President Emmerson Mnangagwa says the completion of the Robert Mugabe International Airport rehabilitation project will improve trade relations through air connectivity as government endeavours to fully industrialise and modernise the country.

Officiating at the ground breaking ceremony of the Robert Gabriel Mugabe International Airport development project, President Mnangagwa expressed profound gratitude to the President of China Xi Jinping for unveiling funds towards several developmental projects in Zimbabwe.

Some of the projects that the Chinese government has sponsored include the construction of Kunzvi dam and the Batoka Hydro Project, Kariba South Hydro Power Expansion Project and Hwange Thermal Power Station Expansion Project.

“We are forever grateful to China for their support in our quest to leapfrog our economic development. The expansion of this airport will improve the movement of goods and services,” he said.

President Mnangagwa also said the project will create employment among youths and women upon completion.

He urged players in the aviation industry to positively respond to this development and ensure vibrancy in the domestic airline industry in the country.

“We expect a robust increase in airlines so that travellers will have a broader choice and there will be improved efficiency and competition,” he said. 

The President challenged the aviation industry to create collaborations with institutions of higher learning to enhance skills and relevant modern technologies to complement regional and international developments.

Upon completion the airport will have a runway of 4 725 metres which makes it one of the longest in the world.

On the issue of elections due in seven days time, President Mnangagwa said the citizens must maintain the peace currently prevailing and welcome observers who are in the country and those still to come and show them that Zimbabweans are politically mature.