Golden Sibanda Senior Business Reporter
ZIMBABWE has $25 billion worth of infrastructure investment projects it wants to discuss with investors, including from China, a senior official with Zimbabwe Investment Authority said.ZIA chairman Nigel Chanakira told a visiting Chinese delegation from Gansu Province, that Zimbabwe is looking for investment into key infrastructure programmes, as espoused in the country’s medium term economic blueprint, Zim-Asset 2014 /18.
The delegation from China, led by the Asian economic giant’s economic management and planning agency, National Development and Reform Commission, comprised multi-billion dollar corporations from different facets of the Chinese economy.
NDRC signed agreements with Government, which will see it help Zimbabwe build economic production capacity and courting investors from China, especially into Special Economic Zones, where China has unrivalled success than the rest of the world.
“In terms of infrastructure, we have $25 billion worth of projects that we would be willing to enter into negotiations and these include energy, transport and water,” Mr. Chanakira said. Projects can be in the form of partnerships or joint ventures.
Mr Chanakira said the energy sector, for instance, presented further opportunities in solar energy systems for industrial use while investors could consider coal bed methane for power production, production of liquid fuels and industrial heat generation
Opportunities in transport include roads, bridges, rail lines and airports; energy projects entail mini hydros, gas, bio fuels and renewable energy; the agricultural sector presents opportunities in irrigation and dam construction while other infrastructure entail installation of urban water and sewer systems.
Numerous opportunities in infrastructure are also available in information communication, education and building of industrial parks, hotel and residential accommodation among others.
Government has already put in place legislation and framework for investment in infrastructure projects and different models of public private partnerships such as build own operate and transfer and build operate and transfer among others.
Five years ago, the African Development Bank said Zimbabwe’s infrastructure gap stood at over $14 billion. The deterioration in basic infrastructure has, in turn, had a serious impact on productive sectors of the economy and the level and quality of services.
The sustained deterioration in the quality of infrastructure assets in Zimbabwe stemmed from inadequate levels of public expenditures for routine and periodic maintenance of the assets, especially in power, water and sanitation, and transport.
In the parastatal dominated sectors such as power, rail transport, and fixed communications, cost of services have been kept low, as a result the economic costs of the deterioration have manifested in the form of large and, in some cases, unsustainable operating losses, the regional bank said.