Zim engages AfDB for help on infrastructure
Oliver Kazunga Senior Business Reporter
THE Government has engaged the African Development Bank (AfDB) for technical assistance to improve the country’s Gross Domestic Product (GDP) through infrastructural development in order to drive progress towards the attainment of the national vision upper-middle-income economy by 2030.
President Mnangagwa’s administration’s Vision 2030 has infrastructure development as one of the designated priority areas to be achieved through Public Private Partnerships (PPPs).
Finance, Economic Development and Investment Promotion Minister Professor Mthuli Ncube, his deputy Kuda Mnangagwa, Reserve Bank of Zimbabwe (RBZ) Governor Dr John Mangudya, technocrats from the University of Zimbabwe, and AfDB vice president Professor Kevin Chika Urama, who was in the country for two-day working visits, held a high-level closed-door meeting at the Treasury boardroom in Harare Monday.
The meeting provided Zimbabwe’s fiscal authorities with a unique opportunity to gain insights on economic development directly from Prof Urama, one of Africa’s foremost experts on economic modelling and policy strategies.
The engagement also focused on improving revenue efficiencies and debt sustainability to moblise funding to support infrastructure development in the country.
No comment could be obtained from Prof Ncube after the meeting as he had to dash to another important meeting.
Dr Mangudya who, however, indicated Prof Ncube was best placed to comment on the discussions said: “This (meeting) was more for the Treasury because we are talking about debt sustainability, which is a treasury issue and it’s not good for me to comment.
“From the central bank perspective, we are very happy with the model (debt investment and natural resource), which will achieve the auspices and aspirations of Vision 2030 for increased GDP of the country through PPPs and investing in infrastructure.
“The model provides for productive investment as opposed to consumptive investment.”
In the past five years, the Government has prioritised infrastructural development embarking on road rehabilitation, dam and housing construction.
Such projects include the Harare-Masvingo-Beitbridge highway, modernisation of the Beitbridge Border Post as well as the construction of the Gwayi-Shangani Dam in Matabeleland North Province and Kunzvi Dam in Mashonaland East Province, which would address the water woes in Harare.
Once complete, the Gwayi-Shangani Dam, which will supply water to the City of Bulawayo, is expected to propel sustainable economic growth and development through fostering projects such as irrigation, tourism and recreational facilities.
The water body is also touted as the panacea to Bulawayo’s perennial water woes in Zimbabwe’s second-largest city.
The Government has also placed emphasis on the completion of the ongoing works on major roads and the re-graveling of feeder roads.
The rehabilitation of the Harare-Masvingo-Beitbridge highway is nearing completion and upon completion of the project, work on the upgrade of the 342 kilometre Harare-Chirundu highway, the northern corridor would begin in earnest.
The Harare-Chirundu highway is the northern leg of the main north-south corridor and helps Zimbabwe to connect with Zambia, the Democratic Republic of Congo, and Tanzania.
Most of the highway needs a rebuild with the Karoi-Kariba stretch having bad patches characterised by potholes and eroding edges that make it difficult for motorists to manoeuvre.
Only the stretch from Chirundu up the escarpment is considered to be in good condition after the recent work partly financed by Japanese support.