Seeing is believing after all these years but this is potentially good news for Livingstone – interesting that Japan is helping with the money. We hope that if they are also doing the bridge building it’s done better than the main road from the water tower on the outskirts of Livingstone to the Falls which is hopeless and gets worse day by hot day even though the work was only completed by the Japanese two years ago! Picture is the existing form of river crossing!!!
Zambia and Botswana have finally signed a loan agreement with the Japanese government to finance the construction project of Kazungula Bridge at a cost of US$124.22 million. The bridge project will be jointly financed by the Japanese government through the Japanese International Cooperation Agency (JICA) and the African Development Bank (AfDB). The signing ceremony which took place at the JICA headquarters in Tokyo on Friday was witnessed by Minister of Foreign Affairs Given Lubinda and Bank of Zambia Governor Michael Gondwe.
Under the agreement, JICA will provide US$41.77 million, AfDB US$78.41 million while Zambia will contribute US$1.57 million. The project comprises the construction of a new toll road, railway bridge with one stop-border post facilities and access roads at Kazungula border. Zambia’s Ambassador to Japan Mwelwa Chibesakunda signed on behalf of Zambia while Botswana’s Minister of Finance and Development Planning Ontefetse Matambo signed for the neighbouring country.
Mr Chibesakunda said the signing of the loan agreement marks another milestone in the history of the warm bilateral relations that exist between Zambia and Japan, describing the development as a significant step in regional integration.He said the bridge project which seeks to replace the current Zambezi river pontoon, will improve the efficiency of transit traffic through the Kazungula border thereby leading to increased trade activities and improvement of regional connectivity of the north-south corridor.
Mr Domichi said JICA is considering going beyond construction of the bridge to streamlining administrative processes at border posts for trade facilitation. And Mr Matambo, the Botswana Minister of Finance and Development planning, said the construction of the bridge at Kazungula will improve people’s movement between Botswana and Zambia.