Southern Times Writer
The project to construct a new railway line linking Zimbabwe, Botswana and Mozambique has received top priority with Presidents Emmerson Mnangagwa and Seretse Khama Ian Khama committing to revive the project that will benefit the three Southern African Development Community (sadc) countries.
Speaking to journalists soon after touring the Kazungula bridge project at the weekend, President Mnangagwa said he had discussed the project with President Khama, with the two leaders agreeing to give a kiss of life to the venture.
President Mnangagwa said the two presidents had tasked a Joint Commission between the two countries to craft the strategy to get the project going.
“When I had a discussion last time with President Khama, we discussed the issue. Khama is very interested in resuscitating the project. We are also very anxious to resuscitate the project, so the issue has now been put before the Joint Commission to discuss the way forward but at the principals’ level we agreed that we must resuscitate the project.”
The railway line is expected to link Francistown in Botswana, Bulawayo in Zimbabwe and the Mozambican port of Techobanine to facilitate regional trade.
In 2016, Zimbabwe, Botswana and Mozambique signed a memorandum of understanding (MoU) for the project.
According to that MoU, each country is expected to provide US$200 million towards the cost of the project, with the rest of the work to be done through public-private partnerships (PPPs).
On completion, the railway line would facilitate inter-regional trade through the movement of passenger rail traffic and up to 12 million tonnes of goods per annum through Zimbabwe.
Zimbabwe is opening up for business and President Mnangagwa has set about mending political and economic relations with the world.
President Mnangagwa has placed enhancing relations with SADC countries on the political and economic podia, as one of his top priorities and he has re-engaged with President Khama, who had a strained relationship with former President Robert Mugabe.