President Edgar Chagwa Lungu with Zimbabwean President Emerson Mnangagwa and Botswana President Seretse Khama Ian Khama
President Edgar Chagwa Lungu with Zimbabwean President Emerson Mnangagwa and Botswana President Seretse Khama Ian Khama

Zambia and Botswana have agreed to allow Zimbabwe to be part of the Kazungula Bridge project in its second phase.

The decision was made after President Edgar Lungu held talks with Botswana’s President Ian Khama and Zimbabwe’s President Emmerson Mnangagwa.

Until the Saturday meeting, Zimbabwe was not part of the multi-million project.

The development was revealed during a joint press briefing by Zambian Housing and Infrastructure Development Minister Ronald Chitotela, Botswana Transport and Communication Minister Kitso Mokaila and Zimbabwean Transport and Infrastructure Development Minister Joram Gumbo

All three countries further agreed to set up a one-stop border post at Kazungula in Zambia’s Southern province.

The Kazungula Bridge project is set to open up the transport corridor between Zambia and Botswana, a move which will see Zimbabwe lose out on transit revenue.

The project is being carried out with partial financial assistance from the African Development Bank (AfDB).

The primary objective of the project is to improve the infrastructure at Kazungula to reduce transit time between borders.

Three regional presidents over the weekend took the long trip to inspect progress on the multi-million-dollar Kazungula Bridge in Kasane, which upon completion will enhance intra-regional trade within the SADC region and beyond.

The project will facilitate increased trade activity and improve the integration of the Zambia and Botswana economies as well as their global competitiveness.

The Kazungula project is a multi-national project in the North-South Corridor and is part of an infrastructure development programme that covers the whole corridor.

The project includes a bridge linking Botswana and Zambia over the Zambezi River to replace the existing ferry, and a one-stop border facility at Kazungula.

This corridor is the busiest of all regional corridors in the SADC region, linking landlocked countries to the port of Durban, the regional hub for export and import. It will mostly benefit businesses engaged in the mining, agriculture and service sectors.

Costing $229, 62 million it is co-financed by the Japanese Development Agency (JICA), in the form of loans to both Zambia and Botswana.

The Afdb finances Zambia only while Botswana and Zambia each provide counterpart financing.

While some observers have questioned President Mnangagwa’s involvement in the bilateral project between Botswana and Zambia, the Kazungula Bridge could also be seen as a triumph of regional integration and cooperation.

Many challenges had impinged construction of the bridge including the frosty relations between Zimbabwe and its two neighbours over the specific boundary and site of the bridge.

Political uneasiness between Zimbabwe and Botswana during President Mugabe’s era also affected cooperation on the project.

The bridge is shaped like an overstretched half-moon, with its belly elongating into the Namibian territory so as to avoid Zimbabwean territory.

Asked about the awkward shape, a Botswana government official said: “There was a dispute with Zimbabwe, which then was under Robert Mugabe and he refused passage of the bridge through his territory.

“It was supposed to be 600 metres long, but we had to institute design alterations and have its belly stretch into Namibia, which agreed to the arrangement, before curving into Zambia. The changes to the bridge design saw it stretching to 923 metres,” explained the official, who spoke on condition of anonymity.

As it stands, Botswana has only about 150 m of river frontage on the Zambezi, being sandwiched on the south bank between the extreme tip of Namibia’s Caprivi Strip and Zimbabwe.

Besides not being part of the funding and construction of the bridge, Zimbabwe could still benefit from economic activity spurred by the easy passage the bridge will provide.

The development is expected to reduce the time taken to cross the border from 30 hours to six hours.

Apart from reduced transit time for freight and passengers, the bridge is expected to improve border management operations arising from the new one-stop border facilities.

The handover of the project to the two governments is expected in March 2019. 

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16 COMMENTS

  1. Do you know that it is even disputable whether we have a border with Botswana? Mugabe likes to believe we don’t & that the 150 metre water frontage Botswana has doesn’t stretch across the river (to Zambia). Anybody with indisputable info on this one?

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    • I think that’s a wise decision our president hs made.becouse it will help the economic business to boost nd other things.it’s go ahead project to me.

