Harare: The government is in a quandary over how to effectively deal with its deplorable road network amid revelations that about $2.5 billion is needed to rehabilitate it. Speaking in Bulawayo during a budget consultative meeting, Finance Minister Tendai Biti said the country’s road network was terrible and needed urgent attention. The minister said Zimbabwe ‘has become the pothole capital of the world’.
“Our road network covers 90 000 km, but only 17 percent of it is paved,” Biti said.
He added that it was regrettable that countries like Malawi now had better roads than Zimbabwe. “Malawi has a road network of about 15 000 km and about 40 percent of it has been paved,” he said, adding that it was more worrying was that of the country’s 17 percent paved roads, most of them were in a disastrous state.
“We need about $2,5 billion to deal with our major road networks,” said Biti.
The government lacks the capacity to re-develop the road network and Biti called on private partners to invest. The upcoming plans to expand the country’s busiest roads from the Plumtree and Beitbridge border posts will begin soon, according to the minister.
“Thankfully the government has found a private partner for the expansion of the Plumtree-Mutare road and we hope work will begin soon,” he said.
This month the Development Bank of South Africa (DBSA) singed a $206 million loan agreement with Zimbabwe for road infrastructural development.