It took years to come on line. The job had to be re-tendered after objections from some donor governments.
Although initially estimated to cost just over $400 million, the project had skyrocketed to $1.7 billion when construction started, though of course the cost had remained constant in US dollar terms at US$100 million.
But just when people were about to forget about the controversy that surrounded the awarding of the tender to build the new Harare International Airport, up comes this incredible report which claims that the project will create 58 000 jobs directly and indirectly within a year.
Airport manager Karikoga Kaseke is quoted as saying, “the most direct economic benefit (of building the new airport) is the employment that is created by the airport….”
For a country with an unemployment rate of about 50 percent the story seems to be saying the construction of the airport is justified not just to handle a large number of passengers but also because it creates jobs.
And for an investment of only $1.2 billion (according to The Herald), this must be the best project ever carried out after the introduction of structural adjustment and, if it is creating so many jobs, perhaps we should build more airports, at the tourist resorts of Victoria Falls and Kariba and of course in Bulawayo, the second largest town.
This would create more than 150 000 jobs. And perhaps the Zimbabwe Investment Centre also ought to look at this project seriously because the billions being invested through the centre are creating very few jobs.
While it is generally accepted that it takes $150 000 to create one job, the airport project seems to be requiring only $21 000 to create a job.