The government of Zimbabwe has set aside US $345m for construction and rehabilitation of roads and bridges in the country in a move to improve the transport network in the country.
Transport and Infrastructure Development Deputy Minister, Fortune Chasi confirmed the reports and said that the projects will be done through the Infrastructure Development Plan that was recently unveiled to dovetails with the Second Republic’s commitment of attaining an Upper Middle-Income economy by 2030.
“The increase in traffic volumes, coupled with the poor state of the highway has resulted in congestion, increased accidents and loss of lives and property,” said Mr. Fortune.
Road refurbishment project
The road works include an ongoing phased approach to upgrade Harare-Masvingo-Beitbridge Highway, a 6,5 km stretch along Makuti-Chirundu and the Bulawayo-Beitbridge road.
“The Harare-Beitbridge highway is considered to be key as it is part of the North-South corridor linking the southern port of Durban in South Africa to other SADC and Comesa member States to the north and, hence, facilitates trade within the region and Africa at large,” said Fortune Chasi.
“We do not have contractors at the moment; however, we will flight the tenders soon so that work can commence during the first half of the year,” added the Transport Minister.
African Continental Free Trade Area
The Minister said that the the government will tap US $50m from the fiscus and US $250m will come from the Zinara Zimbabwe National Road Administration( Zinara) Infrastructure Bond, for the road works. Part of the funds will also be used to compensate individuals and companies whose properties lie along some of the proposed road expansion routes.
The Deputy Minister said Government would also address the issue of traffic build up in major cities and towns, with the Beitbridge-Harare highway being dualised 10 km in and out of administrative centres along the road.
According to the African Development Bank (AfDB) report published last year, Zimbabwe is among African countries that need to improve its transport network in order to benefit from the African Continental Free Trade Area.