The Bank recognises the role that the transport sector plays for economic growth in the country and the Bank’s focus in this sector is to facilitate construction and/or rehabilitation of roads, airports, rail, inland waterways and pipeline transport systems. The IDBZ remains acutely aware of the fact that the transport sector is one of the key enablers of economic growth and development. Adequate and viable transport infrastructure stock seamlessly links cities and towns, connecting people with economic opportunities and tourist attractions apart from connecting businesses with local and regional markets, thus facilitating regional integration and reducing the cost of doing business. In that regard, and in line with its mandate, the Bank is currently working with the Government of Zimbabwe to come up with a value for money financing model for the dualisation and tolling of one of the country’s major highways and regional trunk roads, Beitbridge–Harare–Chirundu Road. The Bank in conjunction with the Government of Zimbabwe is currently reviewing a draft contract of one of the EPC Contractor pursuant to the signing of the Framework Agreement. The Bank as the Lead Financial Advisor will assist in the identification of potential financiers for the project and the execution of the investment and financing structure in support of this transformational project which on completion will deliver enormous value to the region as well as allowing for improved traffic flow on the North-South Corridor.
In addition to a robust road network, a reliable rail network offers the much needed support to economic activities as it provides efficient transportation for bulk commodities (mining, industrial and agricultural produce) and offers a cheaper alternative to the commuting public. For this reason, the Bank considers the resuscitation of the National Railways of Zimbabwe (NRZ) as paramount to addressing the high cost of doing business and spurring economic development, as well as for promotion of regional integration. To this end, IDBZ, in liaison with both the Ministry of Transport and Infrastructural Development and NRZ, is working on the best strategies to recapitalise and revive the country’s rail sector. It is estimated that NRZ requires in excess of US$2 billion worth of investment for its rolling stock and to rehabilitate its entire network and extend the existing rail network so as to respond adequately to the transportation needs of its customers as well as provide a reliable link to regional and/or international transport routes. The Bank is currently working with the NRZ towards the mobilisation of at least US$635 million to kick-start the rolling stock and rail network rehabilitation investment programme as planned by the National Railways of Zimbabwe. The initial programme consists of rehabilitation of the existing railway line network, replacement and/or modernisation of signalling and communications equipment, acquisition of new rolling stock (locomotives, coaches and wagons) and refurbishment of old ones, as well as repairs of bridges, workshop equipment, buildings and other collateral and supporting infrastructure. The Bank will also continue facilitating the financing of quick turnaround projects such as the construction of weigh-bridges, acquisition of tarpaulins to cover commodities in transit and repair of wagon wheels to capacitate the NRZ to effectively facilitate movement of critical imported grain as the Government moves to avert the imminent hunger as a result of the 2015/16 drought season.
The Bank has been involved over the years in the maintenance and rehabilitation of the country’s airports. Its major role has been monitoring and implementation of aviation sector projects funded through the Government Public Sector Investment Programme (PISP). The Bank looks forward to continue with its agency role in future projects and also working with both the Civil Aviation Authority of Zimbabwe and the Ministry of Transport and Infrastructural Development in the identification of new investors to support the completion of rehabilitation of the Harare International Airport and construction of the control tower at the J.M. Nkomo International Airport in Bulawayo.
Through its mandate, the Bank will also mobilise for various projects in the transport sector to ensure that all transport nodes are upgraded and that they offer efficient transport services. To this end, the Bank is also involved in the review of the National Transport Master Plan, a draft of which was produced by the Canadian Pacific Consulting Services (CPCS) commissioned by Government. According to CPSC the Master Plan seeks to provide a short, medium and long term investment plan for sustainable development of transport infrastructure and services to support growth and wealth creation taking into account green and inclusive growth.