By Fanuel Kangondo
5 July 2011

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The Infrastructure Development Bank of Zimbabwe has invested over US$100 million in housing, energy and transport sector projects being undertaken in conjunction with local authorities, its chairman said last week.

Mr Willard Manungo said this was in response to the Government’s challenges in infrastructure development, with the advent of cash budgeting introduced at the onset of the multi-currency regime.

The Government decided to actively involve partners such as local authorities to ensure that the IDBZ could adequately and speedily deliver on the selected projects.

“As a bank, we recognised that the resources we have are inadequate, but providing money is only part of the development process and there is need for dedication and commitment across all sectors,” he said.

“That is why we have engaged our co-operating partners in all the projects.”

Among notable projects being financed by the IDBZ are power generation at Kariba South, Hwange and smaller thermal power stations in Harare, Bulawayo and Munyati.

Mr Manungo, the Secretary for Finance, said IDBZ had partnered the Development Bank of Southern Africa in a capacity-building initiative to enable the bank to effectively intervene in local projects.

“Each project on presentation goes through a rigorous project approval process and that capacity was lacking in the country,” he said.

“When we discussed with DBSA, they agreed to come on board and the funding was secured and we are constructively working with them at the moment.

“We gave priority to energy and transport projects.”

Mr Manungo said Zimbabwe needed about US$40 billion for infrastructure development and the Government “could not go it alone”.

In the last budget, the capital expenditure was less than US$500 million.

Zimbabwe had problems courting multilateral institutions to fund the projects, but Mr Manungo said he was convinced the funds could be sourced once bankable projects were placed on the table.

IDBZ has been actively involved in eight housing projects, including the construction of flats in Prospect and Willowvale in Harare.

Other housing projects are underway in Dzivarasekwa, Sunway City, Borrowdale, Mutare’s Chikanga high-density suburb, Marondera, Kwekwe and Bulawayo.

Harare is also benefiting from a road resurfacing programme in the central business district that began last month.

Rehabilitation of the railway network under the National Railways of Zimbabwe is also underway, to improve the capacity of the NRZ to move cargo of eight million tonnes from the current five million tonnes a year.

Another major project was the construction and rehabilitation of Harare and Bulawayo airports.

Mr Manungo said the bank was also financing the national backbone of the fibre optic project with US$6,4 million, in association with fixed telephone service provider TelOne.

So far 150km has been covered and the project was nearing completion.

Four halls of residence at State universities in Bindura, the Midlands, Masvingo and Lupane would also be built at a cost of US$30 million.

Water projects including the Bubi-Lupane conveyancing works were also underway, he said.

Government provided US$21 million for the long awaited Tokwe Mukorsi Dam. The IDBZ moved in to provide the oversight for the implementation of the project, Mr Manungo said.

IDBZ was also involved in Bulawayo’s Mtshabezi Dam and the Wenimbi water pipeline project in Marondera.

Mr Manungo said the development of infrastructure was critical for the success of the entire region.

“We will continue liaising with our regional co-operating partners to increase the level of resources at our disposal,” he said.