Source: Zim to open up airspace | The Herald November 25, 2018
Zvamaida Murwira Senior Reporter
There is need to expeditiously revive Air Zimbabwe as part of Government’s ongoing efforts to overhaul the transport infrastructure sector and liberalise airspace in line with the decision made by the African Union and Comesa, President Mnangagwa has said.
In his weekly column in The Sunday Mail, President Mnangagwa said there was need to liberalise airspace as part of a greater objective to modernise transport sector and turn Zimbabwe into an economic hub.
“On air transport, Zimbabwe must speedily liberalise its airspace in line with decisions of the AU and Comesa,” he said.
“This could run concurrent with our efforts of reviving Air Zimbabwe. The Chinese loan targeting the Robert Mugabe International Airport will restore our competitiveness in the air transport business.
“Already, our investments at Victoria Falls Airport have borne fruit. I am happy that work on the Beitbridge-Chirundu Highway is finally beginning. We must build our own capacity to lay modern transport infrastructure. Above all, we must always bear in mind all these infrastructures are ‘economies’ for which returns must follow.”
President Mnangagwa said the AU launched the Single African Air Transport Market early this year in its quest for a modest share in air freightage.
“It remains to be seen what this decision will do to air transport business on the continent,” he said.
“Zimbabwe is not doing too well on this front. The impact of all this low connectivity of so-called landlocked developing countries on international trade and trade facilitation is direct.”
President Mnangagwa said more work needed to be done on the rail network which was slowing down traffic and causing derailments.
“Current rail speeds of 30-50km per hour cannot make us an efficient economy, let alone a preferred transport hub for the region,” he said.
“Equally, NRZ workshops must be re-equipped so we are able to service the moving parts of the whole network.”
President Mnangagwa said this was the fundamental question of harmonising transit policies in the region.
“This is both a legal and infrastructural issue,” he said.
“We must harmonise, simplify and standardise rules and documentation as goods move between our borders.
“The creation of one-stop border posts goes a long way in that regard. This is why Beitbridge is being revamped, and why we have reached an agreement with South Africa to work as one on this border post — the busiest on the African continent. We need similar arrangements with all our neighbours if we are to become a real regional hub.”