Nyemudzai Kakore and Leonard Ncube—
The country’s transport sector is poised for major pickings after Government signed a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) for infrastructure development with South Africa on Friday to ease movement of traffic between the two countries. The MoU is a bilateral agreement on transport development related matters which seeks make movement easier for people of the two countries by decongesting Beitbridge Border Post.
Transport and Infrastructural Development Minister Dr Joram Gumbo signed the MoU with his South African counterpart Ms Elizabeth Dipuo Peters in Victoria Falls.
Dr Gumbo said the MoU would allow the two countries to share expertise, infrastructure development and services as well as promote investments, industry and trade co-operation on equitable terms.
“It is not an issue of who is bringing how much money into the project, but it is a partnership,” he said. “What we are doing is making life easier for our people and improve communication in the region both in the commercial and social areas.”
Dr Gumbo said the MoU set tasks to be performed and obligations to be met by both countries to facilitate increased investments flow and enhance trade co-operation.
Said Dr Gumbo: “The MoU will assist in terms of fiscal financing, expansion of the role of public-private partnerships and marketing transport projects to potential investors, among others.”
The areas of partnership will be on four transport sectors, namely civil aviation, road transport, rail transport and maritime.
“This will cover civil aviation, land and rail transport infrastructure, services, safety and security, road and rail traffic operations and management, maritime and inland waterways, environmental management, funding, integrated transport master planning and network development as well as exchange of technical expertise and technology transfer,” said Dr Gumbo.
Speaking at the signing ceremony, Minister Peters said the MoU would benefit people from the two countries by enhancing free movement at the Beitbridge Border Post, which is the largest inland port of entry in the region.
She said the partnership would also enhance the one-stop border post concept.
“It is an all-embracing MoU that actually allows us as the two countries to share expertise, policies and also make sure that we can work together in the interests of our two nations,” Dr Gumbo.
“This is a piece of agreement that seeks to solidify our relationship, brotherhood and sisterhood because in essence we are one people.”
Through the MoU, the two countries want to ease congestion at Beitbridge Border Post, which is the busiest port of entry in Southern Africa connecting countries such as Zambia, Zimbabwe, Malawi, Tanzania and others.