By Chiratidzo Malinganisa- Deputy Editor
ZIMBABWE lost over two decades of development due to
illegal sanctions and a generally unfavourable investment
The period from year 2000 to November 2017 was
particularly difficult for Zimbabweans as they had
to contend with economic challenges and decaying
The national road network, water and electricity generation,
went down the drain. To this day, the country is still feeling the impact of the
historical challenges associated with failure to attend to
But come the Second Republic, a new work ethic was
ushered in immediately.
President Emmerson Mnangagwa, who is also the
ruling ZANU PF’s President and First Secretary, has
declared that ‘it’s now business unusual’. And true to his
pronouncement, ministers are kept on their toes as the
President has set targets for them and demands to see
tangible results that impact on the peoples’ lives.
A number of successes have been registered in various
sectors of the economy.
Power is seen as a key enabler across the globe.
The erratic supply of electricity in Zimbabwe which has
resulted in massive load shedding has impacted on
productivity in the manufacturing, mining and agricultural
But a deliberate focus on investing in the power generation
sector by President Mnangagwa has seen a number of
projects taking off across the country.
The mammoth project which will generate an additional
600MW when completed in 2022 is the Hwange Thermal
Power Expansion project.
The expansion project is being funded to the tune of US$1,5
billion by the China EximBank. It entails the construction of
Units 7 and 8, both with capacity to generate 300MW.
The expansion work at Hwange Thermal Power Station
started on August 1 last year and now stands at 25
percent, barely 14 months into the project.
Highly rated Chinese firm, Sino Hydro, is undertaking the
project.The Zimbabwe Power Company (ZPC), which is
ZESA Holdings’ power generating unit, recently said most
excavation work had been completed, including for the
cooling tower, the boiler house and the chimney.
“We have completed all the excavations up to foundation
level for Hwange 7 and 8,” the ZPC said. “As of this month
of November, we have done 14 months into our schedule.
“Our current progress is around 25 percent and we are on
target in terms of what we had planned to achieve up to
month 14, we are currently on schedule.”
The whole project will take up to 42 months to complete,
but unit 7 is expected to start firing by April 2021 while unit
8 would follow later on.
Hwange Power Station is Zimbabwe’s largest coal-fired
power generator with an installed capacity of 920MW.
However, due to lack of period refurbishment, the plant’s
current dependable capacity is around 600MW. The
Hwange expansion project had stalled for over a decade
as Beijing tightened its purse strings, unsure if the previous
regime would repay the loan.
But when President Mnangagwa assumed leadership
of the country, the Chinese immediately acceded to his
request for funding to boost power generation.
The project has the capacity to employ 3 000 people
directly and a further 4 000 people indirectly.
Another key energy project is the Kariba Hydro Power
Station, which was commissioned by the President in
March 2018 after an expansion exercise that saw the
addition of 300MW, which took the plant’ installed capacity
to 1 050MW.
However, declining water levels have seen power
generation declining to less that 300MW on average. But
beyond Government electricity projects, the Zimbabwe
Energy Regulatory Authority (ZERA) has also licenced
about 51 independent power producers (IPPs) in the last
The IPPs are into solar and hydro electricity generation.
Some of the operating IPPs are Duru Mini Hydro (2,20MW),
Green Fuel (18,30MW), Nyamingura Mini Hydro (1,10MW),
Hippo Vally Estates (33MW), Triangle Estates (45MW) and
Pungwe Power Station (19MW).
And,the announcement by President Mnangagwa that
‘Zimbabwe is Open for Business’, has seen a flurry of
activity in the solar sector. From January to September
this year, ZERA said it had licensed 39 solar IPPs, which
have capacity to generate up to 1 151,87MW.
The latest drive does not only ensure availability of energy,
but also clean energy, especially as a number of energy
funders are no longer keen to sign the cheque book for
thermal projects on account of environmental impact.
Some of the solar projects include Harava Solar and
Centragrid, which have capacity to generate 20MW in their
first phase, and Matshela Energy (100MW).
