Zimbabwe to own and operate New Limpopo Bridge

bridge-washingtonstatedept-flickrThe Beitridge border is a busy transit link between eastern and southern Africa. (Image source: WashingtonStateDept/Flickr)Zimbabwe has claimed ownership and the right to operate the New Limpopo Bridge, situated at the Beitridge border between South Africa and Zimbabwe

According to reports, a 20-year BOT concession with the New Limpopo Bridge Limited had expired, following which Zimbabwe had claimed ownership of the bridge. The shareholders of the project are IDEAS Managed Fund (managed by Old Mutual Investment Group), Nedbank, Sanlam and an Israeli consortium.

Sean Friend, fund manager of IDEAS Managed Fund, said, ”This is the first BOT concession in Africa to have run its course with the asset returning to the public sector.”

Beitridge Border Post is the busiest transit link between eastern and southern Africa, linking South Africa by road and rail to Zimbabwe, Botswana, Zambia, DR Congo, Malawi, Tanzania, and northern Mozambique. More than 10mn tons of cargo pass through this corridor annually. A 20-year concession had been agreed upon to build a two-lane bridge across the Limpopo River at the Beitbridge border.

Friend added, “The objective was to toll the two-lane New Limpopo Bridge over a 20-year period and then return it to the Zimbabwean government at the end of the concession. In addition to receiving the bridge back at no cost, the government also secured a good fee and taxes. This is an example of a successful public private partnership.”

The New Limpopo Bridge was the first true infrastructure asset bought by the IDEAS Managed Fund in 1998 as a BOT concession. The project is also Zimbabwe’s first major private sector infrastructure project under BOT.

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