THE Africa Development Bank (AfDB) is undertaking a feasibility study on the expansion of port facilities at Mpulungu Harbour in Zambia and Bujumbura in Burundi.
And AfDB will finance the linking of the railway line between an area called Nseluka and Mpulungu.
AfDB resident representative Freddie Kwesiga said the actual construction work at the two facilities was expected to begin next year after the current feasibility study.
Speaking in interview in Lusaka, Dr Kwesiga said apart from the two ports, the bank would consider the Democratic Republic of Congo’s Kaleni and the big port on Kigoma which would now feed into Dar es Saalam in Tanzania through the railway.
He said Mpulungu Port was an important link for Eastern and Southern Africa, adding that the bank was partnering with other organisations to ensure that the four ports were worked on at once, to avoid doing work in bits.
Recently, Dr Kwesiga said AfDB had financial resources to assist with the expansion project of four ports in the Great Lakes region.
Apart from Mpulungu Port, the project would also be done on Kigoma in Tanzania, Uvira in the Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC) and Bunjumbura Port in Burundi, in an effort to open up interland in Zambia for trade with the East African countries.
He said the project involved development of the transport system to enhance trade in the Great Lakes regional corridor.
‘‘ On expansion of ports, we are doing a feasibility study and it is progressing well, but this is for the ports of Mpulungu and Bujumbura.
Dr Kwasiga said once the port was completed, then the AfDB would also join Mpulungu to Tanzania Zambia Railway Authority (TAZARA) through Nseluka area.
‘‘What this means is that you are opening up trade between Southern and East Africa and you are tapping into Common Market for Eastern and Southern Africa (COMESA) and Southern Africa Development Community (SADC),’’ he said.
He said East African countries; Rwanda, Burundi, South Sudan, Somalia, Kenya, Uganda and Tanzania had the largest population with limited agricultural land, while Zambia on the other hand, had huge land and water resources, producing food for the people in the region.