Botswana and Zambia have capitalised on their friendship to legalise the establishment as well as operation of One Stop Border Post on the Kazungula bridge, ahead of the bridge’s official launch this month.
The two countries signed a bilateral agreement this past week which was a culmination of years of planning and implementation on the infrastructure. The main objective of this agreement which is to ‘enhance trade facilitation, through the efficient movement of goods and people between Botswana and Zambia and within the SADC, the Tripartite of SADC, Eastern African Community (EAC) and COMESA and other regions.`
The Kazungula Bridge Project comprises three packages (Package 1, 2 and 3). Package 1 is the construction of a 923m long, 18.5m wide cable stayed road/rail bridge and approach ramps, at a cost of P174 million. Package 2 is the construction of One Stop Border Post facilities in Botswana, whereas Package 3 is the construction of One Stop Border Post facilities in Zambia.
President Mokgweetsi Masisi and his Zambian counter-part President Edgar Lungu are set to officially open the Kazungula Bridge Project on the 10th of May 2021.
Minister of Finance and Economic Development Peggy Serame and Zambia Minister of Commerce, Trade and Industry Christopher Yaluma represented the two countries at the signing.
Minister Serame said “the bridge and its associated works, will facilitate efficient trade and boost regional economies. This will be achieved by significantly reducing transit time for freight and passengers, as well as improved border management operations arising from the One Stop Border Post facilities.”
“The bridge and its associated works, will facilitate efficient trade and boost regional economies. This will be achieved by significantly reducing transit time for freight and passengers, as well as improved border management operations arising from the One Stop Border Post facilities,” Serame said.
For Zambia, if Kazungula bridges becomes operational in May, 2021, it will be the first One Stop Border Post that would have been specifically designed and built to operate as a ONE STOP Border facility with infrastructure that mirrors on both our side and the adjuring state.
Zambia Minister Yaluma said “the Kazungula Border post is a Principal Border for the Zambia on the North South Corridor, for both Imports and Exports including Transits. In the recent past year (i.e. April 2020 to April 2021), during this COVID pandemic period, the Kazungula border has handled or facilitated over Twenty Six Thousand (26,365) in traffic volumes in total for Imports, Exports and Transits, an average of just slightly over seventy (70) trucks a day.”
“Though relatively low, it is expected that this volume will increase on account of smart trade facilitation tools and framework that comes with the One Stop Border Post and a more guaranteed safe mode of crossing the Great Zambezi river, the Bridge on which we are now standing,” Yaluma said.
The One Stop Border Post facilities on the Botswana side were built at the cost of P440 million as for Zambia an amount of K330 million was spent on construction of the facilities.
The two ministers challenged those who will be operating the One Stop Border Post from both countries to rise to the occasion in terms of provision of high quality and efficient service to the public.