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Harare Hit By Traffic Gridlock Due To Power Outages

MOTORISTS and pedestrians have to brace themselves for one of their worst nightmares in Harare’s central business district — congestion.

While the traffic gridlock is usually associated with the rain season in Harare, this time it is happening in winter because of power outages as power utility Zesa switches off parts of the city due to an ongoing load-shedding programme which is affecting those traffic signals which are not solar-powered.

The City of Harare is experiencing increased periods of power outages due to load shedding as indicated by ZETDC in their distributed schedules.

Traffic signals are supplied power from the same network and are not spared from load shedding.

As a result of of the load shedding, the City is experiencing increased traffic signals outages.

While some traffic signals are powered by solar, a good number are not.

While it is common cause that many African cities face this challenge, it cannot be justification of what is happening in Harare, and the situation seems to be getting worse by the day and yet it is quite costly to the development of this country.

For instance, reports are that South Africa loses more than R1,5 billion annually as a result of traffic congestion. A World Bank study also reveals that Egypt’s capital city, Cairo, loses $8 billion annually, which is about 4 percent of that country’s Gross Domestic Product.

We can all imagine the costs of traffic congestion for Zimbabwe. If thriving economies such as South Africa and Egypt can feel the impact of traffic congestion what of this economy that is striving to wiggle out of decades of challenges? The impact is obviously colossal and one we cannot afford.

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