Railways now Zimbabwe’s biggest headache in its infrastructure development plan


Our masterplan for Beitbridge went beyond its core function as a national border post.

We integrated many other goals in that masterplan, including meeting local needs, principally roads, housing, telecommunication and water reticulation systems. This is to ensure no one and no community is left behind. I was able to see model housing units designed for the burgeoning army of professionals employed in various sectors in this fast-growing town.

The masterplan, too, provided for an 11 million-litre storage tank, which makes Beitbridge water-secure. All the elements of a modern town are thus either already in place or in the process of being built. I have no doubt that before long, Beitbridge will become a major city.

Developments at Beitbridge Town were made possible through sheer innovative thinking and financial engineering. We did not wait for State resources only; instead, we leveraged Public-Private-Partnership, PPP, to ensure we harnessed and combined resources for speedy and maximum impact. ZimBorders were our preferred partners. The whole project was managed under a BOT, or build-operate-transfer arrangement.

The result is the ultra-modern facility I proudly launched last Wednesday, and which is set to transfer to the State at the expiry of the BOT agreement. We are also looking at developing a second bridge across the Limpopo to enhance movement and connectivity.

Already, Government is in advanced discussion with ZimBorders so that jointly, we expand our modernisation footprint by similarly developing Chirundu, Plumtree and Forbes Border posts. Our vision is of a seamless network which is free of bottlenecks. That means that infrastructures at all our ports of entry must be made to purpose, and to high international standards. It also means all major roads traversing our territory and linking all our border posts must be made to international standards. Already, the Beitbridge-Chirundu Highway is receiving urgent attention. The improvements are visible and already paying off. Zimbabwe’s status as the preferred gateway both for north- and south-bound traffic has been enhanced, thus hastening our vision as a regional transport hub.

I took advantage of the launch of Beitbridge Port to direct commencement of road works on the Beitbridge-Bulawayo-Victoria Falls Highway.

This highway will deliver on multiple objectives, not least that on tourism. With the capacity we have horned through the Beitbridge-Chirundu Highway, we should be able to execute the works in record time, and to specified engineering standards.

Dualisation of the Mutare Plumtree Highway continues apace so we resolve any and all bottlenecks that inhibit traffic flow. On that score, Forbes Border Post has been worrying me. It labours under multiple constraints, not least of which are space and land limitations at the border. Government has thus decided to relocate the Border Post further inland so vehicular movement is unimpeded for more efficient services. There is no rule that says border services must physically take place at the actual point of border entry.

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Charles Rukuni
The Insider is a political and business bulletin about Zimbabwe, edited by Charles Rukuni. Founded in 1990, it was a printed 12-page subscription only newsletter until 2003 when Zimbabwe's hyper-inflation made it impossible to continue printing.


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