President Edgar Lungu has said the Governments of Zambia and Botswana will stick to the promise they have given to their people to complete the construction of Kazungula Bridge.
Mr Lungu said he and Botswana President Seretse Khama Ian Khama would continue visiting the project to ensure that the progress they saw was maintained.
He was speaking at CRESTA Mowana Safari Lodge in Botswana’s Kasane town during a joint media briefing with Dr Khama after a tour of the Bridge Project on both sides of the Zambezi River.
“We will be coming to these projects in six months or a years time to make sure the progress we have seen is maintained because this is the promise we have made to the people of Botswana and Zambia.
“We will stick to the time we have given ourselves to execute the project,” he said.
He said the Southern African Development Community (SADC) region had embarked on regional integration which was one way in which countries in the region were going to integrate.
Mr Lungu, who left Kasane International Airport for Lusaka around 13 hours, said Africa was looking to trading within Africa.
“If Zambia and Botswana succeeds, there will be more trade in the region and beyond.This project is not only for Botswana and Zambia but it is intended
to invite and excite investment from outside so that Africans can begin to trade among themselves.
“Several times we look to beyond Africa in terms of trade including political influence at the end we see this as a mark of bonding between Botswana and Zambia in trade, economic growth and prosperity of the people,” he said.
The Head of State also thanked contractors and engineers for a good safety record from the time construction started in 2014.
“So far minor incidents have been recorded since the start of the actual works.Keep it up in terms of safety standards because we worry about this
project because we don’t want to lose lives,” he said.Mr Lungu said many more projects would come on board once the Bridge project was completed.
“When this project succeeds, many more will come. I also appreciate the challenges Botswana is facing in opening up the railway line and challenges experts have in environmental protection, in designing and implementation.
“I am sure something can be done to sustain a balance between our wildlife, fauna and the rail road because we know that this part of Botswana has impeccable record of wildlife preservation and tourism,”he said.
He said the two countries wouldn’t want to sacrifice the environment that they had sustained very well in Botswana at the expense of bringing prosperity in terms of the railway road.
“The challenge is on you Botswana people working with experts worldwide in finding solutions so that we can have a win-win solution so that we can have this rail road running because most of our roads in Zambia are adversely affected by cargo which sometimes weighs beyond the limit the roads can take.
“I know these roads are supposed to take a number of years but most of the times they wear and deteriorate faster because of the excess cargo,” he said.
Speaking at the same meeting, Dr Khama said the Kazungula Project was remarkable and it would further strengthen the relationship between Zambia and Botswana.He said the project was in line with the SADC emphasis on industrialisation and regional integration.
“The Kazungula Bridge project is well positioned in Southern Africa and we look forward to furthering our cooperation with the two countries,” he said.