Lovemore Chikova in BEIJING, China
Government and Sino-Hydro of China yesterday signed a $600 million agreement for the construction of Kunzvi-Musami Dam, while NetOne clinched a deal with Huawei Technologies Co Ltd for it to overhaul its systems.
Secretary for Water and Climate Mr Prince Mupazviriho signed the agreement with Sino-Hydro.
The NetOne deal, which sources said was worth hundreds of thousands of dollars, was signed by acting chief executive officer Mr Brian Mutandiro.
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The deals were signed at a seminar on China-Africa Business Cooperation attended by over 400 representatives of business from China and Africa.
Speaking after signing the deal with Sino-Hydro officials, Mr Mupazviriho said construction of the long-awaited Kunzvi-Musami Dam should begin early next year.
“This investment agreement includes construction of the pipeline from the dam to where we are going to build the water treatment plant,” he said.
“We see it as a major milestone towards addressing the shortage of water in the Greater Harare area. I hope that by the 1st of April 2017 we should be doing the construction.”
Greater Harare covers Ruwa, Epworth, Chitungwiza, Norton and the new city in Mt Hampden, which feed on water supplied by Harare.
“In the absence of devastating climate change effects, the dam will also go a long way in terms of harnessing water for future use,” said Mr Mupazviriho.
“This is the first phase of the project and its worth around $600 million.”
The Kunzvi-Musami Dam project, 67 kilometres north-east of Harare on Nyaguwi River, was mooted more than 30 years ago, but lack of funds forestalled construction.
For his part, Mr Mutandiro said the NetOne deal should result in firm adapting new technologies and construction of more than 3 000 network base stations.
He said the deal would be the third phase of the firm’s mobile broadband network expansion.
“It will take NetOne to another level to make us the biggest network provider with 100 percent national coverage,” said Mr Mutandiro.
“It will come with the current technology of 4.5G. Some are already migrating from 4G to 4.5G and it will keep NetOne current and relevant and will make us very pivotal in transforming the country through ICT with all these ICT platforms, and we are very excited.”
Mr Mutandiro said the Ministry of Finance and Economic Development would now start working on guarantees and the necessary paperwork.
“Right now, we do not want to talk about the finances, but it’s a mega project and obviously we want the Ministry of Finance to do the extra processes,” he said.
“This is monumental and it’s one of five projects selected throughout the whole of Africa. Usually, these are huge projects and they will have a gestation period of about 18 months.”
Mr Mutandiro said they would work with authorities like the Harare City Council to create smart cities in their management by applying new technologies.
Coordinators of projects being undertaken by the Chinese government from almost all African countries will also meet today to review progress on such deals.
Zimbabwe will be represented by Macro Economic Planning and Investments Promotion Minister Obert Mpofu.
Minister Mpofu, together with representatives of other African governments, was yesterday introduced to Chinese Vice President Mr Li Yuanchao.