Walter Nyamukondiwa Kariba Bureau
GOVERNMENT has applied to the Japan International Cooperation Agency (JICA) for multi-million dollar funding for four major road projects including the construction of missing links on Harare Drive, Phase 2 of the Airport Road, Birchenough Bridge and Chirundu Highway.
This also includes completion of the remaining 13,5 kilometres of the 21km stretch on the accident-prone Makuti-Chirundu Road earmarked for improvement after Japan poured in US$21 million for the first 6,5km. The missing links of Harare Drive alone will cost US$110 million.
President Mnangagwa and Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe discussed the issues in Yokohama on the sidelines of the 7th Tokyo International Conference on African Development (TICAD 7) last week.
Transport and Infrastructural Development Minister Joel Biggie Matiza confirmed that they has approached JICA and that external funding would complement Government’s budgetary commitment to infrastructure development.
“An application by my ministry has already been submitted to JICA for Phase 2 of the project covering 13,5km to Makuti,” he said.
“In addition, my ministry has also applied for funding for three other projects, namely missing links in Harare Drive, Phase 2 of the Harare Airport Road and Birchenough Bridge.”
He said Government was working to bring the country’s roads to international standards through various projects that are underway across the country.
“As a ministry we are happy that Government is giving us commendable support as we move to fulfil President Mnangagwa’s Vision 2030 through the Transitional Stabilisation Programme (TSP) for upper middle income status,” said Minister Matiza.
Japan has supported infrastructure development projects in the country through providing US$5,5 million worth of bitumen to rehabilitate roads damaged during the 2016/2017 rainfall season and the Chirundu Bridge across the Zambezi River.
Japan and the African Development Bank on Friday last week announced a joint target of $3,5 billion under the Enhanced Private Sector Assistance for Africa initiative (EPSA4), during TICAD 7.
Both Japan and the bank have set a target of $1,75 billion each, from 2020-2022, to enhance the fourth phase of EPSA to spur private-sector-led sustainable and inclusive growth in Africa.
Mashonaland West Minister of State Mary Mliswa-Chikoka confirmed that several road projects were being undertaken in the province.
“I want to thank the work that the Ministry of Transport and Infrastructural Development is doing in our province including ongoing dualisation works on the Harare-Beitbridge Corridor,” she said.
“In Chegutu Rural District Council work has commenced on the Gokwe-Alaska route as well as the Hurungwe and Binga routes, among others. This augurs well with Government’s development thrust.”
Minister Mliswa said the country can only develop with top-notch transport network and infrastructure.
Upgrading of infrastructure, she said, would go a long way in improving the province’s Gross Domestic Product (GDP) in line with devolution.