ZIMBABWE and Mozambique are working towards the construction of the Sango-Maputo highway, which will facilitate connectivity between the two countries.
Transport and Infrastructure Development Minister Joel Matiza and Mozambican Minister of Foreign Affairs and Co-operation Veronica Nataniel Macamo Dhlovo held a virtual meeting last week to discuss infrastructure development.
The virtual meeting was facilitated by Minister of Foreign Affairs and International Trade Dr Sibusiso Moyo.
The road is expected to significantly facilitate connectivity between the two countries and enhance trade.
Minister Matiza said that the road is very vital in linking the two nations and also a very high value economic infrastructure that if completed will contribute immensely to the economic growth of both countries.
Zimbabwe, Minister Matiza said will carry the project through a Public Private Partnership (PPP) agreement.
Government, he said has already engaged the Development Bank of South Africa (DBSA) to finance the entire stretch.
“As Government we want to go on a PPP model, which we have discussed with our partners who are keen to work on the other side of the road in Mozambique.
“There has been a bit of delay on the side in terms of signing the agreement, which we have done this side. Now the funder DBSA, do not want to fund a lock-sided part of the road just in Zimbabwe only, but want to take the whole structure. It is a joy for the two countries to have this done.
“We have been trying frantically to see how we can assist the partners here and this culminated in this discussion,” said Minister Matiza.
Minister Matiza said since Zimbabwe has already signed the agreement, the financier is now waiting for Mozambique to sign an agreement.
“We would want to inform you that once that have been signed both countries can enjoy the fruits, but as it stands we had been informed that it’s a matter of signing an agreement not a Memorandum of Understanding.
“An MOU will not be acceptable. It’s critical that we have funders who are available, funders who are ready to fund this infrastructure. I think the only thing that we need to do is to agree and make sure that those projects sail through.
“Our plea is that obviously because of your elections and Covid-19 there was some delay. Now we need to think with in the process of technology and make sure probably we get on with the game, by both countries satisfying the requirements of the funders,” he said.
Minister Dhlovo said Mozambique has already started constructing the highway with more than 50km already covered.
She also expressed willingness for her country to use the PPP model to speed the construction of the road
Minister Dhlovo said they are constructing the 322km in Mapai from Maputo to Chicualacuala and they have already finished more than 50km.
“The PPP is very interesting to us. So we want the details of the PPP proposal so that we can consider it as well,” he said.
Responding to his Mozambican counterpart on the PPPs, Minister Matiza said, it is an agreed position.
“What we have to do is to make sure the PPP partner avails more information to the Ministry of Public Works in Mozambique.
“I will liaise with my officials and the permanent secretary to assist the PPP partners so that they contact the relevant ministries and the relevant officials in Mozambique. If they have interest, then we have somewhere to start and I will take it up,” he said.