INFRASTRUCTURE, Housing and Urban Development Minister, Charles Milupi says works at Kenneth Kaunda International Conference Centre in Lusaka are 95 per cent done.

Speaking after touring the facility, Thursday, Milupi said the facility was expected to be handed over to government on May 16, 2022.

“Our inspection reveals that all is going well, this facility will be handed over next week on the 16th May. Then we will begin the process of testing it, what is called high pressure testing, to make sure that all facilities work, whether it is water, ablution blocks, toilets and everything. Part of that involves flashing all the toilets at the same time to make sure that everything works as planned. So as has already been said, it is 95 percent complete, there are still one or two finishing touches such as completing the installation of equipments. On the outside, I have said to management, I want more work done in terms of the lawns, flowers and so on. So to showcase what Zambia is, we are expecting grass to be a lot greener,” he said.

He said the facility was expected to host the African Midterm Coordinating Complex on July 14 to July 17, 2022.

“The first meeting that will take place is the African Union Midterm Coordinating Complex that will take place on the 14th of July to 17th of July. From an infrastructure point of view, we can confidently say this facility will be ready in every aspect. Zambia will be ready to host the Conference. This is a gift from the Chinese government for $60 million, you can see what $60 million has done. It is money well spent. I think this facility, including all the equipment inside, the furniture is worth every cent of that $60 million. That is what we want in Zambia, when we undertake projects where there is value for the money. It is very high standard,” Milupi said.

Milupi said there was a need to incorporate an effective maintenance programme for the facility.

“A word of caution to whoever is going to manage this. All too often in our country, we have seen good facilities come up, some of us are old enough. We urge whoever is going to be in charge of running this, they must incorporate an effective maintenance programme going forward for the life of this facility so that if we come back in 30 years time, it will either be like the way we see it now or even better. Zambians sometimes, we put up huge things but we forget maintenance, then you come back after so many years and ask for rehabilitation,” said Milupi.

“New dawn government is changing to ensure that we focus now also on maintenance. This is now a facility that is available to Zambia, it is available to SADC, it is available to Africa, it is available to the rest of the world. Alongside this, as we will host this conference, as we have said this will sit 2,500 delegates at one sitting. The restaurant facilities can seat up 1,000, so it means that if we make use of it, there will be a lot of people coming into our country.”