Zambia and Botswana have taken a significant step forward in their attempt to strengthen bilateral ties and ease the process of doing business between the two countries.For long without an easy-to-manoeuvre land border, the two neighbours recently took a giant leap towards seamless connectivity – thanks to the completion of construction of the 923-metre-long Kazungula Bridge.
Located at the confluence of the Zambezi and Chobe rivers, the rail and road bridge is a crossborder initiative co-financed by the two Southern African Development Community (SADC) member states.
The 18.5-metre-wide bridge comprises a 687-metre-long access road and a 2,170-metre-long single-track railway.
Zambia’s Infrastructure Development Minister Vincent Mwale and his Botswana counterpart Thulangano Segokgo carried out a final inspection of the bridge at the weekend during which they certified the completion of construction of the facility.
“We are excited that this state-of-the-art bridge has been completed,” Mwale said.
The bridge is expected to facilitate smoother movement of goods and persons between Zambia and Botswana as well as neighbouring countries.
“I have been told that this facility will reduce the transit time for heavy duty vehicles between Zambia and Botswana from more than 3 days to only 2 hours,” the Zambian minister said, noting that this was a great milestone in the promotion of trade and regional integration.
Previously commercial truck drivers and ordinary travellers wishing to connect between the two countries would use ferries that would accommodate few trucks and passengers.
The bridge is envisaged to improve border management operations at one-stop border facilities on either side of the two countries.
The completion of construction activity paves the way for the official commissioning of the bridge by President Edgar Lungu and his Botswana counterpart Mokgweetsi Masisi at a date to be announced.
The bridge is part of the North-South Corridor that seeks to connect countries in southern Africa by road and rail infrastructure to those in North Africa.