Zimbabwe-China relations continue to grow, as evidenced by the unveiling of a multi-billion dollar road and rail infrastructure programme in the capital yesterday.
The government of Zimbabwe has partnered the China International Fund Consortium to construct, upgrade and maintain the country’s road and railway networks.
Speaking after meeting the Head of State ad Government and Commander-in-Chief of the Zimbabwe Defence Forces, President Robert Mugabe at State House, the President of the China Railways Corporation, Mr Zhao Guangfa said the implementation committee that was constituted following the signing of the MOU has successfully submitted its project proposal for funding.
“Under this programme, we hope following consultations and agreements by the Government of Zimbabwe and relevant stakeholders to build a modern railway line linking Harare and Bulawayo where a high-speed train will ply the route,” he added.
This will see commuters from Bulawayo to Harare take one and a half hours to travel between the two cities.
He however said this will involve the construction of a wide gauge railway line, a project that will be completed in less than three years.
Mr Zhao also said the China International Fund Consortium will upgrade the Beitbridge-Harare and the Harare-Chirundu highways. This, he said, will take less than a year.
Mr Zhao added that the National Railways of Zimbabwe will soon acquire rolling stocks and signals, while the consortium will undertake the rehabilitation of the country’s rail network as part of the agreement.
Meanwhile, 27 locomotives purchased in China by the Consortium are expected in the country around mid-next month.
The government of Zimbabwe was represented in signing the MOU by the Minister of Transport, Communications and Infrastructure Development, Cde Nicolas Goche.
A number of memoranda of understanding were signed on the 23rd of August 2012 by the government of Zimbabwe with the China International Fund Consortium. Permanent secretaries of various ministries represented the government.