President Edgar Lungu has reaffirmed the government’s commitment towards improving people’s livelihoods through strategic infrastructural development.
President Lungu has said the Patriotic Front government would continue to channel efforts towards enhancing the well-being of the Zambian people through, among other ways, investment in strategic infrastructure to ensure the country was well linked internally and externally to facilitate easy movement of goods, people and services.
Speaking during the official commissioning of the Kazungula Bridge Project today, President Lungu said the transit traffic through Kazungula Border would greatly improve due to reduced border transit time and improved trade facilitation measures and border management operations.
“This is because of the inclusion of the one-stop border post which will lower the cost of doing business and result in an increase in trade and competitiveness, job creation, tourism, and other positive ripple effects. The development will also lead to the development of our local communities,” president lungu said.
The project is a masterpiece that has connected Zambia and Botswana as well as the southern African region hence the commissioning ceremony was graced by various heads of state including His Excellency Mr. Félix Antoine Tshisekedi Tshilombo, President of the Democratic Republican of Congo and African Union Chairperson who was also the Guest of Honour, His Excellency Mr. Filipe Jacinto Nyusi, President of Mozambique and Southern African Development Community (SADC) Chairperson, Hs Excellency Dr.. Mokgweetsi Masisi, President of Botswana and His Excellency Dr. Emmerson Mnangagwa, President of Zimbabwe among other dignitaries.
And the Head of State has said that in addition to national and bilateral significance, the facility would also promote regional and continental integration as it would facilitate increased intra-African trade.
He said that the development would give impetus to the implementation of the SADC-eastern African community-common market for Eastern and Southern Africa (SADC-EAC-COMESA) tripartite free trade area and the African Continental Free Trade Area.
“This facility is a critical milestone in the development of the north-south corridor as it will also facilitate access to international markets through linkages to major seaports,” President Lungu added.
And President Lungu has expressed gratitude to the African Union and SADC for their support and inclusion of the project in the SADC Regional Infrastructure Development Masterplan and the Programme for Infrastructure Development in Africa.
He said he was confident that the Kazungula Bridge Project would contribute positively towards the achievement of a prosperous Africa as aspired for in the African Union Agenda 2063.
“Going forward, we need to ensure that we operationalize this multi-million-dollar facility in an efficient and effective manner to ensure sustainability and the attainment of its intended objectives,” President Lungu said.
He added that the facility required continued collaboration, ownership and responsible action on the part of all the stakeholders involved including the users, border agencies, surrounding communities, facilitators, and managers of the facilities.
President lungu has since called for the establishment of the Kazungula Bridge Authority that would manage and maintain the facility on behalf of the two governments.