The Southern Africa Development Community (SADC) Cross Border Traders Association has praised governments of Zambia and Botswana for the progress made towards the completion of the Kazungula Bridge.
Association Chairperson Jacob Makambwe says the completion of the bridge will further cement the strides made in attaining regional integration among the 16 SADC countries.
Mr. Makambwe explained that cross border traders have for a long time faced challenges in transportation especially going across the Zambezi River.
Mr. Makambwe noted that the completion of the bridge will go a long way in easing the movement challenges, and reducing the time that traders used to spend to cross over.
“The completion of the Kazungula Bridge is a step in the right direction for us cross border traders, we faced a lot of problems using those ferries, as we spent a lot of time unnecessary but with that, we will change which is to our advantage,” he noted.
And Mr. Makambwe has also commended the two governments for ensuring that the bridge comes with a One Stop Border Post (OSBP) facility.
He explained that as Zambia strives to benefit from the Africa Continental Free Trade Area Agreement, setting up an OSBP will facilitate quick movement of goods and services in the region.
“Infrastructure is key if Zambia is to benefit from the Africa Continental Free Trade Area, it is for this reason that putting up a One Stop Border Post (OSBP) facility at Kazungula will result in reduced time spent at the border and also it will be cheaper for us the traders because will not be required to pay use the bridge,” he explained.
The construction of the 259.3 million United States dollars Kazungula Bridge project is almost complete and will be handed over to the governments of Zambia and Botswana.
The bridge is a multi-national project in the North-South Corridor and is part of an infrastructure improvement 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.