Unlock Africa’s potential through infrastructure development – Dr Manzungu

By Lake Zone Watch Writer

Southern African Real Estate Developer and Construction expert Dr Tinashe Manzungu has warned African countries against sitting on their laurels whilst waiting for other countries to develop the continent. He urged the continent to take advantage of its massive population to in developing.

Manzungu who is a senior vice-president of the Zimbabwe Building Contractors Association and an immediate past president of the Zimbabwe National Chamber of Commerce (ZNCC) made these remarks during his presentation at the 4th edition of the Jamie Pajoel Intermational (JPI) Annual Conference in Rwanda recently.

His presentation which was dubbed ‘Unlocking Africa’s prosperity through Investment in Real Estate and Construction’ emphasised on the need for business people in the private sector to work hand in hand with their governments to strengthen the continent’s economy.

“Africa has a massive growing population of 2.5 billion and already that makes a very strong market. As such there is a need for businesspeople to support their governments in infrastructure development, which is an economic development enabler so that Africans have a prosperous continent they want,” he said.

“One in five people in Africa has electricity, 66% have access to water, 4% of African land is under irrigation, so we have a gap in terms of infrastructure development into all these sectors like agriculture so that we have the food that we want. More than 60% lack basic infrastructure and according to data, Africa has only 25% road that is tarred and the rest is dusty unserved roads.”Manzungu said there was need to maintain and manage both the existing old infrastructure that was put by former colonisers and current infrastructure which was developed by independent Africa.

“Some closed shafts when the colonizers left, they left the country vandalized, and with no future mentainance plans or spare parts for countries under embargos of sanctions, and these million dollar plants just sitting there, they are white elephants,” he said.

“Cost of doing business in Africa is plus 40% expensive compared to trading with outside African countries because of the poor road network or poor rail network and or high costs charged on harbours. If you do your maths well, you will see that it is actually affordable to trade with a country outside Africa in terms of logistics compared to a fellow African country.”

He said Africa needs US$72 billion yearly basis consecutively to achieve its 2030 infrastructural development obligation which means funding for projects remains a barrier to African development and thus calls for the private business community to intervene.

Manzungu is a Board Member of the Africa Business Council and a director of the Common Market for Eastern and Southern Africa Business Council.

He is the co-founder of Zimbuild, a real estate business that has diversified to TM Group, an investment portfolio with interest in insurance and financial services.

On the global stage, Manzungu has scooped the African Achievers Award under the Excellence in Leadership and Global Corporate Enterprise in the United Kingdom.

He was recently honoured with a Doctorate in Business Administration from California University.This year’s JPI annual conference was held under the theme ‘Build to last’.

JPI is an organisation under the government of Nigeria and Canada that serves as a platform for human capital development. The organisation provides competency-based leadership training to individuals and organizations across diverse fields of endeavours.

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