Zimbabwe has signed a US$200 million agreement with the Development Bank of Southern Africa to upgrade the 800-kilometer highway from Plumtree on the Botswana border to Mutare on the border with Mozambique aiming to improve regional linkages.
Sources said the development bank will soon release the funds to Infralink, a joint venture between the Zimbabwe Road Authority and Group Five International of South Africa, a company with a long record of major infrastructure projects in that country.
Work on the highway from Plumtree through Bulawayo, Gweru, Kwekwe, Kadoma, Harare and Mutare to the border with Mozambique is to start by September.
Plumtree-born social commentator Difa Dube said the rehabilitation and upgrading of the road is an important step to link the border town with the rest of the world.
He cautioned however that implementation is key. "There are some roads in Zimbabwe that are abandoned when funds set aside for upgrading them disappear and therefore we hope that the same won’t happen in this new project,” Dube told VOA's Gibbs Dube.
Economist Eric Bloch said the government should be commended for upgrading the east-west road as this will create opportunities for the cities, towns and villages along it.