Zambia has launched construction of a China-funded mega-road project that connects the southern and central parts of the country to the mining towns in the Copperbelt province.
Work on the 321-kilometer Lusaka-Ndola dual carriageway will be done by China Jiangxi Corporation for International Economic and Technical Cooperation (CJIC) at a cost of $1.2bn, funded by a loan from China’s Exim Bank, Xinhua reports.
The road is to be constructed in four years, creating around 3,000 jobs for local people, said Xinhua, China’s state-run news agency.
Ceremonially launching construction on 8 September, Zambian President Edgar Lungu said the road will improve the flow of traffic and drastically reduce accidents on the current narrow road.
He added that the highway would improve traffic to and from the Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC) and other countries in region.
"Increased traffic on our roads due to the booming economic activities in various sectors, especially in the mining sector, requires an appropriate response such as this one," he said.
Yang Youming, the Chinese Ambassador to Zambia, said the construction of the dual carriageway will make the country a hub of transportation in the region.
"Locating in the center of southern Africa, Zambia is poised to become a transportation hub for the region. And China is experienced in infrastructure development, leading in the world with work efficiency and project quality. I therefore see great prospect for China-Zambia cooperation in transportation infrastructure development," he said, according to Xinhua.
Image: Zambian President Edgar Lungu, centre, attends a commencement ceremony of the China-funded mega-road project in Chisamba district, central Zambia, on 8 September 2017 (Xinhua/Noel Wasamunu)