Southern Africa: Zambia Sees Lobito Corridor As a Strong Platform for Linking Nations

Solwezi — The minister of Zambia's North West Province, Robert Lihefu, emphasised this Monday in the Zambian town of Solwezi that his country is interested in the Lobito Corridor for inter-regional development, as he considers it to be a strong project and a route to linking strong nations from the Atlantic to the Indian Ocean".

The provincial governor of Zambia's North West Province made these statements at a courtesy meeting he had with the governor of the Angolan Province of Moxico, Ernesto Muangala, and his delegation, who are taking part in the 2nd Meeting of the Forum for Regional Cooperation and Cultural Exchange between the two provinces taking place from 4th to 7th of the current month.

In the first phase, the Lobito Corridor was selected from among 40 European and North American investment projects aiming to expand the railway which will become the main rail transport infrastructure linking the Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC) and Zambia to global markets through Angola.

From Zambia and DRC it will be extended to Tanzania and finally to the Indian Ocean.

The Lobito Rail Corridor stretches for almost 1,300 kilometres in Angola, passing through the provinces of Benguela, Huambo, Bié and Moxico. In addition the infrastructure passes in the DRC until Zambia on a 400-kilometre route.

It will also be linked to the extensive railway network run by the National Railway Society of Congo.

For Governor Ernesto Muangala, the project will facilitate commercial transactions and the export of copper and nickel, since the region is the world's second largest producer of cobalt and has the largest nickel reserves in the world.

He also highlighted the importance of the cooperation forum, adding that it can increase and improve partnerships in the sector of trade, cultural development, business opportunities to generate jop posts for young people, particularly women, without neglecting the health, education, defence and security fields, among others.

In this regard, the official stressed that the current global context brings challenges and many uncertainties, which is why interaction is favoured in order to develop cooperation that meets the expectations of citizens.

He argued that it is also necessary to expand and interconnect road and railway networks, taking into account that Angola is making major efforts to restore and build infrastructure, such as the Lobito corridor, which will facilitate the interconnection and movement of people and goods between the Atlantic and Indian oceans.

He reiterated that construction of a railway branch will soon be underway in the Province of Moxico in the municipality of Luacano, which will connect to Zambia, passing through the north-western province to guarantee greater links and trade.

According to him, Angola is investing seriously in the field of telecommunications, with emphasis on the Angolan satellite ANGOSAT II which is in a position to provide services in the southern African region.

"Entrepreneurs from the north-western province and Zambians in general can find a good investment environment in Angola, and in Moxico in particular, through the tax benefits and exemptions provided for in the legislation in force, giving privileged treatment to investors interested in setting up and implementing businesses and in business partnerships," he said, reinforcing his invitation to Zambian businesspeople to invest in the Angola.

On Tuesday, the second day of the Forum, visits to agricultural farms, mining and energy projects are planned, as was the case today with the Kansanshi mine, the largest in the country, which employs more than 7,000 people and operates in an area 10 kilometres long and five kilometres wide.

This initiative by the Moxico government to establish cooperation agreements with the neighbouring provinces of Zambia is aimed at fulfilling the desire of the Head of State, João Lourenço, and Zambian President Hakainde Hichilema, manifested in early 2023 to explore the strategic potential of the Lobito Corridor.


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