The Sunday Mail
THE construction sector is optimistic about growth in 2024, largely driven by Government and private sector infrastructure projects that are currently being implemented across the country.
The projects span various economic sectors such as energy, roads, mines, agriculture and manufacturing.
On the other hand, the private sector and individuals are heavily engaged in property development, mainly housing and shopping malls.
In its quarterly update for the period ending December 31, 2023, the Construction Industry Federation of Zimbabwe (Cifoz) said members should continuously engage the Zimbabwe Investment and Development Agency, through its website, to get priority projects under private-public partnerships.
“The introduction of sustainable smart building innovation in Zimbabwe is a step in the right direction and the continued involvement of the private sector and diaspora in developing the country is impeccable. The completion of several infrastructure projects will give impetus to sustainable development,” Cifoz said in its 4th quarter 2023 report.
It said the massive infrastructure development programmes that are underway countrywide, including the rehabilitation and upgrading of roads, the construction of dams and installation of additional power units, contribute to tangible socio-economic transformation and realisation of Vision 2030.
The Government has identified infrastructure as one of the key enablers of economic development; hence, priority has been given to infrastructure development projects such as road and dam rehabilitation and construction, irrigation rehabilitation and housing programmes.
Infrastructure development remains a key enabler of the Government’s vision of transforming Zimbabwe into an upper middle-income economy by 2030, which is anchored by the National Development Strategy 1 (NDS1), a five-year economic blueprint launched in 2021.
According to Cifoz, driven by the urge to encourage investment, the Government enacted laws that govern investors and investments.
It added that the Government also signed a number of international treaties that ensure and guarantee protection of investors and their investments.
“The investment route in Zimbabwe is straightforward and with the aid of a competent legal representative, the processes are even smoother and faster.
“Zimbabwe is open for investment and efforts are being made to align all the laws and processes to ease the doing of business in the country,” reads the report.
The Government has also been encouraging local firms to enter into joint ventures with foreign companies because the formation of joint ventures is a swift and cheap route to development.
Economist Dr Prosper Chitambara said good infrastructure is one of the key determinants of competitiveness, so every investor would want to invest in a country with a good infrastructure network.
“It goes without saying that the construction industry is a very important sector of the economy as it is a key component of our gross domestic product.
“It employs complex linkages with various sectors of the national economy, both vertical and horizontal,” he said.
He added that in recent years, the construction industry has held steady amid a barrage of economic predictions.
He noted that short- and long-term projects are still being executed, with construction firms proceeding with building and maintenance work, strictly adhering to guidelines on the employment of essential infrastructure workers.
Private players have also continued to participate in the Emergency Road Rehabilitation Programme Phase II, under which the Government placed priority on trunk and tertiary road projects in provinces and districts, as well as major arteries in urban areas.
The local construction industry has shown the ability to undertake huge projects, as demonstrated by local contractors working on major highways.
In the 2024 National Budget, the Government said the construction sector will be sustained mainly by private sector construction activities, while on its part, it will provide an enabling environment that will ensure sector viability.
According to Cifoz, the industry now employs more than 17 000 people, an increase from an average of 10 000, largely as a result of ongoing projects.