Zambia’s Minister for Housing and Development, Vincent Mwale, has committed to paying any balance on the bridge by the end of the year. As of today, the government has made payments totaling US$73.7M and the current balance stands at US$8.7M, which Mwale declares will be settled soon.
According to the report the balance is currently in the account of the “holding agent” the National Road Fund Agency. The money will reportedly take a maximum of 56 days to be cleared as is custom when obtaining Interim Payment Certificates.
Mwale also commented on the status of the bridge:
“The works on the bridge have been completed with the Contractor attaining 100 percent physical progress on site. The taking over certificate was issued effective on 5th September, 2020 and the project is currently under defect notification period for a period of two years up to 2022. Currently, the contractor is working on the snags and defects which were identified at taking over stage. The final statement at completion is expected to be submitted by the contractor within 84 days from the time the taking over certificate was issued.”
The Kazungula Bridge
The Kazungula Bridge is one of the most promising projects currently being undertaken by the Zambian government. It aims to connect the Mostese region of Botswana and the towns of Kazungula and Livingstone in Zambia. The construction of the project was estimated to cost a total of US$259M and was initially agreed in 2011 as a partnership between the Zambian and Botswana governments. It received the initial financing from the African Development Bank and the Japan International Cooperation Agency. The Bridge is currently scheduled to open on the 30th December 2020 (in line with the initial projections).
The Kazungula region is special as it is one of few areas in the world that borders three different countries (Namibia, Zambia, Botswana and Zimbabwe). With the impending introduction of the AfCFTA (African Continetnal Free Trade Area) this could be an important trade border and could lead to the potential industrial boom in the area. According to some reports it may increase the levels of tourism in the area as well.