Lusaka – Zambia has spent US$1 billion in recent years as it invests in promoting aviation sector growth and tourism, President Edgar Lungu has said.
Commissioning a state-of-the-art terminal at Kenneth Kaunda International Airport in Zambia last week, built with a loan from China, President Lungu said his government would continue investing in aviation and tourism.
It is anticipated that the new terminal will increase traffic through Kenneth Kaunda International Airport, which was opened in 1967, from two million to six million people yearly.
“This is one chosen trajectory meant to facilitate development in our country. There can never be economic development in any nation, without infrastructure development” President Lungu said.
The Zambian leader, who faced a general election on August 12, challenged exporters of processed goods – particularly in the floriculture and horticulture subsectors – to make maximum use of the cargo facilities at Kenneth Kaunda and Mwansa Kapwepwe international airports to promote trade and boost economic growth.
The new facility at Kenneth Kaunda International includes a cargo terminal, an air traffic control building, rescue and fire station, a mall, a Presidential Pavilion, and the Zambia Air Services Training Institute.
The terminal was commissioned in the same week as that of the US$269 million Simon Mwansa Kapwepwe International Airport in Ndola, northern Zambia.
Under a multibillion dollar growth plan, the government identified the transport sector and aviation sub-sector as key enablers of the economic diversification agenda through the promotion of tourism and industrialisation.
At last week’s commissioning, President Lungu also warned that all these efforts at economic growth would be in vain if the nation did not safeguard its peace and stability before, during and after elections.
“Investors and tourists will choose peaceful destinations over trouble spots. This is why peace must be maintained at all costs,” he said.
Estimates by the World Travel and Tourism Council’s indicate Africa last year lost between US$53 billion and US$120 billion in GDP due to the slump in tourism because of the COVID-19 pandemic.