Zambia yesterday signed a deal for the construction of a new railway project with China’s state-run firm that will enhance railway transportation in Zambia.
The 388-kilometer railway, will run from the Eastern town of Chipata to the Central town of Serenje via Petauke, will be constructed by China Civil Engineering Construction Company at a cost of 2.3 billion United States dollars within a four-year period.
Minister of Transport and Communications Brian Mushimba said that the project aims at enhancing regional trade and transport competitiveness by providing an alternative trade route to the East Coast of Africa via the Port of Nacala in Mozambique.
The project will provide the much-needed link between the Zambian main railway line networks with the Malawian railway line network through the existing Chipata-Mchinji railway line which forms part of the Nacala Corridor.
It will enable the government to save funds used on rehabilitation of damaged roads due to haulage of bulk and heavy cargo.
The project, further, is meant to enhance regional and international trade through the Nacala Development Corridor which involves Zambia, Malawi and Mozambique.
It is one of the strategic infrastructure projects the government intends to implement through the China-Africa Cooperation framework announced by the Chinese government during the 2015 Forum on China-Africa Cooperation held in South Africa where 60 billion dollars fund was pledged.
The railway line will promote Zambia’s trade, investment, employment and sustainable development and open another route to the sea.
It will be an important part of the integrated southern African transportation system which connects Zambia with Tanzania, the Democratic Republic of Congo, Malawi and Mozambique.