Zambia:Regional integration gets fillip

By Nawa Mutumweno – The Board of Directors of the African Development Fund (ADF), the concessional window of the African Development  Bank (AfDB) Group has approved a UA 63.369 million (USSD 95.6 million) loan to fund the Nacala Corridor Phase II Road Project (NCRP) in Zambia.

The NCRP aims at promoting economic growth and regional integration within the Southern African Development Community (SADC) through a reliable and efficient transport infrastructure to improve sub-regional trade and the region’s overall competitiveness.

The NCRP covers approximately 1 033 km of roads in Zambia, Malawi and Mozambique and two border posts. The project involves three phases. Phase I includes 348km of roads in Mozambique, and a 13km bypass road in Malawi. Phase II is an additional continuation of Phase I, and involves 360km of road in Zambia between Luangwa and Mwami. The project includes subsidiary work to improve and asphalt 114.7km to a good standard.

The project is expected to produce the following results: reduced transport costs; improved access to markets and social services; and better road safety.

The work will enhance poverty reduction efforts in Zambia and will promote the empowerment of women and other disadvantaged groups through better socioeconomic infrastructure along the road. The development of the Nacala Corridor will boost export volumes from Zambia through the port of Nacala and expand markets beyond national boundaries, which is crucial for continued economic growth in the sub region.

The total cost amounts to UA 69.47 million (USD 104 million). The Zambian government is strongly committed to the implementation of Phase II in its entirety, and is seeking alternative funding for the remaining 82.5km (23%)

Preparations are underway for Phase III, which will include repairs and improvements in Malawi and Mozambique together with the construction of two border posts between Zambia and Malawi, and between Malawi and Mozambique, respectively.

The Bank is the executing agency of the Programme for Infrastructure Development in Africa (PIDA). PIDA is a joint initiative of the African Union Commission (AUC), the New Partnership for Africa’s Development (NEPAD) Secretariat and the AfDB Group. It was launched on July 24, 2010 in Kampala, Uganda, on the sidelines of the 15th African Union heads of state and government summit.