The United States government Thursday took its first step towards constructing a big embassy compound in Harare to increase the flow of business and investment between the two countries.
Speaking during a ground breaking ceremony at the site in Westgate, U.S. Ambassador to Zimbabwe, Bruce Wharton, said the new compound will cost the American taxpayer an estimated $200 million.
He said the new embassy would help open pathways for mutual respect and understanding between Harare and Washington, adding that it will also increase the flow of business and investment between the two nations
Construction of the project that will be spearheaded by the State Department’s Bureau for Oversees Buildings Operations, is expected to start in the next few months. Constructors will take at least three years to finish building the embassy.
Ambassador Wharton said the embassy purchased the land for the new compound in 2001. The ambassador commended the Zimbabwean government for its cooperation and making sure the project is a success.
When complete, the new compound will house the embassy and all its departments. The embassy is currently operating from various rented premises in the city.
Harare mayor, Bernard Manyenyeni, said welcomed the American government move in a city where there is little or no development taking place.
Harare resident, Simon Takawira, while complaining that the new embassy would be far from the city centre where residents can easily access, said it was a welcome development.
Minister of State for Harare metropolitan province, Miriam Chikukwa, local government and foreign affairs officials and embassy staff attended the groundbreaking ceremony.
The United States has maintained an embassy in Harare since 1980.