Felex Share Senior Reporter
A HIGH-POWERED delegation comprising 40 experts from Chinese construction giant, CITIC Construction, started arriving in Harare yesterday to conduct feasibility studies on some major projects under mega deals sealed by President Mugabe during his 13th State visit to China last year.
The visit comes on the heels of Chinese State Counsellor Mr Yang Jiechi, who was in Zimbabwe last month to oversee the implementation of some of the mega deals.
CITIC Construction is a construction and engineering subsidiary of the CITIC Group, a Chinese state-owned conglomerate.
The key projects that will have feasibility studies undertaken with immediate effect, include the dualisation of the country’s major trunk roads namely Beitbridge-Harare, Harare-Chirundu, Harare-Mutare and Harare-Nyamapanda highways.
Other projects include the construction of the Harare ring road, establishment of a wide gauge railway line from Harare-Mutare-Beira, construction of Kunzvi Dam and a water pipeline to Harare.
The development of infrastructure and utilities is a critical pillar of Zim-Asset as structural and infrastructural bottlenecks such as erratic power supply, obsolete machinery and dilapidated infrastructure as well as lack of and high cost of capital, negatively affect value-addition and beneficiation as well as employment creation, and have been identified as contributors to the crisis in the manufacturing sector.
Finance and Economic Development Minister Patrick Chinamasa told The Herald yesterday that feasibility studies for the establishment of the new Harare City in Mt Hampden would also be undertaken.
He said the team of experts would arrive in batches of 10 and the first group landed yesterday.
“The Chinese authorities are sending 40 experts put together by CITIC Construction Company,” he said.
“They are coming to undertake feasibility studies into the agreed projects. The team is going to start arriving today (yesterday) with 10 experts expected, another 10 are expected tomorrow (today), while another 10 will be coming Tuesday and the final group on Wednesday.
“These are experts in different disciplines necessary for proper feasibility studies to be undertaken in the projects. This team of experts coming is a professional team. ”
Zimbabwe and China signed multi-billion-dollar deals in infrastructure development, energy and agriculture among other key economic enablers identified under Zim-Asset.
Minister Chinamasa said Government expected the preliminary feasibility studies by the end of June.
“We expected detailed feasibility studies by the end of the year,” he said.
“After the first preliminary feasibility studies, we will engage the Chinese authorities to work out a financing structure for the projects.”
He said CITIC Construction vice president Mr Liu Guigen, was expected in Zimbabwe on March 24 this year.
“We are going to cooperate with this team and they will be working with the Ministries of Finance, Environment, Water and Climate, Transport and Infrastructural Development and Local Government, Public Works and National Housing,” Minister Chinamasa said.
“The team will also engage with our Central Bank.”
Upon completion of the roads project, it is expected that Zimbabwe will become a major network and connection point for smooth trade in the region.
Energy deals have already taken off with construction already underway to expand Kariba South Power Station.
The $533 million project is expected to add 300 MW to the national grid while significant progress has been made on the expansion of two units at Hwange Thermal Power Station under a $1,1 billion project.
The two units will generate 600 MW.
Construction of the $2 billion Gwayi-Shangani Thermal Power Station is also in the pipeline and clearance works have been completed on the site where 600 MW are expected to be generated upon completion of the project.
Work at the site is expect to commence in July.
All the projects are scheduled to be complete by 2018.