Centragrid started feeding 2,5MW into the national grid in
July from their Nyabira plant, about 38km north-west of
RGM International Airport expansion
President Mnangagwa unlocked the US$153 million
required to undertake the Robert Gabriel Mugabe
International Airport expansion project.
The ground-breaking ceremony was presided over by the
President on July 23 last year and works are already in full
swing, with 10 percent of the work covered so far.
Contractor Jiangsu International of China, is undertaking
the expansion project. Government wants the airport to be
modernised so that it meets global standards.
The expansion targets the international terminal
building and aprons, installation of four new air bridges,
construction of a VVIP pavilion, an airfield ground lighting
system and communication systems, and supply of some
service equipment which include ambulances, universal
towing vehicles, airside buses and fire-fighting vehicles.
Airport manager Margaret Samkange told the Portfolio
Committee on Transport recently after a tour by
Parliamentarians that: “We are very happy with the new
developments and the contractor is putting in a lot of
effort, and the contractor works at night to avoid disrupting
Political and economic reforms
The Second Republic naturally had the difficult task of
re-balancing the economy and instituting far-reaching
political reforms to demonstrate to the world that it was
departing from the previous administration.
Reforms were to cut across media and political reforms.
The Maintenance of Peace and Order Act (MOPA), which
replaces POSA – which was seen as repressive – is now
Three pieces of legislation to replace the Access to
Information and Protection of Privacy Act (AIPPA), which
was also seen as an affront to media freedom, have made
strong progress in Parliament.
The Complaints Mechanism Bills has been drafted, while
the Zimbabwe Investment and Development Agency
(ZIDA) Bill is in the final stage of Parliamentary approval
processes, and is set to become law in the near future.
A key piece of the reforms puzzle, the Zimbabwe
Investment and Development Agency (ZIDA) Bill, was
gazetted in April 2019.
It will among other things, seek to curb the plundering of
the environment by big investors, while also addressing
the ease of doing business to attract more foreign direct
The ZIDA Bill also seeks to establish the management
and finances of the new ZIDA and its one-stop investment
services centre, which will guarantee that investors are
attended to speedily, and not shunted from one corner to
Foreign Affairs and International Trade Minister Dr Sibusiso
Moyo, told diplomats accredited to Zimbabwe during a
cocktail on December 4 2019 that ‘steady progress’ has
been recorded in the reform process.
“Hand in hand with the economic reform measures
introduced and the painful structural adjustment those
measures have brought about, has been the parallel
process of political and legislative reform,” said Minister
“Slower than we had promised and slower than we had
hoped for, these reforms are nevertheless progressing
World Bank, IMF re-engagement
Harare is pressing ahead with the re-engagement of
international financial institutions.
Finance and Economic Development Minister, Professor
Mthuli Ncube has engaged key financiers such as the
World Bank and the International Monetary Fund (IMF) in
a bid to stabilise relations.
A report on the implementation of the Second 100-Day
Cycle released recently shows that Government embarked
on the engagements to try and strike agreements on the
clearance of US$1,8 billion debt and arrears.
The international financial institutions were largely
impressed by the ongoing economic reform trajectory
being implemented under the Transitional Stabilisation
The TSP is a short-term economic blueprint that runs
from October 2018 to December 2020.
Roundtable meetings with the IMF and the World Bank,
alongside the IMF Spring Meetings have since been held
“to facilitate the unlocking of new funding and clearance of
debts and arrears.”
“Pursuant to the re-engagement thrust, bilateral meetings
were held with the African Development Bank (AfDB),
UK, EU, US State Department, Sweden, Germany and the
Department for International Development (DFID) wherein
Zimbabwe was commended for progress achieved in its
economic reform trajectory.
“An agreement was reached with IMF on the Staff
Monitored Programme,” reads the Second 100-Day Cycle
During the roundtable meetings, an agreement was
reached with the IMF on Staff Monitored Programme
At the end of May, the IMF approved a one-year SMP for
Zimbabwe aimed at supporting Government’s reform
The IMF conceded that Government was keen to,
“addressing the macroeconomic imbalances, removing
structural distortions to facilitate a resumption in growth,
and to re-engaging with the international community
including by clearing its external arrears.”
