‘Let’s use our natural resources for development’

BY FARAI MATIASHE

MAKUTI — President Emmerson Mnangagwa has called on the nation to utilise local resources for development as his government continues re-engaging other countries for sanctions to be lifted.

Addressing a gathering at a ground-breaking ceremony of a US$21 million Makuti to Chirundu Road project funded by Japan in Marongora yesterday, Mnangagwa said sanctions were a barricade to the country’s development as the government could not borrow money because of the economic embargo.

“We have been under sanctions for 20 years. We have remained behind in terms of development and we cannot get lines of credit. We do not get that money. Our
infrastructure has remained behind in terms of modernisation and economic growth,” he said.

“As the new dispensation, we are engaging other countries, where we talk to those countries under the United Nations and in re-engagement, we talk to those few
countries that used to be our friends, but have ceased to be. Those countries had hard-headed leaders, but now they are gone. We are saying to them, ‘please,
come back’.”

Mnangagwa, who later left the country yesterday to attend the Tokyo International Conference on African Development in Japan today, said government was seeking
global support to aid local efforts to transform the economy.

“Let us look at our own resources. We have the agricultural sector. Let us develop it first ourselves. We have realised there are climate change challenges.
Some years it rains, while others, it does not. So, we have started an irrigation scheme programme. For us to then leap-frog the economy, we need global
support and co-operation,” he added.

He urged the Transport ministry to shun corruption and work to ensure that the project would be completed in time.

Through this project, climbing lanes will be constructed while the horizontal and vertical alignment is improved for a distance of 6,5km.

Speaking at the same event, Japanese ambassador to Zimbabwe, Toshiyuki Iwado said the improvement in the sharp bends in the area would contribute to smooth and
safe traffic.

“There is a high accident rate and in 2016, a total of 110 accidents were recorded along this stretch of the highway. The safer design of this section of road
means that the number of accidents is expected to decrease to under 20 cases,” he said, adding that his country was committed to supporting Zimbabwe and
transform it from a landlocked country to a land-linked country.

“Japan fully supports Zimbabwe’s efforts to become more land-linked since we believe that improving connectivity and making a country more land-linked promotes
the economic activities of the country and increases its economic potential,” he said.
The ambassador indicated that the project would lead to job creation as 250 people are expected to be employed.

The country would also benefit from knowledge exchange as Japanese experts will be working with the locals.

He said latest technology would be used in road construction to minimise environmental impacts.

Mashonaland West Provincial Affairs minister Mary Mliswa-Chikoka said the project would lead to economic growth of the province.

The road re-construction project, which is being implemented by the Department of Roads in the Transport ministry under supervision by Japanese highway
engineers, is expected to be completed in 2021.

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