The Angolan government has implored Zambia to expedite its transport infrastructure development so as to enable increased trade between the two countries.
This came to light after Transport Minister Brian Mushimba and his Angolan counterpart Dr Augusto da Silva Tomas visited Rivungo/Shang’ombo Canal at the border of Zambia and Angola in Western Province.
The visit revealed that there was lack of progress on the Zambian side of the bilateral project compared to the Angolan side which had maritime infrastructure already standing in Rivungu, Angola.
According to a statement issued by Ministry of Transport Head of Public Relations Maimbolwa Mulikelela, the visit further revealed that the project was about 95 per cent complete on the Angolan side while the Zambian side only had the Canal done with the financing of the Angolan Government.
Mulikelela stated that Angola urged Zambia to utilise its transport facility at the Lobito port by importing and exporting through the port which has world class infrastructure.
She said Angola has also invested about US$1.5 billion in the rehabilitation of the Benguela railway.
Meanwhile, Mushimba said President Edgar Lungu had called for a speedy implementation of the Shang’ombo-Rivungu Canal Project in Western Province.
“You will agree with me that this trade route may not be viable if Rivungu harbor is developed and the complimentary facilities on the Zambian side in Shang’ombo are not done. Because of that we should speedily develop the maritime infrastructure on our side so that together we reduce the cost of doing business for our people,” said Mushimba.
Mushimba urged his team to work towards developing the Shang’ombo harbor with all the necessary maritime and shipping facilities befitting a modern harbor.
He also disclosed that a tender to finance and construct housing units on the Zambian side was awarded to Mongu Trade Institute under the Youth Empowerment project adding that the construction project was expected to commence soon.