Prosper Ndlovu, Business Editor
THE official opening of the Kazungula Bridge and One-Stop Border Post facilities next week Monday is expected to enhance Southern Africa’s access to international markets through connectivity with major seaports.
The new bridge provides a vital link between neighbouring Botswana and Zambia.
Its operationalising is seen as a giant step towards maximising the operational efficiency of the Sadc north-south corridor and enhancing regional economic integration.
The facility is also expected to ease congestion at the Beitbridge Border Post, touted as the busiest regional inland port of entry through Zimbabwe.
Freight and passenger transit time is also projected to be significantly reduced due to improved border management operations arising from the One-Stop Border facilities.
The construction of the bridge over the Mighty Zambezi River, commenced in December 2014 and the final inspection was undertaken by the Botswana Minister of Transport and Communications, Thulagano Merafe Segokgo and his Zambian counterpart, Vincent Mwale, in October 2020.
The government of Botswana announced the official opening dates in a Press statement that was shared on its Twitter account on Saturday.
“The Ministry of Transport and Communications is pleased to announce that the official opening of the Kazungula Bridge and one-stop border post facilities is scheduled for 10/5/2021.
“The Ministry of Transport and Communications applauds its strategic partner in this development, the Republic of Zambia for the successful completion of this magnificent project,” said the Botswana government.
“The project is an indication of the flourishing bilateral relations, which the two countries have enjoyed over time.
“The ministry further extends its gratitude to the co-funders, Japan International Cooperation Agency (JICA), African Development Bank (AfDB), and other major stakeholders for contributing enormously to ensure the project is realised.”
Following the devastating impacts of Covid-19, the Botswana government said the Kazungula Bridge was expected to enhance the prospects of attracting more private sector investment, boost the tourism sector and contribute to the advancement of the quality of life of the communities in the region.
According to the Botswana government, the bridge project has three components; being Package 1, 2 and 3 respectively consisting of the following:
Package 1 is the bridge, which is designed as an extra-dosed road-rail bridge to accommodate a future railway line, which will link Mosetse-Kazungula in Botswana to Kazungula-Livingstone in Zambia.
There is also a single carriageway for motor vehicles, a single railway track and pedestrian walkways on both sides. The bridge has specifications of length 18,5m width and span arrangement of 923m. This package also includes an approach road on the Botswana side of 302m and 416m on the Zambia side.
Packages 2 and 3 are the One-Stop-Border Post (OSBP) facilities on the Botswana and Zambia side respectively.
Each package consists of, among others, a passenger terminal, vehicle inspection building, freight inspection building, truck transit offices (entry and exit), health inspection building and veterinary offices.
The packages also cater for internal circulation roads and car parking facilities for buses, trucks and light motor vehicles as well as access roads to the new border posts.
The construction supervision was awarded to the Kazungula Bridge Consultants-Joint Venture comprising of Nippon Koei Co Ltd, Chodai Co Ltd, Gibb (Pty) Ltd, Bothakga Burrow Botswana (Pty) Ltd, CPP Botswana (Pty) Ltd and Zulu Burrow Development Consultants Ltd at a cost of US$15,7 million funded by JICA.
Package 1 was funded by both governments of Botswana and Zambia on a 50 percent basis. The contract was awarded to Daewoo Engineering and Construction at an original sum of US$161,9 million, which has been revised to US$174,2 million to incorporate 16 percent VAT component from the government of Zambia.
The One-Stop Border Post Botswana was funded by JICA exclusive of VAT while the Botswana government funded the VAT component.
The contract was awarded to Zhong Gan Engineering and Construction at a cost of BWP440 million.
The One Stop Border Post Zambia was funded by AfDB and the contract was awarded to Anhui Foreign Economic Construction Group Co. Ltd at a cost of ZMW263 670 419,98.