‘Infrastructure key to Africa’s integration agenda’

DOREEN NAWA, Malawi, Equatorial Guinea
THE completion of Kazungula Bridge and the Zambia Tanzania Kenya Power Interconnector will help connect East and Southern Africa to the rest of the continent making Africa’s integration a reality, says Common Market for East and Southern Africa (COMESA).
COMESA secretary general Chileshe Kapwepwe cited infrastructure as one of the constraints to economic development for most countries in Africa.
Ms Kapwepwe said greater economic activity, enhanced efficiency and increased competitiveness are hampered by inadequate transport and power infrastructure among others.
“To actualise an integrated Africa, the continent needs adequate infrastructure like secured energy, efficient transport and reliable communication systems to enhance economic growth.
“Africa’s vast infrastructure deficit is a constraint on its growth, but also an opportunity to leapfrog to new, more efficient technologies,” Ms Kapwepwe said in an interview on the side-lines of the African Development Bank (AfDB) 2019 annual meeting here in Malabo, Equatorial Guinea.
The theme of this year’s meeting which runs from June 11-14, 2019, is ‘Regional Integration for Africa’s Economic Prosperity.
Ms Kapwepwe, however, said the trend is changing for the East and Southern African region following the improvement on the Nacala Transport Corridor and the Southern African Power Pool (SAPP).
One of the notable projects on the Nacala Transport Corridor is the on-going Kazungula Bridge construction and under the SAPP is the 2,300kilometre Zambia-Tanzania-Kenya (ZTK) power interconnector, which seeks to link the three countries. This will subsequently create a link between SAPP and the East African Power Pool, making it possible to transmit power from Cape to Cairo.
Kazungula Bridge, comprising of a road and rail, crosses over the Zambezi River along the North – South Corridor.
It is the key trade route linking the port of Durban in South Africa to the inland countries of Botswana, Zambia, Zimbabwe, Malawi, DRC, and up to Dar-es-Salaam in Tanzania.
Ms Kapwepwe said the availability and use of electricity will greatly influence how rapidly the East and Southern African countries increase their agricultural and industrial productivity

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