Zimbabwe’s Road to Recovery: How a Highway Project Boosts Regional Trade

A major road project in Zimbabwe aims to connect the country with its neighbors and improve its economy

by Victor Adetimilehin

Zimbabwe is on the road to recovery, literally. The country is undertaking a massive road project that will link it with its southern and northern neighbors, boosting regional trade and economic growth.

The project, known as the Beitbridge-Harare-Chirundu highway, involves the reconstruction and dualization of a 971-kilometer stretch of road that runs from Beitbridge, on the border with South Africa, to Chirundu, on the border with Zambia. The road is part of the North-South Corridor, a key transport route that connects the landlocked countries of Southern Africa with the ports of Durban and Richards Bay in South Africa.

Why the road project matters

The Beitbridge-Harare-Chirundu highway is the busiest and most important road in Zimbabwe, carrying about 70% of the country’s transit traffic and 40% of its domestic traffic. It is also a vital link for the regional integration and development of the Southern African Development Community (SADC), a bloc of 16 countries with a population of over 300 million.

According to the World Bank, the road project will have significant benefits for Zimbabwe and the region, such as:

  • Reducing travel time and costs for road users, especially truck drivers who often face long delays at border posts and roadblocks.
  • Improving road safety and reducing accidents and fatalities, which are among the highest in the world.
  • Enhancing trade facilitation and competitiveness, by easing the movement of goods and services across borders and reducing transport costs for exporters and importers.
  • Stimulating economic activity and job creation, by increasing access to markets, services, and opportunities for local communities and businesses along the corridor.
  • Supporting environmental sustainability and resilience, by reducing greenhouse gas emissions and improving drainage and flood protection.

How the road project is progressing

The road project is divided into three sections: Beitbridge-Harare, Harare-Chirundu, and Harare Ring Road. The project is being implemented by five local contractors, namely Bitumen World, Fossil Contractors, Exodus Company, Masimba Construction, and Tensor Systems.

The project began in 2016 and will reach completion by 2026, with a total cost of $2.7 billion. Additionally, the Zimbabwean government is financing it, with support from the World Bank and other development partners.

So far, the project has achieved significant milestones, such as:

  • Completing over 300 kilometers of the Beitbridge-Harare section, which is now open to traffic.
  • Starting the construction of the Harare-Chirundu section, which will cover 342 kilometers and include six toll plazas.
  • Setting up an asphalt plant in Makuti, which produces 140 tons of asphalt per hour and reduces the reliance on imported materials.
  • Creating over 2,000 direct and indirect jobs, mostly for local workers and suppliers.

What the road project means for the future

The Beitbridge-Harare-Chirundu highway project is more than just a road. It is a symbol of Zimbabwe’s determination to overcome its challenges and achieve its vision of becoming an upper-middle-income country by 2030.

The project also demonstrates the country’s commitment to regional cooperation and integration, which are essential for the peace and prosperity of Africa. By improving the connectivity and mobility of people and goods, the project will foster greater trade, investment, and tourism among the SADC countries and beyond.

The project is a testament to the power of partnership and collaboration, as it brings together the public and private sectors, the national and local governments, and the domestic and international stakeholders. The project is also an example of how the World Bank and other development partners can support Zimbabwe’s development agenda and help it realize its full potential.

The Beitbridge-Harare-Chirundu highway project is a road to recovery, not only for Zimbabwe but for the whole region. It is a road to a brighter and better future for millions of people.

Source: New Zimbabwe


You may also like

white logo with motto

The Zimbabwe Advocate is more than just a news outlet. We are a movement, a symbol of resistance against misinformation.

Latest News

© 2024 The Zimbabwe Advocate. All Rights Reserved.