Lovemore Chikova Development Dialogue
It was hard work throughout since the advent of the New Dispensation in 2017, and this year is a cause for celebration as many of the developmental projects initiated then are being commissioned.
The year 2022 comes with a difference in the development trajectory for Zimbabwe, as the country witnesses the coming into life of the various life-changing projects.
Well, President Mnangagwa has made it clear that no development project will be left unfinished in the Second Republic.
True to that commitment, this year will witness an unprecedented number of big and influential development projects being commissioned in various parts of the country upon their completion.
This comes in the wake of recent revelations by the Ministry of Information, Publicity and Broadcasting Services that the Second Republic has completed 185 infrastructure development projects since 2018, with work in progress on another 186.
The major gains of the last three years are part of an accelerated drive for infrastructural development which forms an important part of President Mnangagwa’s vision of creating an upper middle income economy by 2030.
In line with that trajectory, this year marks a huge turning point as some of the major projects with a huge impact on the economy will be completed.
Gwayi Shangani Dam
The gigantic dam, a major component of the National Matabeleland Zambezi Water Project, is expected to be completed and commissioned any time this year.
Work on the project, which has been financially supported by the New Dispensation, is almost finished, with engineers working on the final stages of the dam.
The dam will hold at least 650 million cubic metres of water, enough to reach the city of Bulawayo, at least 245 kilometres away, through a pipeline that is being constructed.
Vast tracts of land in rural Matabeleland North will come under irrigation, improving the local people’s livelihoods.
The completion of the dam is a milestone for the Second Republic considering that it had been on hold since it was mooted in 1912.
The water body is significant to the development trajectory of not only the Matabeleland region, as it will contribute towards attainment of food security.
Another project that will be commissioned this year upon completion is the Harare-Beitbridge Highway, whose construction is already at an advanced stage, with works expected to be completed before the end of this year.
Five local companies contracted to widen, rehabilitate and upgrade the highway have indicated they are on course to complete all the roadworks and have the revamped road fully working this year.
With almost 300 kilometres of the new road now open to traffic, the project will be commissioned this year without any doubt.
The highway is being redone and widened to ensure easy movement of traffic, considering that the existing one had become too narrow to effectively accommodate haulage trucks and other vehicles.
The importance of this trunk road is that it connects Zimbabwe to the rest of countries north of the Zambezi River, with those countries in the north also connected to South Africa and its various seaports. The construction work involves laying a completely new surface from Harare to Beitbridge, with the road being widened from seven metres to 12,5 metres.
Robert Gabriel Mugabe International Airport
It is expected that barring any sideshows, the upgrade and expansion of Robert Gabriel Mugabe International Airport Harare will be completed in June this year.
The airport’s modernisation project is being funded by a US$153 million Chinese loan facility, with China Jiangsu International Company doing the construction works.
It is envisaged that the expansion of the airport will positively impact several sectors of the economy and catapult the country in realising its vision of becoming an upper middle income economy by 2030.
Upon completion, the modern airport, which will be one of the biggest in the region with capacity to process more than six million people annually, would position Zimbabwe as a major air traffic hub in the region.
The expansion will result in the construction of the international terminal building and aprons, installation of four new bridges, a secondary radar system, construction of a VVIP pavilion and an airfield ground lighting and communication system.
New Parliament Building
Constructors of the New Parliament Building in Mt Hampden have provisionally targeted March as the date for the commissioning of the mammoth structure that is set to change the skyline of the area.
Once the building is commissioned, Parliament business will move from the central business district of Harare to the more spacious building, about 30 kilometres from the city centre.
A new town is expected to be constructed in the Mt Hampden area to complement the New Parliament Building, a move that has generated interest from many Zimbabweans who envisage life in that new town.
The six-storey New Parliament Building houses the upper Senate chamber and the Lower House of Assembly, as well as a multi-purpose gallery and offices.
The project is being funded by the Chinese Government through China Aid in support of Zimbabwe’s infrastructure development thrust.
Beitbridge Border Post
Phase 1 of the modernisation of the Beitbridge Border Post has already been completed, with work already started on Phase 2.
Zimborders Consortium, in partnership with the Government of Zimbabwe, is upgrading SADC’s busiest inland port of entry at a cost of US$300 million under a 17 and half-years build operate and transfer concession.
The firm has already indicated that the border post modernisation is one of the big projects expected to be commissioned this year following completion of Phase 3 of the works.
Hwange Unit 7 and 8
Another project with a huge impact on the economy and expected to be completed this year is the Hwange Thermal Power Station, which will result in the country moving towards sufficiency in power generation.
The US$1,5 billion expansion programme entails the addition of Units 7 and 8, which are expected to add a combined 600MW to the national grid.
The combined output of the thermal power plant will be an average of 1 300MW after the completion of Hwange 7 and 8 units.
The project started in August 2018 following ground-breaking by President Mnangagwa a month earlier.
Along units 7 and 8, the older units are being renovated and upgraded in a continuous programme.
Manhize Iron Ore and Steel Project
The steel plant between Mvuma-Chivhu and Manhize, where Tsingshan Group Holdings, a Fortune 500 listed company, is erecting a global class plant that will also come with ferrochrome furnaces, is expected to kick start operations this year.
The project, which was almost scraped in 2014, is already in motion after it was revived following the birth of the Second Republic under President Mnangagwa.
The US$1 billion investment project will have an annual turnover of US$1,5 billion from the processing plant and iron ore mine from this year.
Equipped with a 1,5km by 600 metre carbon and steel plant, an iron ore mine, and a ferrochrome plant, the project will have a capacity of 1,2 million tonnes a year, while between 4 000 and 5 000 people will benefit through employment across value chains.
A dam will be constructed along Munyati River as the plant needs a lot of water for its operations.
The road network leading to the smelting plant will be tarred this year.
At the smelting plant, about 26km from the upgraded Harare-Beitbridge Highway, some staff quarters were constructed last year.
The smelting plant would have a blast furnace, offices for various departments at the Tsingshan Plant and a police post.
A 95km high voltage power line is set to be constructed and completed before the commissioning of the plant this year, while a back-up power line of the same voltage would be constructed from Selous near Chegutu, a distance of about 97km to the smelting plant.
The project is expected to be fully functional next year.
Great Dyke Investments platinum mine
Zimbabwe’s next giant platinum mine, Great Dyke Investments (GDI), is expected to increase the country’s exports of platinum and platinum group metals this year.
The first box cut was done in January last year at the mine site in Darwendale, with rapid development of the mine expected this year.
GDI mine follows Zimplats and Unki platinum mines and is one of the new investments expected to help the Second Republic reach a US$12 billion mining industry by 2023.