Zimbabwe on Monday expressed its commitment to join Botswana and Zambia in the Kazungula Bridge project which currently links the two neighboring countries.
Zimbabwe was initially supposed to be part of the 260 million U.S. dollar project, but the government then led by former President Robert Mugabe is alleged to have failed to take the offer.
The 923-meter long bridge, which straddles the Zambezi River and by-passes borders with Zimbabwe and Namibia at the near-quadripoint, constitutes a road and railway line and also has a one-stop border post.
Addressing fellow SADC heads of state who attended the event Monday, Mnangagwa congratulated the governments of Zambia and Botswana for the achievement and pledged Zimbabwe’s commitment to come on board, state broadcaster ZBC reported.
“On behalf of the government and the people of Zimbabwe, and indeed on my own behalf, I wish to extend my congratulations to the governments and people of Botswana and Zambia on the occasion of the official opening of the Kazungula Bridge and the One-Stop Border Post between the two republics. This indeed is a milestone achievement in our SADC region.
“I wish sincerely to thank my dear brothers and colleagues, His Excellency President Masisi of Botswana and His Excellency President Edgar Lungu of Zambia who, in 2018 extended an invitation to Zimbabwe to be part of this grand project,” he said.
He said Zimbabwe was keen to join the project which enhances regional trade and integration.
“In the fullness of time, Zimbabwe will be part of this hallmark project which accelerates our regional integration efforts.
“Meanwhile, my country continues to undertake and modernize serious transport infrastructural development projects towards integrating the existing structures to enhance efficient connection with Botswana and Zambia and other countries in our region,” Mnangagwa said.
He said the completion of the Kazungula Bridge was therefore timely and would enhance intra-Africa trade.
The opening of the new bridge provides mainly truckers with an alternative route northwards into the region from ports in South Africa and will ease pressure on the Beitbridge Border Post between South Africa and Zimbabwe. Enditem