Kasane — President Lt Gen. Dr Seretse Khama Ian Khama and his Zambian as well as Zimbabwean counterparts, Messrs Edgar Lungu and Emmerson Mnangagwa respectively met on March 10 in Kasane to appreciate progress on Kazungula Bridge project.
The three presidents engaged in a closed meeting prior to touring the project. Briefing the media, the portfolio ministers of the three countries said the leaders were happy about the progress of the project.
Botswana's Minister of Transport and Communications, Mr Kitso Mokaila said the purpose of the visit was to look at the possibility of including Zimbabwe in the project.
Mr Mokaila said the proposal by the presidents was for the ministers to ensure speedy completion of the current project and look at the poosibilities of establishing a Zimbabwean One Stop Border Post (OSBP) situated on the Botswana side. He explained that the Zimbabwean OSBP would come as the second phase of the on-going project.
Zambia's Minister of Housing and Infrastructure Development, Mr Ronald Chitotela said the presidents appreciated the project progress and encouraged the ministers to ensure it was open for public use March next year.
Minister of Transport and Infrastructure in Zimbabwe, Mr Joram Gumbo said his president was happy about Botswana and Zambia's willingness to accommodate his country.
He explained that his country was in the process of rebuilding its economy and its inclusion in the Kazungula Bridge project was part of the exercise.
Zimbabwe was initially part of the project and pulled out of the agreement in 2010.
The estimated total project cost is US$ 259.3 million funded through a co-financing arrangement with the Japanese International Cooperation Agency (JICA), African Development Bank and EU-Africa Infrastructure Trust Fund grant.
The project is divided into three packages; the bridge which consists of the 923 rail road, Botswana OSBP and Zambia OSBP. The first package is expected to complete in March next year, the second in September while the third package is expected to be completed in December next year.
Source : BOPA