Kazungula — Botswana-Zambia's dream of facilitating bilateral and regional trade became a reality Monday when President Dr Mokgweetsi Masisi and his Zambian counterpart, Mr Edgar Lungu opened the colossal Kazungula bridge and one-stop border post.
The P2.7 billion project, co-financed by Botswana and Zambia, has been hailed as an important milestone in the facilitation of trade between the two states and beyond.
The presence of African Union (AU) chairperson and Democratic Republic of Congo president Mr Felix Tshesekedi, who also officiated, signifies the economic importance of the project.
Also gracing the historic event were Mozambique president and current SADC chair, Mr Filipe Nyusi, Zimbabwe's President Emmerson Mnangagwa, acting eSwatini prime minister, Senator Themba Masuku and Namibian vice president Dr Nangolo Mbumba. The state of the art bridge is expected to ease access to international markets and help maximize the SADC north-south corridor operational efficiency as well as promote regional economic integration.
It is also anticipated to significantly cut down on both freight and passenger transit time thanks to the one-stop border post components on either side of the border.
SADC executive secretary, Dr Stergomena Lawrence-Tax said the commissioning of the project was going to enhance regional integration, generate revenue and increase economic development.
The masterpiece of the two neighbouring states, according to Dr Lawrence-Tax, symbolised the SADC motto of unity of purpose towards a common future.
"I am confident that SADC member states will take forward this noble practice of working together for a common goal and expedite the construction of other regional gateways," she said.
Realisation of increased inter-regional trade, economic growth and jobs, especially for the youth, depended on improved transport networks and trade facilitation, she pointed out.
President Emmerson Mnangagwa described the successful completion of the bridge and its commissioning by Botswana and Zambia as a milestone in the SADC region.
He therefore thanked presidents Dr Masisi and Dr Lungu who in 2018 extended an invitation to Zimbabwe to be part of the project.
President Mnangagwa promised that in the fullness of time, Zimbabwe would be part and parcel of the initiative which he said accelerated regional integration efforts.
Source : BOPA