Roads projects update report
President Mnangagwa has declared that Zimbabwe’s
infrastructure needs transformation. He has tried to attend
to all aspects of infrastructure deficiencies.
While talk has largely centred on the Beitbridge-HarareChirundu
Highway,which is naturally a humongous project with innumerable
benefits, many others have been attended to.
Refreshingly, work on the 964km Beitbridge-HarareChirundu
Highway has started in earnest.
Five companies have been enlisted and three are already
on the ground working on separate stretches of the
highway. Barring unforeseen circumstances, the project
should be completed in 2023.
The tender for the dualisation of the Beitbridge-BulawayoVictoria
Falls highway has been awarded to a South African
firm, Khato Civils and South Zambezi.
Transport and Infrastructural Development Minister, Joel
Biggie Matiza said: “We are moving with speed to dualise
our major highways that will give us quick returns.”
The President has already officially opened the US$20
million rehabilitated Ngundu-Tanganda highway in a
move set to spur economic activity.
The road was badly damaged due to years of neglect.
It links Manicaland and Masvingo provinces via Chiredzi,
and also links the Eastern Highlands to South Africa,
which is Zimbabwe’s biggest trading partner. Said
President Mnangagwa while officially opening the
highway: “I remember when the new administration took
over, we were told by then Minister of State for Manicaland
Provincial Affairs Monica Mutsvangwa that a number of
accidents were occurring here.
“We were told a section of the highway had become a
“We ordered that the area be rehabilitated.
“It was rehabilitated under Phase One.
“After the rehabilitation of that phase, we continued to
record accidents along this highway.”
Government has also deployed US$10 million for the
tarring of the 300km Karoi-Binga Road. The entire project
requires US$300 million.The Mt Darwin-Mukumbura
Highway has also been revamped, with 16km being tarred
and 36km remaining to get to Mukumbura Border.
The development will enhance trade between Zimbabwe
and Mozambique. Government is self-funding most roads
projects to minimise on burdening future generations with
huge sums of debt.
The construction of a 60 metre-long new bridge on Ruya
River, which is now 95 percent complete, is also expected
to improve access to Karanda Mission Hospital, situated in
rural Mt Darwin District. It is expected to be commissioned
by Christmas Day.
Affordable, top-notch urban transport
The biggest threat to most employees’ earnings was the
persistent rise in commuter fares, not to mention long
But one moment of genius by President Mnangagwa and
his administration, saw the re-introduction of ZUPCO
buses, first in urban areas.
Now these buses are now plying long-distance routes,
offering affordable fares to citizens. Already, there are
about 516 conventional buses and 410 kombis, all ferrying
people for $2 in urban centres, compared to up to $10
charged by private operators.
More buses are expected, and at peak, will reach 3 000
buses. In the short-term, the ZUPCO fleet is set to be
made up of 1 000, and with proper management, which
Government seeks to usher in through the Public Entities
Corporate Governance Act, the fleet will grow. The ZUPCO
buses have become popular and more buses are expected
from China, South Africa and Belarus.
In the 2020 national Budget, the mass public transport
system was allocated $540 million as a subsidy.
Support for women, youths
Women and youths have been marginalised for a long
time. But the Second Republic has seen value in supporting
these key groups of people.
Prof Ncube reassured them in the 2020 National Budget
that Government will continue to play its role in capitalising
various institutions that support women, youth and
medium and small scale enterprises (MSMEs).
He said Government will facilitate access to markets,
workspace, trade promotion and capacity building, among
other critical support.
“In 2020, the Budget provides for capitalisation of the
following institutions, which support various MSMEs
projects: Women Development Fund, $20 million;
Community Development Fund, $15 million; Zimbabwe
Women Microfinance Bank, $100 million; SMEDCO, $90
million; and Empowerbank, $50 million,” said Prof Ncube.
There will be specific allocations in support of projects and
programmes aimed at empowering women, including the
completion of refurbishment of training centres – Jamaica
Inn and Rodger Howman, and the construction of safe