From George Maponga in Masvingo
The provincial leadership here has identified several road projects that have been earmarked for development over the next decade as a catalyst for growth of Masvingo’s Gross Domestic Product (GDP) in line with President Mnangagwa’s Vision 2030.
The Government under the Second Republic has identified road development as one of the key enablers of economic growth in line with the drive to make Zimbabwe an upper middle income economy in the next decade.
President Mnangagwa’s administration has been walking the talk on roads with major roads here at various stages of rehabilitation and expansion to speed up commerce and movement of people.
The roads will move agricultural produce such as sugar cane, cotton and traditional grains with output set to surge owing to increased investment by both Government and private capital.
Considerable ground has been covered in the rehabilitation and widening of the Harare-Beitbridge highway with two firms Masimba Construction and Exodus and Company working on a combined 40km stretch which is under Masvingo province at Gokomere and Maringire business centres respectively.
Provincial Development Co-ordinator Mr Fungai Mbetsa was upbeat about the province’s economic growth prospects over the next decade powered by an ambitious road development programme.
The Harare-Beitbridge highway, according to Mr Mbetsa, was the province’s trump card in the road development drive for the next decade.
“We have identified a number of key road projects that are earmarked for development over the next decade that we thought will help the province meet its goals under Vision 2030 and the roads straddle over almost all the seven administrative districts in the province,” said Mr Mbetsa.
“Of course the most important project out of those we have identified is the ongoing rehabilitation of the Harare-Beitbridge highway out of which 200km is expected to have been completed by the end of this year.”
Mr Mbetsa said the highway was a major artery for commerce in the country and was priority number one for the province.
“Work is going on right now at Gokomere and near Ngundu and considerable ground has been covered.
“We are happy that the road project has galvanised economies of adjacent communities through job creation while some of our local companies are also benefiting through supply of raw materials such as quarry.”
He noted that most road construction projects had been partly affected by the Covid-19 pandemic which forced scaling down or complete stoppage of operations in some areas.
In Masvingo district, the Masvingo-Kapota-Zimuto road has been identified as a key project that will stimulate economic activity covering the rural heartland stretching from northern parts of the district to the east, a belt synonymous with high agricultural productivity.
The Ngundu-Renco Mine road and the Morgenster-Mashate road in the district are also a high priority projects that will breathe life into the economy of southern parts of the district.
In Gutu, the Mpandawana-Kurai, Gutu-Nerupiri, Gutu-Buhera and Mpandawana-Chiwara-Bikita Minerals were listed as priority projects in the next decade.
In Zaka the Jerera-Mashoko road and Veza-Jerera road will be prioritised while in Bikita the Nyika-Silveira Mission road and the Nyika-Mashoko road will be upgraded to modern standards.
For Chiredzi, the Chiredzi-Boli-Chicualacuala road and the Chiredzi-Chilonga-Chikombedzi road together with new all access bridges at Chilonga and Chipinda along Runde River will be prioritised.
Mwenezi will see the upgrading of the Rutenga-Zvishavane road with work already underway and the road is expected to link western and central parts of the country to Sango Border Post which is the south eastern gateway of the country to Mozambique.
The Chivi-Takavarasha road and the Tokwe-Mhandamabwe road project,the latter already at an advanced stage, have been identified as priority projects that will drive socio-economic development in the arid district.
Most roads here are in a bad shape owing to years of underinvestment coupled with hostile weather which spawned cyclones such as Eline 20 years ago and Idai which ravaged most parts of the country last year.