Zambia and the Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC) have commenced high-level, bilateral discussions about the Kasomeno-Mwenda Toll Road Project (KMTR) and one-stop border posts (OSBP) being developed by GED Africa Ltd. The inaugural Kasomeno-Mwenda Border Discussions were held in Livingstone, Zambia, from 2nd to 4th March 2023, and were led by the Republic of Zambia’s Minister of Infrastructure, Housing, and Urban Development, the Hon. Charles Milupi, and Nico Nzau Nzau, the Director-General of the ACGT in the DRC.
The three-day workshop focused on the structured layers of the joint steering committees and how to harmonize legal frameworks for the One Stop Border Post Agreement (OSBPA). The steering committees are composed of senior representatives from various ministries, the Road Development Agency (RDA), and Agence Congolaise des Grand Travaux (ACGT), Zambia and DRC’s road works agencies, respectively. The workshop was hailed as a significant milestone in efforts to actualize the project.
“The new Zambian administration is committed to further strengthening our bilateral relations for socio-economic developments,” said the Hon. Charles Milupi in his opening remarks. Nico Nzau Nzau of the ACGT added, “Our main objective is to iron out any differences of views in order to facilitate trade by the efficient movement of goods and people in the COMESA and SADC regions, and to improve the socio-economic conditions of populations along the river, as well the economic indicators of our respective nations.”
Livingstone was chosen as the venue for the workshops due to its proximity to the Kazungula OSBP between Zambia and Botswana. Day one concluded with a site inspection and walk-through of the streamlined customs and immigration processes and procedures. Kazungula is considered a model of which to structure GED Africa’s OSBP development along the planned 185km route connecting the mineral-rich Haut-Katanga to Luapula’s agricultural sector.
Day two started with a constructive debrief on what was witnessed during the site visit, and Zambia presented lessons learned from Kazungula’s development. GED Africa, as the concessionaire, presented the strategy and conceptual OSBP design. Day three concluded with a project status update from GED Africa’s CEO, Klaus Findt, who remarked that “The KMTR Bilateral Meeting marks a critical milestone in the improvement of trade and transport between the DRC and Zambia. The KMTR is perfectly positioned to facilitate local trade and unlock the region’s potential through enhanced access to international markets through East African ports.”
The GED Africa Route Project is a regional corridor development initiative, conceptualized by GED Africa, and structured as a 25-year build-operate-transfer project between the subsidiaries of GED Africa (GED Congo and GED Zambia) and the Governments of the DRC and Zambia under separate concession agreements. GED Africa is the ultimate owner of the rights to design, build, and operate the GED Africa Route, which includes the upgrade and greenfield road construction from Kasomeno, DRC, to Mwenda, Zambia, a modern 345-meter cable-stay bridge across the Luapula River, and one-stop border posts in each country.