Over 80 000 new jobs will be created through construction of Sunway City Industrial Park in Ruwa and an inland port that will service the entire Southern Africa. China – a key partner in the project – has committed to funding the initiative once bankability is ascertained.
The park is one of many initiatives under the Special Economic Zones Policy in the 10-Point Economic Growth Plan enunciated by President Mugabe in his State of the Nation Address on August 25. Though it has been on the cards for some time, the project will gain fresh impetus following adoption of the SEZs Policy and healthy partnership with Chinese investors.
Several companies are already operating at Sunway City, and residential, institutional and commercial properties and recreational facilities will be expanded once construction switches to top gear. Industrialisation will take centre stage with factory shells backing work to improve rail, road and technological infrastructure.
Further, the inland port facility is expected to become an economic hub. Government has accorded Sunway City “Priority Status” to remove all bottlenecks. Responding to inquiries by The Sunday Mail, Sunway City marketing manager Mr Takesure Chimenya said, “The project is expected to create in excess of 80 000 jobs once it is fully consummated.
Furthermore, industries with linkages to the construction sector will increase their production capacities in response to increased construction activities in the Sunway City Industrial Park. “This will lead to an economic boom in Zimbabwe in the same manner the construction industry has led to economic booms in countries such as South Africa, China, India, Angola, Dubai and Malaysia.”
Mr Chimenya said Sunway City management submitted funding requirements to China’s National Development and Research Committee, which visited Zimbabwe in early August. He said the NDRC agreed to the plan, prompting new feasibility studies.
“The visit by the Chinese helped clarify their requirements in order for them to fund any project from Zimbabwe. Their requirement is that the project/s must be bankable so as to enable any Chinese investor to recoup their investment. “For Sunway City, it means internationally-credible feasibility studies have to be done on the projects before submitting them for funding.
Sunway City requested that the National Development Reform Commission facilitates the finding of grants/concessional loans or equity partners who can assist it to achieve its planned projects like the High Technology Park and the Medical Park.
“Sunway City is one of the projects that the Government of Zimbabwe submitted as a priority project for funding. Several companies are already operating in the industrial park, producing products as varied as bleached cotton products, animal and public health products, chrome, steel, cement, shoes and cement bricks/pavers.
“The country’s National Oil Procurement Company is also located in the industrial park. “In the residential sector, servicing of over 600 low density residential stands has been completed and development has started on a number of these stands.”
Sunway City Industrial Park is a subsidiary of the Industrial Development Corporation of Zimbabwe. US$12,5 million has so far been poured into the project and about US$90 million is required to install the requisite infrastructure.
About 25 percent of land allocated for the project has been serviced while offsite infrastructure and water reticulation systems have been established. Road, rail and air infrastructure development is also in the pipeline.
The proposed inland port facility — the first in Zimbabwe — is expected to enhance trade within Sadc by providing services ordinarily given at seaports. An inland port is usually located away from traditional land, air and coastal borders to facilitate and process international trade through strategic investment in multi-modal transportation assets and by promoting value-added services.
It can be directly connected by road or rail to a seaport, and is a transhipment centre that includes facilities for storage, consolidation of goods, maintenance for road or rail cargo carriers and customs clearance services. The location of these facilities at a dry port relieves competition for storage and customs space at the seaport itself.
Sadc’s biggest seaports include Durban and Port Elizabeth (South Africa), Beira and Maputo (Mozambique), Walvis Bay (Namibia) and Dar es Salaam (Tanzania).