Private sector urged to invest in infrastructure

The private sector should double its spending on infrastructure to overcome an investment gap given the government’s decreasing ability to directly finance infrastructure, an official has said.

BY MTHANDAZO NYONI

Giving her welcome remarks at the Urban Infrastructure Investment Summit held in Bulawayo on Monday, Zimbabwe International trade Fair (ZITF) Company board chairperson, Ruth Ncube said infrastructure investment should be prioritised.

“A new radical infrastructure transformation agenda has been eluding us, and for far too long, we became content in, what some would say, normalising the abnormality, developed this false sense of contentment with our decayed infrastructure.

“That truly would need re-tooling, re-kitting, retrofitting, revamping and complete overhauling so that we become competitive and at par with other economies,” she said.
With a world population slightly over 7,6 billion, Ncube said a staggering $90 trillion was needed to finance infrastructure investments across the world over a period of 15 years from the time the Paris Agreement was consummated in November 2015 up to 2030.

“Clearly, the Paris Agreement is for both governments and us, as the private sector, to provide leadership in the sustainable transformation agenda by coming up with intended nationally determined contributions including infrastructure development through investments by way of solid planning and development processes.

“Given many governments’ decreasing ability to directly finance infrastructure, the estimates I have alluded to imply that private spending on infrastructure would need to at least double to overcome infrastructure investment gap.

“What this means is that there are great opportunities for those with funds to look at opportunities here in Africa, particularly in Zimbabwe for investment.”

Ncube said Zimbabwe needed about $14,2 billion at 2009 prices, including $4,6 billion of private investment in the upgrade of existing infrastructure and new capacity.

“So what an opportunity you have. Opportunities beckon in this country,” she said.

Ncube said roads (account for 88 100 km of classified roads, of which 17 400 km are paved), rail and aviation infrastructure collectively require an investment of about $5,6 billion.

Power development requires slightly over $2 billion, while the telecommunications sector requires about $200 million in upgrades and another $200 million in ICT.