$14.2 billion needed for rehab

Zimbabwe will require $14.2 billion to rehabilitate old infrastructure such as roads, dams and other transport network systems, a local economist said recently.

Speaking at a workshop to present background research findings on the economics of climate change adaptation in Zimbabwe, Dr Medicine Masiiwa of the University of Zimbabwe, said the country was lagging behind in terms of infrastructural development and rehabilitation.

“Rehabilitating old infrastructure and building new infrastructure such as weather-proof tarred roads, dams, bridges and other transport networks, will require $14.2 billion,” he said at a workshop organized by the Zimbabwe Environmental Regional Organization in partnership with the International Institute of Environment and Development.

He noted that identified dams for rehabilitation through the public-private sector partnerships included Chisumbanje, Middle Sabi Irrigation expansion, Mushumbi Pools in the Dande area, Buri, Chirundu, Zihove and Gwayi-Shangani Dam.

“With almost 10 000 dams already built but not fully operational, there is need to quantify water levels in those dams to measure water use efficiency against evaporation, especially looking at the impact of climate change,” observed Juliet Gwenzi, also from the UZ.

Dr Masiiwa further noted that low-lying areas in the southern part of the country could be turned into non-maize producing areas because of increasing temperatures. A 2.5 degree Celsius increase in temperature would result in a decrease in net farm revenue of about $0.4 billion.

“Rainfall is predicted to fall by 5-20% by 2080 basing on 1961-1990 average,” he said, adding that evaporation and transpiration would increase by between 4-25% and run off water would decline by up to 40 %.

“Research on climate change is essential to enable evidence-based decision-making that responds adequately to the country’s needs,” said Shepard Zvigadza, Director of ZERO.

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