. This mega project is progressing well,” Minister Mhona said.

He said they were on an accelerated recapitalisation agenda of the National Railways of Zimbabwe, with the view to enhance their bulky ground logistics.

“This area remains open for investors and financiers. On aviation, we have recently unveiled the Robert Gabriel Mugabe International Airport which is nearing completion. We are leveraging on public and private partnerships to upgrade and refurbish six more airports in the country. We also have to be alive to the practical challenges that we face in meeting the transport infrastructure needs of LLDCs.

“The devastating effects of Covid-19 ravaged enabling sectors of our economies, including the transport sector. The diversion of resources meant for developing and modernising infrastructure towards supporting basic livelihoods are just some of the direct consequences.

“Further, the impact of climate change and variability are becoming more evident, with increased incidences of cyclones and floods which have extensively damaged our transport infrastructure and disrupted connectivity. While climate change adaptation, mitigation and resilience building have been mainstreamed into Zimbabwe’s national policies, it remains a challenge which needs joint remedial action with the international community,” he said.

Minister Mhona said despite the robust engagement and re-engagement efforts by the country’s leadership, steered by President Mnangagwa, illegal unilateral coercive measures imposed by some Western countries remain an albatross to efforts towards achieving infrastructure development targets.

“I, therefore, want to use this platform to rally the international community to encourage countries which have imposed these sanctions on us to lift them, as they are hurting the ordinary people and frustrating our efforts towards meeting our SDGs.

“We are not aloof to the challenges we face. This Ministerial Meeting is critical to us, as it serves as a platform for us to examine ways in which we can boost transport connectivity, through the sharing of knowledge, experiences and innovative approaches, with the ultimate objective of developing resilient and sustainable economies in LLDCs,” Minister Mhona said.

He assured that the government remains optimistic in confronting the challenges which they face as LLDCs.

Herald

*Positive Eye News*

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