Zimbabwe sets aside US $345m for road refurbishment

11 February 2019

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 said the projects will be undertaken through the
Infrastructure Development Plan recently unveiled to dovetail 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 Chasi.

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,” he said.

“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.

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

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.

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