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Botswana, Zambia allay fears of diplomatic row over regional bridge

Botswana’s Minister of Transport and Communications Dorcus Makgato has allayed fears that her country and neighbouring Zambia were headed for a diplomatic row over the suspension of construction of a bridge that links the two neighbouring countries and the region, APA can reveal here Saturday.In a statement, Makgato said the adversity which  recently affected the Kazungula Bridge Development has been resolved–  further that the project is expected to be completed in 2020.

“It  is a fact that the Contractor–Daewoo International, recently issued a  contractually-enforceable notice to suspend works on the bridge project.  This was as a result of delayed or non-payment of amounts due from the  Employer who, in this case, is a joint and 50/50 partnership between the  governments of Botswana and Zambia,” she said.

Makgato  said Zambia which was yet to contribute its share of funds for the  construction of the bridge has moved swiftly to correct by paying all  the arrears, and obtaining the Contractor’s agreement and lifting the  prevailing suspension of construction of the project. 

“As  part of resolving the problem, a required minimum amount of US Dollars  16.62m, which has hitherto been overdue is in the process of being  transmitted to the Contractor (Daewoo International),” said Makgato. 

She  added that “The Botswana is pleased with the cooperation, which has  been received from both the Zambian and the Contractor in expeditiously  and amicably dispensing of the risk, which the project has been facing.”

Makgato  concluded that because of its strategic importance to the SADC Region,  and wider trade-facilitation across Africa and beyond, both Botswana and  Zambia recognize and wish to reiterate their mutual commitment to  having the Kazungula Bridge Project completed soonest and most  cost-effectively.

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