Kazungula: AfCFTA, a bridge, a river, 4 countries
By John Eche
As the African continent gets set to commence trading on the AfCFTA scheme, the Kazungula bridge route is one project that is stirring great interest within and beyond the continent, The Difference can report.
Built on the Kazungula North-South corridor that abuts the Southern African nations of Zambia, Zimbabwe, Botswana and Namibia, the project which is a multi-nation infrastructure scheme commenced in 2015 and is now expected to be fully completed between the close of the year and early 2021.
Notable features include a bridge linking Botswana and Zambia that courses over the Zambezi River, a one-stop border facility at the town of Kazungula which is the epicentre of the project,
At its commencement, the scheme was valued at US $260m and was to be financed in part with a $80m loan facility taken by Zambia from the African Development Bank. Additional funds were to be supplied by the Government of Botswana and the Japan International Co-operation Agency (JICA). The six-year project had Daewoo Engineering and Construction as contractor and the ground-breaking ceremony took place on the Botswana side of the Kazungula border.
During a 2018 inspection by Zimbabwe’s Emmerson Mnangagwa, Seretse Khama of Botswana and Edgar Lungu of Zambia, Botswana and Zambia agreed for Zimbabwe to be accomodated in the project through the Zambezi river. Agreement was also reached for a one-stop border post at Kazungula.
The main facility is the 923m long bridge and is expected to help improve trade within the Southern African Development Community (SADC) area and also further facilitate the smooth functioning of the African Continental Free Trade Area, AfCFTA. It will thus facilitate easy access to intra-regional trade and the international arena through connectivity with major sea ports.
At the moment, work on the bridge proper has been completed. Also completed are the approach ramps even as work on the Botswana one stop border post, and the Zambia one stop border post are presently being rounded off.
Analysts say progress on the landmark African Continental Free Trade Area, AfCFTA which commences trading on January 1st would be boosted by large-scale infrastructure projects as the Kazungula bridge project.
The Kazungula bridge: Good to go!