Patriotic Front Secretary General Davies Mwila says infrastructure projects undertaken by the PF government such as the Kazungula Bridge have repositioned Zambia to a regional economic hub that will intensify existing trade links.
Highlighting PF’s achievements in their weekly newsletter to News Diggers! Mwila noted that the Seventh National Development Plan (7NDP) had identified “improving access to domestic, regional and international markets” as one of several development outcomes which needed to be achieved to bring about economic diversification.
He observed that to improve access to domestic, regional and international markets, government had successfully implemented various programmes such as ‘improved trade facilitation through transport infrastructure development programme with projects such as the soon-to-be completed Kazungula Bridge’.
“In order to ‘improve access to domestic, regional and international markets’ as well as effectively implement the National Industrial and the National Trade Policies towards the attainment of Vision 2030, the PF government has successfully implemented various programmes and recorded notable successes. In line with the 7NDP, the PF government is improving trade facilitation by implementing the transport infrastructure development programme, with projects such as the soon-to-be completed Kazungula Bridge,” Mwila explained.
“The Kazungula Bridge is a key road and rail bridge crossing over the Zambezi River along the North-South Corridor, a key trade route linking the port of Durban in South Africa to the inland countries of Botswana, Zambia, Zimbabwe, Malawi, DRC, and up to Dar-es-Salaam in Tanzania. The Kazungula Bridge comes to literally bridge the regional divide as well as address a gap where for years, ferries were used to cross the river.”
Mwila stated that the Kazungula Bridge Project, which was being championed by President Edgar Lungu, was a perfect example of how a landlocked country like Zambia could strategically be interconnected domestically and regionally for the benefit of its citizens.
He stated that government was further rehabilitating Zambia Railways mainline and revitalizing the Tanzania-Zambia Railway Authority (TAZARA) with the aim of increasing operational efficiencies and reducing the cost of freight, among others.
“Furthermore, the PF government is implementing the transport infrastructure development programme for improved trade facilitation by constructing the Chipata-Petauke-Serenje Railway Line, which when commissioned, will complete the link from the Port of Nacala to the existing railway lines across Zambia. In addition, the PF government has identified several strategic railway routes for development, some of which include the following: the Chingola to Jimbe (Border with Angola) route linking the existing line in Chingola through Solwezi to the border town of Jimbe,” Mwila added.
“The Kafue to Zawi (Zimbabwe) route will link Zambia Railway lines to Ziwa in Zimbabwe, as the shortest route to the Port of Beira in Mozambique; TAZARA Nseluka to Mpulungu Port to link Mpulungu Port to the TAZARA line at Nseluka to facilitate imports and exports from the Great Lakes region to the sea ports on the Indian Ocean; and lastly, a railway link between Zambia and Namibia (Livingstone to Sesheke), which involves the partial rehabilitation of the Mulobezi line as well as feasibility studies for construction of a spur between Livingstone and Katima Mulilo via Kazungula that connects the Namibian Railway system as part of the Walvis Bay-Livingstone-Lusaka-Ndola-Lubumbashi Corridor.”
Mwila added that to further improve trade facilitation through transport infrastructure development, government was also upgrading strategic airports at Livingstone and Mfuwe as well as secondary airports at Chipata and Kitwe, among others.
He explained that by doing so, the PF government was increasingly enhancing the capacity of strategic and secondary airports to handle higher volumes of traffic; both passengers and cargo.
Meanwhile, Mwila stated that government was also implementing the International Airport Upgrading and Construction Programme for improved trade facilitation.
He stated that this would significantly lower costs of doing business enhanced regional integration and trade and would increase Foreign Direct Investment (FDI) flows to Zambia.
“The full implementation of the International Airport Upgrading and Construction Programme will improve trade facilitation due to the resultant: significantly lower costs of doing business enhanced regional integration and trade, and increased FDI flows to Zambia. In this regard, the PF government is constructing the soon-to-be completed Kenneth Kaunda International Airport and the Copperbelt Airport. Collectively, these two international airports shall enable Zambia to strengthen its economic integration and competitiveness at domestic, regional and global levels. This shall in-turn lead to economic diversification, employment creation, and acceleration of the achievement of Vision 2030,” stated Mwila.