Analysts say Zimbabwe should expedite processes to establish funding models that will cushion its requirements for infrastructural development currently reflecting a yawning deficit that needs close to $26 billion over the next decade.

There is no doubt that infrastructure development holds the key for a robust economic growth. 

Construction Industry Federation of Zimbabwe (CiFOZ) Women in Construction Chairperson, Mrs Verity Bosha said the urgency for rapid infrastructural growth is fast dawning on Zimbabwe given its outlined vision to develop into a middle income economy within the next 12 years.

Mrs Bosha added that a dwindling tax base has seen a severe reduction in government expenditure translating to reduced power to fund the country’s infrastructure development.

The African Development Bank has estimated that Zimbabwe requires at least $26 billion to become competitive and attract investment, but the current fiscal constraints have seen just over $1 billion allocated towards infrastructural development.

“While other African countries get annual allocations averaging between five and seven percent of the gross domestic product (GDP) for infrastructural development, Zimbabwe is getting between 1 to 2 percent of the GDP against a requirement of at least 5 percent to be competitive. This has created an infrastructural deficit requiring both internal and external participation,” Zimbuild CEO, Mr Tinashe Manzungu said. 

For the analysts, perhaps the greatest need is for the relevant authorities to come up with incentives that attract investments in infrastructure. 

“Rwanda has done it by coming up with a number of reforms implemented this year that ensured that construction projects are prioritised, while investors don’t wait longer to get construction permits,” said Mr Manzungu.

Industry leaders have proposed coming up with master plans that cover a lifespan of two or more decades, but said this should be accompanied by a special focus on challenges that affect investment in infrastructure.

A construction bill that has stalled for over a decade, while service costs in state enterprise dominated sectors such as power, rail transport, and fixed line communications,  have been kept low, leading to a deterioration of existing infrastructure.