Government says the new Kenneth Kaunda International Conference Centre (KKICC) will be handed over to government on May 16, 2022 in readiness for the upcoming African Union (AU) meeting slated for July this year.
Infrastructure, Housing and Urban Development Minister, Charles Milupi, said the facility is at 99.9 percent completion and only final touches are remaining.
Mr Milupi explained that after the handover of the conference, testing of equipment will commence to ensure that all facilities such as water, ablution blocks among others are working.
Speaking when he inspected the KKICC to check on the progress so far, Mr Milupi said the installation of equipment and landscaping will follow in a bid to promote a green environment around the multi-million facility.
He noted that the first meeting that will take place in the new conference is the African Union (AU) mid-term Coordinating conference earmarked to take place from July 14 to 17, 2022.
“I can confidently say that this facility is ready in every aspect for Zambia to host the conference in July this year looking at the progress so far,” he said.
Mr Milupi further added that the conference which is a gift from China to the tune of $60 million, can accommodate over 2,500 delegates at one sitting.
The Minister also urged the people that will be in charge of looking after the state of the art facility to guard it jealously so as to avoid vandalism and that constant maintenance must be there in order to preserve the centre.
“There is a tendency to build good infrastructure, but lack of maintenance, is a sad state of affair, but with the new dawn administration, the narrative will change,” said Mr Milupi.
“The only way our building such as this one, as well as other infrastructure can last longer is by constantly doing routine maintenance on them, he added.
He said after the AU mid-term Coordinating conference, the facility will continue to host important summits both from SADC and the world at large as the centre will be available to both public and private entities.
The Minister also took the occasion to urge the hospitality industry to up their game to serve the people that will be coming to use the Conference Centre by improving the standard of the hospitality sector.
And Ministry of Infrastructure, Housing and Urban Development Permanent Secretary, Danny Mfune said his Ministry is happy that the conference is completed to the expectation of the Ministry.
He also said plans are underway to expand the roads near the Conference to reduce on congestion at the centre during meetings.
Zambia is this year hosting the AU mid-term Coordinating conference in July, hence the construction of the facility.