The Kazungula Bridge is expected to “open the way” for increased trade in the southern African region.
Botswana and Zambia inaugurated a road and rail bridge connecting the two countries, marking the completion of a multi-million dollar project to reduce congestion at border crossings and boost trade.
Stretching 923 meters (about 3,000 feet) above the Zambezi River, the Curved Kazungula Bridge provides an alternative route long needed by carriers.
“This will lower the cost of doing business,” Zambian President Edgar Lungu said at Monday’s inauguration ceremony, anticipating “increased trade and competitiveness, job creation, tourism and other effects. positive training â.
Botswana President Mokgweetsi Masisi said the bridge would “open avenues for improved trade.” He also said his country viewed Zambia as a key strategic partner in development, adding that the project was a demonstration of the continuing growing relationship.
Construction of the $ 259 million project began in December 2014, co-funded by the African Development Bank (AfDB), the Japan International Cooperation Agency (JICA), regional governments and other grants.
Namibia and Zimbabwe joined the consortium in 2018.
KAZUNGULA BRIDGE AND INSTALLATION AT A BORDER STOP
– Government of Botswana (@BWGovernment) May 10, 2021
The bridge will facilitate regional freight transport by allowing trucks to bypass the famous Beitbridge border crossing between Zimbabwe and South Africa, which is constantly congested, with vehicles spending hours – and sometimes days – in line. to cross.
The inauguration ceremony was also attended by the President of the African Union and the President of the Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC), Felix Tshisekedi. Zambia and DRC are in the process of setting up a similar facility at their border.
Other dignitaries were the President of the Southern African Development Community and Mozambican President Filipe Nyusi and Zimbabwean President Emmerson Mnangagwa.