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Ending traffic congestion

von Humphrey Nkonde


Zambia is constructing a two-lane highway between the capital city Lusaka and Ndola in the mineral-rich Copperbelt region in order to reduce road congestion. It is financed by the Bank of China and other Chinese sources.

Since the middle class in Zambia is growing, more people own vehicles. As a result, the road leading from the outskirts to the centre of Lusaka is heavily congested, especially during peak times in the morning and evening.

Congestion also occurs on the current single road between Lusaka and Ndola, which covers a distance of 320 kilometres. The highway has recorded some of the country’s worst fatal road traffic accidents. In February 2013, for example, an accident involving a Zambia Postal Services bus claimed 50 lives near the capital.

A new two-lane highway is being constructed to alleviate the problems. The cost of $ 1.2 billion is financed by the Bank of China and other Chinese sources. The Zambian Road Development Agency has commissioned China Jiangxi Cooperation for International Economic and Technical Cooperation with the construction.

In addition to the highway, a mini city will be constructed between Ndola and Kapiri Mponshi, the terminal point of the 1,860 kilometres Tanzania-Zambia Railway Authority (TAZARA) Railway. A transit hotel and vehicle service station is p

Housing and Infrastructure Minister Ronald Chitotela says that the two-lane highway will be “part of the regional trunk road system”: the road from Lusaka to Ndola is linked to other roads leading to Zimbabwe, South Africa, Malawi and Tanzania. It will therefore contribute to the flow of goods in the Southern African Development Community (SADC) and the Common Market for Eastern and Southern Africa (COMESA).

Yang Youming, the Chinese ambassador to Zambia, has clarified that the $ 1.2 billion for the construction of the highway is not a loan, but a public private partnership project. The International Monetary Fund has warned that Zambia, whose external debt is estimated $ 20 billion, is showing signs of debt distress.

Humphrey Nkonde is a journalist and media researcher based in Ndola, Zambia.