Zimbabwe: Infrastructure Development to Drive Trade - - Analysts

Senior Reporter

RAPID infrastructure development across the country will not only consolidate the country's position as a continental trade hub but will also boost trade between Zimbabwe and the rest of the world, analysts said.

This comes after President Mnangagwa on Wednesday commissioned the completed phase of the Marongora-Hellsgate section of the Makuti-Chirundu road which is part of projects to improve the North-South corridor.

Coupled with ongoing projects along the Beitbridge-Harare Highway, Government has set its sights on upgrading the Kazungula-Victoria Falls Highway. Apart from that, the Second Republic is also carrying out infrastructural development projects across the country to ensure that no one is left behind.

President Mnangagwa is on record saying that the country is on course to meet its Vision 2030 to become an upper-middle-class economy, putting economic growth this year at a plus 7 percent with infrastructure key to achieving those goals.

With a solid foundation being laid, economists said it is only a matter of time before the country becomes a regional powerhouse as it is well placed to be the heartbeat of trade and commerce in the region and beyond.

A renowned researcher and economist, Mr Alex Munyonga, said the commissioning of part of the Makuti-Chirundu road is coming at a time when remarkable progress is taking place along the Beitbridge-Harare Highway.

"It is interesting to note that, whereas some Western countries are shunning serious engagement and re-engagement with Zimbabwe, some countries like Japan and China are seizing every opportunity in laying economic foundations and investments in Zimbabwe. Those nations that are bragging and shunning calls for symmetrical relations are losing out. The time they will peep into investment opportunities in Zimbabwe, strategic positions would be already occupied.

"If the seriousness of the Second Republic in infrastructural development, engagement efforts, and stabilisation of prices is anything to go by then Zimbabwe's economic recovery path is very illuminating.

"Very soon, economic sceptics will be silenced. However, it needs to be reiterated that it is everyone's responsibility to support noble national programmes. What is, is , what is not is not. It is impossible for what is not to be or what is not to be. Let praise be given to the infrastructural initiatives by the Second Republic. Let's hail what is good and shun economic sabotage," he said.

Zimbabwean economic recovery, he said can best be analogised to a ritual dance in which both the drummer and the dancers should synchronise their energies towards a rhythm of success.

"Together, we will revive our economy and enjoy the fruits of an upper middle economy soon. Several individuals and organisations critical of the Second Republic leadership often give a blind eye to economic developments registered in Zimbabwe today."

Another economic analyst, Mr Persistent Gwanyanya said the progress in infrastructure development across the country will transform the country.

"We are very happy with the progress and in that it also happens at a time when the issue about the Africa Continental Free Trade Area is taking centre stage in the trade space. So that linkage, the highway is going to boost trade between Zimbabwe and the rest of the region and world over."

Zimbabwe, he said can easily take advantage of the Beitbridge-Chirundu road which is important in that it links with the rest of the world.

"What is also important to obverse is the model that is being used in the construction of roads and infrastructure where local contractors are being used. It is quite commendable that we have devoted efforts to finalising the construction of that highway.

"The use of local contractors is important in that they are mostly paid in Zimbabwean dollars and they are employing our local people," said Mr Gwanyanya.

Mr Collin Mharadzano who is also an analyst weighed in saying much to the chagrin of doomsayers and prophets of doom, the Second Republic under the shrewd leadership of President Mnangagwa continues to score high on the diplomatic front.

The Japanese-sponsored road project he said is yet another milestone demonstrating the New Dispensation's adherence to the engagement and re-engagement policy.

"The fruits of this astute policy are ubiquitous. Any would-be serious investor in Africa has no option but to consider Zimbabwe as a viable destination given the prevailing stability, peace and tranquillity which is the envy of even the country's detractors."

The centrality of Zimbabwe, Mr Mharadzano said has always ushered the comparative advantage which the country has over its peers.

"It's certainly unlocking value to the nation now and in the future. With this international goodwill being exhibited, Zimbabwe's potential will now be unlocked."

Another economic analyst, Mr Farai Ngondo, commended the infrastructure development spearheaded by President Mnangagwa to make Zimbabwe a jewel of Africa.

"Zimbabwe has always strived to tap into the economic lines enjoyed by countries that boarder the oceans.

"She, however, links Cape and Cairo which are critical trunk roads as far as African economies are concerned, therefore, the road network remains a critical component. This will do away with our position of being a land-locked country. Besides, this strategy will auger well with the aims and objectives of COMESA. Thus creating a free trade area."

Another political commentator, Mr Rutendo Matinyarare, commended President Mnangagwa for initiating road rehabilitation projects across the country.

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