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    • You really can’t believe everything Mugabe says. He is Psycho. What is true is that the border doesn’t really touch all four countries as Namibia has no land or water area that is connected to Zimbabwe. He claims that Botswana doesn’t connect Zambia and that assumption makes it look like Namibia connects Zimbabwe which is even more absurd and illogical. The truth is Mugabe refused to be a part of the bridge due to the financial losses Zimbabwe would incur if the bridge was elected as a result of lost revenue from truck toll fees which stand in hundreds of thousands of dollars every week.

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  2. Why come in at the last minute? Was Zimbabwe scared of contributing funds to the project? Now that this project is nearing completion they want to be part of the development. At the design stage the bridge avoided to pass through the Zimbabwean territory. I know we want regional integration, so they have to pay the full contribution to the project by sharing the loan obligations.

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    • Yes, Zimbabwe has to pay the extra cost of having to pay for 323 meters of extra bridge!

      It could have been done with only 600 meters, but instead had to be extended to 923 meters. Imagine the cost! Nearly ONE THIRD more than necessary just because of a geriatric DICTATORS ego!

      This shows exactly why Africa should not tolerate DICTATORSHIPS any longer! This is what is keeping us Africans POOR!

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  3. Yes @Nostradamus I equally see only 1 genuine president in that picture. The other one was imposed by a party and the other was imposed by the father thru a monarch arrangement masquerading as a party. UNIP style.

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    • MMmmmmm suspicious. Zimbabwe may well benefit more than us from this bridge. Why do we always get robbed. We were robbed during the federation and we continue getting robbed.

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  4. This is what happens when all funds you get is a loan woth no sweat…why would Zimbiabwe be interested in this when they already have their own border…Zimbabwe is the very reason this was built and this lazy thing simply agrees because he was in a hurry to get to RSA and enjoy for 3 days.

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  5. Zimbabweans are quite selfish and carry themselves with self importance in regional matters. It is just their tattered economy of late that has somewhat deflated their egos! Their idea of wishing to deny Botswana any share in the Zambezi is their wish to wield absolute over the river so that they can reduce beneficiaries from its waters. They had long wished to build a pipeline from the river to Matabeleland to solve water shortages in that region. It is a noble cause but they need approval from all members of the Zambezi River Watercourse Commission and that includes Botswana and Namibia!Zimbabwe refused the bridge to touch on its territory despite that being the most idea site in terms of reduced costs and convenience! The bridge had to west wards and longer, on the Namibian side. Now…

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  6. continued…Now they want to join?? ZIMBABWE IS ONLY SCARED OF A SHARP DRIFT OF TRAFFIC FROM IT PLANNED BEITBRIDGE- CHIRUNDU DUAL CARRIAGE SO THEY WANT A PART IN THE BRIDGE THAT MAY RENDER THEIR DUAL CARRIAGE INVESTMENT LESS ATTRACTIVE! Mnangagwa is there to protect his nations interest while we seem not see through all these!! HAPPILY IT APPEARS THEY ARE ONLY GOING TO PARTICIPATE IN BORDER INFRASTRUCTURE TO LESSEN BUREAUCRACY FOR THE TRAVELLING PUBLIC!!

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  7. HERE ARE THE FACTS: The 923-metre-long (3,028 ft) by 18.5-metre-wide (61 ft) bridge will have a span of 129 metres (423 ft) and link the town of Kazungula in Zambia with Botswana and is curved to avoid the nearby borders of Zimbabwe and Namibia. The bridge will feature a single-line railway track between two traffic lanes and pavements for pedestrians.

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  8. This one is a done deal for botswana and zambia.check your facts.the bridge will connect the two countries

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  9. Oh dear….how Zambians come to this situation?. Clearly the facial expression/demeanour of the man in the middle betrays someone whose spirit is in fatasy land. He is present in body but his spirit is elsewhere. I mean the incompetent, clueless, corrupt and worthless pretext of the president in the middle. What wasted years! We must weep for this country.

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  10. Zimbabwe always want to harvest where they did not sow. They want again to benefit like they rip the monies they generate through the Victoria falls which they don’t even have. Did you know that the 99% percent of the fall viewed in Zim is on the Zambian side? They yet claim it and even name their town Vic Falls. They should be left out but as usual Zambia is more interested in loading yet again to Zim

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  11. As usual UPND Fourteens in denial! You are as blind as your mentor HH that is why you can’t see clearly!

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