Zimbabwe courts private sector for $4,2bln to fund water infrastructure

Zimbabwe courts private sector for $4,2bln to fund water infrastructure

By Bernard Mpofu, HARARE, June 24 (The Source) – Zimbabwe has marshalled nearly $400 million towards water and sanitation since the introduction of the multiple currency system in 2009 but huge funding gap remains, with $4 billion required to upgrade infrastructure, Treasury secretary Willard Manungo said on Wednesday.

Manungo said government is ready to partner with investors through joint ventures to meet the funding gap in water infrastructure, adding that several incentives are in place to entice investors.

“The Zimbabwe Agenda for Sustainable Socio-Economic Transformation (Zimasset) identifies water and sanitation services as a key economic enabler, with financial requirements estimated to cost $4,2 billion for the five year period 2013-18,” said Manungo addressing a water conference in the capital.

“The budget has so far been the main instrument of financing programmes aimed at provision of finance for the water sector with cumulative disbursement of $370 million since 2009.”

Out of the $4 billion water infrastructure budget, half of that would finance dam construction. The much delayed Matabeleland Zambezi Water Programme would account for $1,2 billion of the budget, with the remainder being for solid waste management equipment, rehabilitation of existing dams and upgrading water and sewer infrastructure for local authorities.

“As government, we are aware that private investment only goes where there is confidence and policy certainty. In addition, the private sector also requires up to date and well packaged bankable project documents in order to access commercial viability of the projects,” he said.

“In recognition of the need to incentivise investments in water, a fiscal regime, which complements direct funding has been put in place.”

Official figures show that with nearly 70 percent of Zimbabwe’s population is dependent on farming while 80 percent of the land is subjected to often harshly dry conditions due to erratic rainfall.