Botswana and Zambia opened the $260-million Kazungula bridge, which may help alleviate congestion at one of Africa’s busiest border crossings in neighbouring Zimbabwe.
The 923 m road and rail bridge offers a faster and cheaper alternative to a route via Beitbridge on Zimbabwe’s border with South Africa. Kazungula has a one-stop border facility located near the quadripoint that links Botswana, Namibia, Zambia and Zimbabwe.
Botswana President Mokgweetsi Masisi and Zambian President Edgar Lungu presided over the ceremony Monday to mark the opening of Kazungula. Democratic Republic of Congo President Felix Tshisekedi, Mozambican President Filipe Nyusi and Zimbabwean President Emmerson Mnangagwa also attended the ceremony.
Bottlenecks at the Beitbridge crossing usually result in a snarl up of commercial traffic and cargo on the route, which is also an important access point for Congo. On average, about 25 000 people pass through Beitbridge daily, according to Zimbabwean officials.
Zimbabwe and Namibia may become partners in the project at a later date, Masisi said.
“Zimbabwe has agreed in principle to be a partner in this project and our officials are working faster and harder to complete the remaining work,” he said in a televised speech on the state broadcaster, Botswana Television. “Hopefully, we will enroll Namibia also.”