BENEDICT TEMBO, Kazungula
MBULO Seke has arrived in Kazungula at the right time, when the Southern Province rural district is undergoingmonumental transformation.
Apart from the Kazungula Rail Bridge being constructed across the Zambezi River to land-link Zambia to Botswana, a South African company Leadfit Holdings will build 4,000 housing units.
The Kazungula Bridge and Border Project (KBBP) entails the construction of new infrastructure to replace the existing ferry and border facilities between Zambia and Botswana at Kazungula.
It is a key road and rail bridge crossing over the Zambezi River along the North â€“ South Corridor, a critical trade route linking the port of Durban in South Africa to the inland countries of Botswana, Zambia, Zimbabwe, Malawi, Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC), up to Dar-es-Salaam in Tanzania.
The Kazungula Bridge Project (KBP) is a multi-national project on the North-South Corridor within the Southern African Development Community (SADC) region and part of a corridor-long infrastructure improvement programme.
The project scope includes a bridge linking Botswana and Zambia over the Zambezi River to replace the existing ferry and juxtaposed one-stop border facilities at Kazungula. The project main components comprise the construction of a new road/rail bridge, one-stop-border-post facilities and access roads at Kazungula border. The project also includes the complementary components.
The projectsâ€™ comprises the construction of road/rail bridge with a span of 932 metres over the Zambezi River; border Facilities in each country and approximately 10 kilometres of bridge approach and access roads.
Mr Seke, the Kazungula Municipal Council secretary, said the development by Leadfit in the southern part of the district will also include a hospital, offices and a commercial centre.
Mr Seke said the developer will be given undeveloped plots off the M10, the Livingstone â€“ Sesheke road.
He said there is a huge business niche in Kazungula.
Mr Seke said anybody who builds a house in the district is assured of finding tenants.
â€œThat is why the local authority is not comfortable seeing land offered to citizens not being developed. For us as a council, it is the surest way of developing the district, this is a huge amount coming to Kazungula to supplement citizensâ€™ efforts in developing the district,â€ Mr Seke, recently transferred from Kawambwa, said.
The construction of the long-awaited rail bridge across the Zambezi river has commenced with the erection of a platform to be helping ferry materials.
The bridge will help in boosting trade between Zambia and Botswana as well as the entire SADC.
â€œZambia has committed itself under the SADC protocol to open up the region and speed up trade as a way of opening development and the movement of goods and services between SADC countries. The flow of goods and services will be speeded up, this is being inhibited by the pontoon which sometimes breaks down,â€ Mr Seke said.
He said the more goods are quickly cleared by having an all-weather bridge, the better.
Mr Seke said Zambian traders want goods cleared faster so that they get to the shelves.
â€œThere will be no issue of delays. During the construction of the bridge, jobs will be created,â€ he said.
Apart from Zambians and Tswanas benefitting from jobs, there will also be multiplier effects arising as the income will boost local businesses.
â€œLocal businesses (in Zambia and Botswana) will be boosted through the bridge project,â€ he said.
Kazungula has seen an influx of migrants, seeking to get employment as well as benefit from business created by the construction of the rail bridge which will also have a one-stop custom area.
â€œThe influx is coming as a result of the project, many want to supply to the project (materials), others to the workers, it is an opportunity for entrepreneurs. Any huge project tends to attract smaller ventures around it,â€ Mr Seke said.
The European Union-Africa Infrastructure Trust Fund (EU-AITF), whose main objective is to promote investment in infrastructure in Sub-Saharan Africa through various forms of grants, is supporting the Kazungula Bridge Authority project in its first phase of preparation.
JICA designed the bridge but pulled out of financing. African Development Bank is funding the one-stop border post.
BENEDICT TEMBO, Kazungula