There is probably no doubt that Zimbabwe, in the past half-decade or so, has witnessed a significant amount of construction activities taking place on its face.
Although there are arguments whether we are implementing the correct architectural designs, who should be undertaking these construction projects and how they are being funded for, there is no doubt that we desperately need new infrastructure.
In fact, the Government has made it clear that infrastructure development is one of its priorities with “Investment in Infrastructure” amongst the key pillars of the National Development Strategy (NDS1) which runs till 2025.
In 2022, construction activities were expected to grow by 10,5 percent, with that number reducing to 5,8 percent this year.
To get a sense of the quantum of infrastructural development that has been happening in Zimbabwe over the recent years, we looked at the increase in cement imports as shown by the accompanying graph. In the 2021 National Budget, 31 percent of the funds went toward infrastructure development as well.
Over 180 construction projects have been officially completed since 2018 with more still ongoing.
These projects span from dam construction, roads, boarder posts, and shopping malls amongst others. In this article, I will pick some of the projects that excite me the most following no particular order.
Of all the infrastructural development projects in the country, I will pick a few to talk about. These projects should have been completed recently or at least at their advanced stages expecting to be officially complete in 2023.
Parliament Building — Mount Hampden
Perhaps the pride of the Second Republic and the culmination of all the construction frenzy is aptly depicted by the state-of-the-art new Parliament building. The project which commenced in 2018 was done by a Chinese company, Shanghai Construction Group and officially opened in November 2022.
The US$140 million building sit on 12 acres of land in Mount Hampden, consisting of 6 floors and over 650 sitting capacity. It will house both the national assembly and the senate.
Highland Park Phase 1 — Harare
The recently opened shopping center with an estimated cost of US$20 million sits on a 2,4 hectares piece of land consisting of 27 retail shops including a Puma fuel station. An approximated 450 jobs were created during the construction phase of the project.
The ZSE listed Meikles Limited’s TM Pick n Pay is the anchor tenant occupying around 40 percent of the gross leasable area. Investment exposure to this property is now open to everyone after it was listed as the underlying asset of the ZSE listed Tigere Real Estate Investment Trust (REIT).
Border Post Modernisation — Beitbridge
If you had travelled by road to South Africa before 2018, you would agree with me that one of the busiest border posts in Southern Africa needed a revamp, if not a complete overhaul. Well, this is no longer the case.
Zimboarders Consortium, a private company through a Public Private Partnership (PPP) oversaw the seventeen and a half years Built Operate and Transfer take shape at an estimated cost of US$300 million.
The modernisation also meant upgrading the technological infrastructure on the port of entry, which is expected to increase the revenue collected as well. Support infrastructure including residential accommodation for workers is also being added in Beitbridge.
NBS Dzivarasekwa Housing Project — Harare
The 500 housing units project, which was commissioned late last year in the capital was done at an approximate cost of US$17million. The project consisted of various housing units spanning from one to four-roomed units sitting on an average of 200 square meters.
The project came at a time when Zimbabwe has a deficit of 1,3 million housing units, with the capital needing nothing short of half a million units. The National Building Society (NBS), who were the promoters of the project received some of the funding from NSSA.
IDBZ Selbourne Student Accommodation — Bulawayo
Although not officially functional yet, the three-locked student accommodation facility is now at advanced stages with official opening expected any time from now.
With more than 500 keys, the complex is expected to provide accommodation for over a thousand students not just from the National University of Science and Technology (NUST), but all tertiary institutions in Bulawayo.
The complex which will also contain shopping facilities has an estimated cost of US$14, 8 million, was co-funded by pension funds and insurance companies.
Robert Gabriel Mugabe International Airport expansion — Harare
Just like the modernatisation of the Beitbridge border post, something similar is expected at the R.G Mugabe International Airport. A US$153 million project funded by a Chinese bank is expected to smoothen the traveling experience of passengers whilst being able to handle more than double the current annual passengers.
With a target of completion by June 2023, the airport aims to open simultaneously both the departure and arrivals sections. New advanced technology is also expected to be installed as the port expects more international flights.
The truth of the matter is that, in as much as we are progressing well in upgrading our infrastructure, we still have a long way to meet world standards.
The Government alone can not shoulder the burden but must continue to ensure that the environment is attractive for private players who want to throw their hats in the ring.