Government has signed a 25-year Concession Agreement with the Groupe European De Development (GED) Projects Africa Zambia Limited, for the construction of the 85-kilometere Kaluba/Mwenda road in Luapula Province at a cost of US$180 million.
The Kaluba/ Mwenda road will cut across into the Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC) and join the 95km Kasomeno/Kaluba road as part of the 180 km road stretch to be constructed by GED.
The construction of the Kashiba/ Mwenda road is the first road project to be implemented under the Public Private Partnership (PPP) platform.
Speaking at the signing ceremony in Lusaka today, Finance Minister Alexander Chikwanda said the road project will advance bilateral and intra-SADC trade between Zambia and Congo DR.
Mr. Chikwanda said the road project will help create employment opportunities for the local people.
The Finance Minister also commended GED, the road contractor for supporting the development of the road sector in Zambia.
Mr Chikwanda said the signing of the road project at regional level will help open up markets for Zambia’s commodities.
He expressed optimism that the launch of the initiative will cement the engagement of the private sector in public projects to support national and regional development.
And speaking earlier, Road Development Agency (RDA) Chief Executive Officer Kanyuka Mumba said the construction works of the Kaluba/Mwenda road will be financed and undertaken by GED at an estimated cost US$180 million.
Mr Mumba disclosed that the 180 kilometre road stretch which covers part of Zambia and runs into neighbouring Congo will foster economic integration and enhance and accelerate development in Luapula province.
He said the main objective of the road project is to provide a shorter and more efficient route for traffic between Lubumbashi in DRC and Dar-es-salam, in Tanzania through Nakonde in Zambia.
The GED also intends to build four schools, five health posts, community halls, markets, sport and recreational parks and solar street lights around the project area for the benefit of the local people in the two countries.
Minister of Works and Supply Yamfwa Mukanga, senior RDA, GED and government officials also witnessed the signing ceremony of the road project.