Southern Times Writer
Three Southern African presidents, Seretse Khama Ian Khama (Botswana), Emmerson Mnangagwa (Zimbabwe) and Edgar Lungu will this Saturday visit Botswana to evaluate developments at the Kazungula Bridge that seeks to boost regional integration.
The project comprises a bridge joining Botswana and Zambia over the Zambezi River to replace the current ferry, and a one-stop border facility at Kazungula.
Its strategic location will ensure that it links Botswana, Zambia, Malawi, the Democratic Republic of Congo, Mozambique, Tanzania, South Africa and Zimbabwe.
This corridor is the busiest of all regional corridors in SADC, connecting landlocked countries to the port of Durban, the regional hub for export and imports.
The corridor will mostly benefit businesses engaged in mining, agriculture and other service sectors.
In a statement on Tuesday, the Botswana government said the three presidents would assess progress at the project.
“His Excellency Lt- Gen Dr Seretse Khama Ian Khama, His Excellency Edgar Lungu and His Excellency Emmerson Mnangagwa will visit Kasane on Saturday 10th March at 0900hrs to appreciate progress on the Kazungula Bridge project and conduct a Kazungula Bridge tour,” said the Botswana government.
The Botswana government said the Kazungula Bridge project would provide the much-needed boost for trade relations among SADC member states.
“The project will facilitate trade through reduced transit time for freight and passengers and reduced time-based trade and transport costs,” it said. “There will also be improved border management operations arising from the new one-stop border facilities.
“The project will contribute to boosting of the regional economy through increased traffic throughout the North-South Corridor; increased global competitiveness of goods as a function of reduced time-based trade and transport costs; and reduction of transit time from three days to less than half a day.”
Saturday’s meeting in Botswana will be President Mnangagwa’s second visit to the neighbouring country since his inauguration last November.
The Zimbabwean President visited Botswana last month after being invited by President Khama.
During the State visit, various economic co-operation deals were signed between the two countries.
Last week, South Africa’s President Cyril Ramaphosa also visited Botswana as part of consultative meetings with SADC Heads of States.