Housing and Infrastructure Development Minister Hon. Vincent Mwale together with his Botswana counterpart Hon. Thulangano Segokgo on 17th October 2020 jointly carried out the final inspection of the 923m long by 18.5 m wide Kazungula Bridge.
The two Minister’s first had a virtual bilateral meeting before undertaking the inspection of the bridge and later held a joint media briefing on the middle of the master piece bridge. The final inspection signifies that the Kazungula bridge is now ready to be officially commissioned by the Presidents of Zambia and Botswana.
And Mr. Mwale said the two governments are excited that the master piece bridge has been completed. He said the two Governments who have successfully honoured the financial obligations towards financing the bridge are excited because the facility will help easy movement of goods and services not only between the two countries but the entire Southern African region. Hon Mwale further announced that the ferry or Pontoon that is currently operating will be moved to other needy areas once the bridge is officially commissioned.
“We are excited that this state-of-the-art bridge has been completed and I have been told that this facility will reduce the transit time for heavy duty vehicles between Zambia and Botswana from more than 3 days to only 2 hours. This is a great milestone in the promotion of trade and regional integration.” Hon Mwale said.
And Hon Thulangano Segokgo said Botswana is excited with the successful completion of the Kazungula bridge which is one of the best Modern engineering ventures not only in Southern Africa but the entire Africa.
“As Botswana, we proud that this great piece of engineering will further improve our two countries cordial and warm relations and promote regional integration in the region and increase trade traffic between the two countries.” Hon. Segokgo said.
He said it is even more exciting that there have been no fatalities recorded during the entire construction period of the bridge.
And Southern Province Minister Edify Hamukale said the province is impressed with the facility which is one of the biggest in Africa. He said the Province is grateful to the Government for implementing the project.
“We the people of Southern Province cannot wait to see the operationalisation of the Bridge. That is how excited we are with this Bridge.” Hon Hamukale said.
Meanwhile Housing and Infrastructure Development Permanent Secretary Eng. DANNY MFUNE says Zambia and Botswana have made significant progress in coming up with the Kazungula Bridge Project Authority. Eng. MFUNE says the authority will administrator the day to day operations of the Kazungula Bridge one stop border facility.
“The bridge has surly shown that Zambia’s quest of being transformed from a land locked to a land linked is indeed bearing fruit.” Eng. Mfune pointed out.
He also added that bilateral meetings between technocrats from the two countries on formation of the Kazungula Bridge Authority to run the affairs of the Kazungula bridge have reached an advanced stage.
The ceremony was also witnessed by Transport and communications Minister Misheck Lungu, Zambia’s High Commissioner to Botswana Mwansa Kapaya, Road Development Agency (RDA) Acting Chief Executive Officer Eng. George Manyele among many others.
The Kazungula Bridge Project (KBP) is a joint multi-national project between Zambia and Botswana and has been co-financed by the two governments.
The extra dosed cable stayed bridge is located at the confluence of the Zambezi and Chobe rivers about 65km upstream the mighty Victoria Falls.
The bridge is also part of the North South corridor which carries about 85% of the regional freight traffic dominated by trading activities of Zambia, Democratic Republic of Congo and South Africa.
The Road Development Agency (RDA) and the Ministry of Transport and Communications of Botswana are the executing agencies.
The Kazungula Bridge is expected to boost trade and commerce between the two nations and also increase economic activities and prospects of other land linked countries such as Zimbabwe, Malawi, Namibia, the Democratic Republic of Congo and Mozambique.
The Kazungula Bridge project consists of three packages.
Package one is the actual 923m long rail and road bridge which now stands at 100% complete while package 2 is the one stop border post on the Botswana side and package 3 is the one stop border post on the Zambian side.
The Kazungula bridge is expected to improve efficiency of transit traffic and reduction on the prolonged periods of time that local and international freight would have to spend on either side of the border.
The bridge is also envisaged to Improve Border management operations at One Stop Border Facilities on either side of the two countries.
The Kazungula Bridge has answered all the challenges imposed by the existing ferry service that has been taking 2 trucks when crossing the Zambezi River.