Zim receives US$17,4m grant for road improvement

JAPAN has provided Zimbabwe with a US$ 17,4m (2,389 million Japanese yen) grant for the completion of a 7,8km stretch between Makuti and Marongora Phase 2 in the North-South Corridor.

The first phase of the road was a 6,5km stretch between Marongora and Hell’s Gate, which was commissioned by President Mnangagwa in 2021.

It was also funded by Japan through the Japan International Co-operation Agency (JICA).

Yesterday, Exchange of Notes and Grant Agreement documents were signed to this effect by Finance, Economic Development and Investment Promotion Minister Professor Mthuli Ncube, Japan Ambassador to Zimbabwe Mr Shinichi Yamanaka and JICA chief representative to Zimbabwe, Mr Shigeki Furuta.

The project will be supervised by JICA engineers and implemented by road works teams of the Department of Roads in the Ministry of Transport and Infrastructural Development.

The North-South Corridor is a vital international trunk road, essential for Zimbabwe’s trade with neighbouring countries and regional trade, and is forecast by the AU to become one of the continent’s busiest transport corridors by 2040.

Speaking during the ceremony, Prof Ncube said the occasion cemented co-operation between the Governments of Zimbabwe and Japan, through the signing of the Exchange of Notes and Grant Agreement for The Road Improvement of the Northern Part of the North-South Corridor Phase 2, this time targeting the construction stage.

“It is important to note that we are gathered here following the successful completion of the first part (Detailed Design) of Phase 2 of the Road Improvement of the Northern Part of the North-South Corridor which has paved the way for the construction of a climbing lane on the road section between Makuti and Hell’s Gate. 

“The area was identified to be hazardous, where several accidents have been occurring due to the sharp curves and steep slopes along the highway. Phase 2 of the Road Improvement of the Northern Part of the North-South Corridor Project will see construction of climbing lanes and widening of sharp curves which will add to already accrued benefits from Phase 1 of the Project by reducing the number of accidents as it will allow smooth flow of traffic and safe overtaking of slow moving traffic,” he said.

Prof Ncube said the project will also go a long way in improving the ease of doing business by smoothening the flow of traffic thereby reducing the time spent on the road for transit trucks and trucks delivering products to and from the country.

“Once again, I am grateful for this support which amounts to Japanese Yen 2,389 million (approx. US$17,44 million). Furthermore, on behalf of the Government, I would like to acknowledge the following recent developments which have seen the Government of Japan procuring and donating two ambulances towards the end of 2023, which were deployed to Mbire and Guruve districts as part of the prevention of Covid-19 infections among vulnerable women and girls project being implemented in drought-affected districts”.

JICA chief representative Mr Shigeki Furuta said last year, the detailed designed component for the phase 2 was completed with the soft component technical assistance of traffic safety, which entailed the transfer of technology to engineers regarding road safety measures, road improvement, and maintenance.

 The project aligns with the current Japan’s capacity development support to the One Stop Border Post at Chirundu, and the construction of the Chirundu Bridge completed in 2002 by the grant aid of Japan.

Herald

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