Kazungula bridge construction to begin in 2014
Construction of the Kazungula Bridge that is expected to ease trade between Botswana and Zambia is expected to begin next year.
The call was made recently by the Ministers of Transport for Zambia and Botswana, Yamfwa Mukanga and Nonofo Molefhi, respectively, in Kasane.
The proposed Kazungula Bridge construction project, requires companies with proven track record in executing projects of this nature and magnitude, and possesses the requisite expertise and financial capacity.
The pre-qualification for the construction of bridge and railway will be closed on the 22nd of August 2013 whereupon qualifying companies will be shortlisted and requested to submit their financial and technical proposals.
According to the Minister Molefhi, “The Kazungula Bridge Project presents huge opportunities for local contractors in Zambia and Botswana to enhance their skills through partnerships with international constructions firms.”
Currently, the Design and Supervision Consultancy Services for the project are being provided by a joint venture comprising six (6) firms, with very strong representation from both Zambia and Botswana.
The project is a multi-national project on the North-South corridor on the Zambezi River in Kazungula.
The 923m long rail/road bridge, two one stop border posts and access roads and ramps are being implemented by the Governments of Botswana and Zambia.
The US$259.3 million project is funded by loans from the Japan International Cooperation Agency (JICA) and African Development Bank (AfDB) and contributions from both the governments of Botswana and Zambia.
This follows the signing of the Sponsors Agreement between the Governments of Botswana and Zambia on 30th March, 2012, in Gaborone, Botswana.
The Agreement formed the basis for the two countries to fund and execute the project.
It will facilitate trade between the two countries and the SADC region by reducing the number of days taken by truckers at the Border from six (6) days to six (6) hours, improve border management operations arising from the new one stop border post (OSBP) facilities and reduce time-based trade and transport costs.
According to the Minister of Transport, Works, Supply and Communications for Zambia, Yamfwa Mukanga, “the Kazungula Bridge project does not just constitute construction of a bridge for ease of access, but should be looked at as a vehicle for enhancing trade facilitation in the Southern African sub-region.
Additionally, the two governments view this project as a platform for both local empowerment and technology transfer in line with citizen empowerment initiatives.”
The SADC region stands to gain from the project through increased traffic throughput along the north-south corridor, increased trade and global competitiveness of goods from Botswana, Zambia and the entire Southern African sub-region due to reduced transit times and transport costs.
The launch of the construction of the project is expected to take place in March 2014.