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Korean multinational Daewoo Engineering and Construction has been awarded a tender to construct the long awaited Kazungula Bridge between Botswana and Zambia. Last week the company announced that it had won the tender for construction of Kazungula Bridge, connecting Zambia and Botswana, at a price of US$161, 961 million.
The Ministry of Transport and Communications (MTC) has also announced that the governments of Botswana and Zambia will sign the contract agreement for the project (package 1) with Daewoo E&C on September 5 in Livingstone, Namibia. The Kazungula Bridge project is expected to be a stepping stone for Daewoo E&C to expand its influence in Southern Africa as it looks to tap into opportunities expected from the region’s ambitious infrastructure development projects, which are aimed at driving the Southern African Development Community (SADC)’s regional integration agenda.
The project’s joint steering committee met in Kasane earlier this year to discuss among others preparations for the ground breaking ceremony and present a status update on the project. The multi-million dollar project will connect the North-South corridor through a 923m long by 18.5m wide rail/road bridge on the border between Botswana and Zambia, which lies at the confluence of the Chobe and the Zambezi Rivers, as well as two one stop border facilities, access roads and ramps.
The project, which will cost a total US$259.3m, is funded by loans from the Japan International Cooperation Agency (JICA) and African Development Bank (AfDB) plus contributions from both the governments of Botswana and Zambia. The two countries signed a sponsor’s agreement in March 2012. Botswana’s trade officials have expressed confidence that the project will address current challenges imposed by the existing ferry service, which is a major bottleneck to trade and smooth flow of people, goods and services. The project will also facilitate trade between the two countries and the SADC region by reducing the number of days taken by truckers at the Kazungula border from six days to six hours, improving border management operations and reducing time-based trade and transport costs. Statistics show that the project will reduce vehicle operating costs by US$ 3,756,367 for passenger vehicles and US$ 2,350,100 for trucks per year by the year 2020.
The expected time-savings amount to US$ 1.4 per vehicle/hour for private cars and US$ 11.1 per vehicle/hour for buses and another US$ 2.45 per vehicle/hour for trucks. Other expected benefits include improved regional connectivity of the North South Transport Corridor, regional integration in SADC, improved trade competitiveness and creation of employment opportunities. The project is expected to employ up to 500 people during construction and another 100 people to operate and manage the bridge after completion. In addition to the loan, JICA has pledged to provide to Botswana with technical assistance worth US$ 6 million, which will cover capacity building in the form of project management, and operations of the one-stop border post.