SOUTH AFRICA-BASED Group Five chairperson Philisiwe Mthethwa says the next world economic growth phase will come from Africa and development of infrastructure among member states is the backbone of regional integration.
Report by Mernat Mafirakurewa
Mthethwa said the development of the Plumtree-Harare-Mutare (East-West corridor) Highway would link Zimbabwe with Botswana and Mozambique.
Group Five is an integrated construction services, materials and infrastructure investment group, formed nearly 40 years ago, operating in over 20 countries with more than 12 000 people in its employ.
Infrastructure development, Mthethwa said, facilitated trade between people and across borders. She said on the continent, the road network was the lifeline of development as most of the commercial activities heavily relied on road transport.
“Infrastructure is indeed the bedrock of economic development and the deepening of our regional integration,” said Mthethwa last week.
“Efficient, integrated and cost effective transport infrastructure is a pre-requisite for harnessing the opportunities in the domestic and global economies. As Africans, we cannot begin to talk about regional integration if our infrastructure in terms of roads, rail, and ports is not well developed.”
She said the world over it was widely believed that the next growth phase would come from the African region.
“It is my view that this growth has to be an employment generating and inclusive growth,” Mthethwa said.
In order to make the economic growth inclusive, Mthethwa said the company had set aside $120 000 for the benefit of schools along the highway.
The Zimbabwe Roads Rehabilitation Project Phase 1 is a 24-month project valued at $206 million.
The 822km highway is made up of two roads R2 — Harare to Plumtree border post and R5 — Harare to Forbes border post.
A total of 19 subcontractors are working on the project with 220 local suppliers of different materials and equipment having been enlisted for their services.
“We firmly believe that investment in human capital is the most critical and most sustainable pillar of good corporate citizenship. It provides long-term independence to beneficiaries as they are equipped with knowledge and skills to determine their own destinies,” she said.
Transport, Communication and Infrastructure Development minister Nicholas Goche said road infrastructure investment was one of the vital keys that would enable Zimbabwe to unlock economic potential of inaccessible places.
“A developed and well maintained road infrastructure leads to several social, macro and micro economic advantages. Key to Zimbabwe is that these roads promote national trade and efficient transit traffic flow between Zimbabwe, neighbouring countries and the ports,” Goche said.