First BOT bridge handed over

FILE PIC. Picture: Michel Bega

FILE PIC. Picture: Michel Bega

A bridge over the Limpopo river, Southern Africa’s first Build, Operate and Transfer (BOT) concession has been taken over by the Zimbabwean government following the expiry of the BOT agreement last week.

Old Mutual Investment Group’s Sean Friend, Fund Manager of the IDEAS Managed Fund, one of the project’s shareholders, says this is the first BOT concession in Africa to have run its course with the asset returning to the public sector.

The New Limpopo Bridge was the first true infrastructure asset the IDEAS Managed Fund bought in 1998 as a BOT concession.

In addition to the IDEAS Managed Fund, managed by Old Mutual Investment Group, the project’s shareholders comprise an Israeli consortium as developers as well as Nedbank and Sanlam.

“It was a 20-year concession to build the new two-lane bridge across the Limpopo River at the Beitbridge border between South Africa and Zimbabwe, replacing the old 80-year-old single lane bridge,” says Friend

“The objective was to toll it over this 20-year period and then return it to the Zimbabwean government at the end of the concession. In return, and in addition to receiving the bridge back at no cost, the government received both a healthy fee and taxes. Consequently, we believe this is an important example of a successful Public Private Partnership.”

In addition to being the first Southern African PPP project to reach the transfer stage of a BOT, the New Limpopo Bridge is also the first major infrastructure project in Zimbabwe undertaken by the private sector under BOT.




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