Zambia, Botswana launch landmark bridge, one-stop border post

APA-Kazungula (Zambia)

The leaders of Zambia and Botswana on Monday officially launched a rail and road bridge and one-stop border post that is expected to boost trade between the two countries and open another route to the sea for other landlocked southern African countries.

Zambian President Edgar Lungu and his Botswana counterpart Mokgweetsi Masisi opened the 923-metre-long Kazungula Bridge that links the town of Kazungula in Zambia with Botswana.

Lungu said the bridge and border post were conduits for further deepening regional integration in the Southern African Development Community (SADC), which has pursued a free trade area initiative since 2008.

“I have held talks with my counterpart in Botswana that this project must run daily up to 22 hours as soon as possible,” Lungu said during the ceremony.

Located at the confluence of the Zambezi and Chobe rivers, the rail and road bridge is a crossborder initiative co-financed by the two 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.

The bridge is expected to facilitate smoother movement of goods and persons between Zambia and Botswana as well as neighbouring countries.

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 expected to improve border management operations at one-stop border facilities on either side of the two countries.

The ceremony was attended by African Union chairperson and Democratic Republic of Congo President Félix Tshisekedi, SADC chairperson and Mozambican President Filipe Nyusi, Zimbabwe’s President Emmerson Mnangagwa and eSwatini acting Prime Minister Themba Masuku.


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