Poor infrastructure slowing investment
27 August 2013
The Sunday Mail
In their numbers, they moved in and filled yawning vast tracts of lands previously controlled by a few former white farmers. On that land, they are doing well and production is on the rise. As a result of the agrarian reform and of late the accelerated indigenisation drive, millions of people, especially in rural areas, are reaping the benefits.
Farm produce is on the increase and communities are being empowered from the production in foreign-owned companies. But experts say poor infrastructure in Zimbabwe is depressing productivity by an estimated 40 percent.
As such, the experts added, the country needs to clear its infrastructure deficit. According to the African Development Bank (AfDB), investments in physical and social infrastructure in Africa have failed to keep pace with growth and demand.
The situation, the bank says, has created a serious infrastructure deficit that slows investment, the achievement of broad-based and inclusive growth and poverty reduction.
"Indeed, inadequate infrastructure is often cited as the single largest obstacle to doing business on the continent," says AfDB. "Inadequate water and sanitation infrastructure costs Africa the equivalent of some 5 percent of its GDP (Gross Domestic Product). This is despite the widespread agreement that the expansion of infrastructure in transport, energy and telecommunications sectors is critical to Africa's economic advancement."
It is estimated that Africa, home to over 200 million people, 80 percent of whom survive on subsistence farming, will have to invest US$93 billion annually until 2020 to close its infrastructure deficit.
In Zimbabwe, developmental studies experts say infrastructure provision in resettlement areas is a critical catalyst for structural transformation. Following land reform in 2000, analysts say, there has been little investment in roads, schools, health clinics, dams, irrigation schemes and dip tanks.
In the dispensation of heightened indigenisation, experts believe infrastructure provision should receive due precedence for the initiative to triumph.
The Indigenisation and Economic Empowerment Act has been prolific since its inception in 2007 and academics have sounded the necessity to provide both soft and physical infrastructure for the programme to reach its protracted heights. With 1 119 companies having so far been assessed as qualifying for indigenisation, outgoing Minister of Youth Development, Indigenisation and Empowerment Cde Saviour Kasukuwere says the programme is now at full throttle.
From the assessed firms, statistics showed that mining and manufacturing sectors were major contributors with 34 percent and 29 percent respectively and are sectors that thrive on robust infrastructure.
Original article by Levi Mukarati and Harmony Agere
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