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- Masisi, Hichilema advance Kazungula border authority set up
- Authority to be headquartered in Botswana
- To be led by Zambian CEO
- Ministers technocrats developing necessary deliverables
- Holistic cooperation programme to be signed in 2 months
Presidents Mokgweetsi Masisi and Hakainde Hichilema of Botswana and Zambia have during the latter’s working visit to Botswana this week announced that they have agreed to expedited the establishment of the Kazungula Bridge Authority.
Hichilema and Masisi met in Kasane, where the former was on a two day working visit at invitation of Botswana – and the two leaders engaged in discussions geared towards deepening economic cooperation in agriculture, mining, tourism, defence and security.
Addressing the media following the engagements, the two leaders announced decision to establish the Kazungula Bridge Authority, which will facilitate further- the efficacious processing of goods and people to ensure their smooth movement and facilitate trade.
Botswana and Zambia are scheduled to sign its Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) at Livingstone, Zambia in two months’ time.
Addressing the joint press conference with President Hichilema, Masisi revealed that the consolidation of the authority was confirmed and finalised on Wednesday.
He further revealed that the two leaders have directed the authority’s headquarters be in Botswana while its Chief Executive Offer will be a Zambian national.
Meanwhile Masisi has indicated that both Botswana and Zambia ministers responsible for the establishment of the authority are expected to complete all other outstanding issues needed to operationalize it as well as develop its legal entity to ensure that it functions in terms of budget, payments and procedure among others.
As for its roles, the president indicated the Kazungula Bridge Authority will be tasked with ensuring that the access roads to the bridge are widened and made convenient while in the same manner ensuring that it enhance ICT and technology inputs efficiency.
He added that the authority ably marshalled by the two ministers has also been tasked to ensure that Botswana and Zambia are not only compared with the best in Africa, but instead they thrive over them and begins to compete globally in terms of efficiency and investment.
“We expect the bridge to be the facility of choice for industry, passengers and everybody else, and they (ministers) said they are going to do it,” Masisi said.
Responding to a question if there are any ideas to rename the bridge to Trans-Zambezi Bridge, Masisi answered, “there is no appetite and never was and will not be to change the name. Zambezi remains the river and others but this bridge is Kazungula.”
For his part, President Hichilema appreciated that the bridge is a great asset that has facilitated the speedy and efficiency in delivery of services between the two countries and has also grown their economies. Speaking to their bi-lateral discussions, Hichilema said his hope is that all the discussions that were made during his two working day visit to Botswana will produce results and be implemented effectively to create value for the two nations.
The $260 million Kazungula Bridge being a joined project between Botswana and Zambian governments was officially opened in May 2021. The 923-metre-long (3,028 ft) by 18.5-metre-wide (61 ft) bridge has a longest span of 129 metres (423 ft) and links the town of Kazungula in Zambia with Botswana.