Upgrade of the Harare International Airport, which is set to be renamed to Robert Gabriel Mugabe International Airport this week, is scheduled to commence following the conclusion of negotiations of a $153 million loan facility from China. The loan facility will be availed by China EximBank.
Transport and Infrastructure Development Minister Dr Joram Gumbo, said the Chinese Government has since given the go ahead for Zimbabwe to start accessing the money. Dr Gumbo said the two governments are just waiting to sign the official funding agreement.
“We are now waiting for the agreement to be signed between Government of Zimbabwe and China. From our part it’s a done deal and the Chinese Government has given us the go ahead to get the money and start the construction,” said Dr Gumbo.
The Harare International Airport, with a passenger capacity of 2,5 million per year, was last expanded and commissioned in 2001.
Harare International Airport is set to join the ranks of Joshua Nkomo International Airport and Victoria Falls International Airport that have been upgraded in the past five years. The upgrade, in the case of Victoria Falls, saw an increase in direct flights to the resort town. International airlines like Kenya Airways have since started servicing the route.
The upgrade of the Harare International Airport falls under the Zimbabwe Agenda for Sustainable Socio-Economic Transformation’s infrastructure and utilities cluster, which is expected to create huge employment and downstream benefits. Current efforts to upgrade the airport follows the commissioning of other mega-projects including Tokwe-Mukosi Dam and the launch of dualisation of the Masvingo-Chirundu Highway by President Mugabe expected to create thousands of jobs.