16 May 2019

The government of Zambia has expressed satisfaction
with the progress made on the Kazungula Bridge project announcing that it is
nearing completion. President Edgar Lungu, who acknowledged the progress, said
that the bridge is 78% complete and is optimistic that the project will be
completed on schedule.

The Kazungula Bridge is being constructed at the
Kazungula crossing, where Botswana and Zambia share a border measuring about
750 metres over the Zambezi River. It is also at the confluence of Zambezi and
Chobe rivers, and the meeting point of the four southern African countries –
Botswana, Namibia, Zambia and Zimbabwe.

The US $259.3m project was officially launched in
September 2014 by then Vice-presidents of Zambia and Botswana, Dr Guy Scott,
and Ponatshego Kedikilwe, respectively, and is financed by the African Development Bank (AfDB) and the two governments.

The multi-million-dollar project was hailed as the Southern African
Development Community
 (SADC) economic
integration success stories, one of the missing links to realising the
North-South Corridor identified under the Regional Infrastructure Development
Master Plan (RIDMP). The bridge project is expected to facilitate trade with
Botswana and within the SADC region.

The project, which entails construction of a 923
metre-long rail/road cable stayed bridge with approach roads as well as
construction of one-stop border posts on the Zambia and Botswana sides, was
scheduled for completion last year but failed due to Zambia’s failure to pay.
The contractor has however assured both governments of project completion and
delivery at the expected time in 2020 if payments are made soon.

The bridge is expected to reduce transit time for freight and passengers, boost the regional economy and even increase global competitiveness of goods from Botswana and Zambia due to reduced time-based trade and transport costs.

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