by Kevin Rozario (London, United Kingdom)
It has not been long since the government of Zimbabwe formally launched the Airports Company of Zimbabwe (ACZ) to manage and operate the country’s regional and international airports. A priority for the state-owned limited entity will be the development and upgrading of worn out infrastructure, and adding new gateways.
As such, the new company – which has been in the process of setting up – is now busy establishing the procedures that will enable it to launch public-private partnership (PPP) projects. Calls for expressions of interest (EOIs) could come as early as the second half of 2022, AirportIR understands – although, of course, much depends on the response from the international community.
These next steps, if the scheduling stays on track, will raise the profile of Zimbabwe in the aviation PPP sector and, in turn, help to boost the country’s air networking capacity at the regional and international level. Around eight gateways are thought to be in the frame for possible inward investment including new greenfield sites (more below).
The major airports in the country are Robert Gabriel Mugabe International Airport (HRE) in the capital, Harare, where a new terminal is under construction; and Joshua Mqabuko Nkomo International Airport serving Bulawayo which is Zimbabwe’s industrial center. Other gateways earmarked for development include Harare’s smaller airport, Charles Prince, and Kariba Airport (KAB) in Mashonaland West.
At World Routes in Milan, AirportIR caught up with Tawanda Gusha, the recently appointed CEO of ACZ, which had a large stand at the event. Gusha was director of airports at the Civil Aviation Authority of Zimbabwe for over 20 years and his new remit is to jump-start the airport infrastructure business.
He said that in the medium term (within five years) two PPP deals would hopefully come to market, with perhaps four over the next decade. “We have feelers in place,” he said. So how will those deals happen given Zimbabwe’s currently weak traffic flows and other constraints?