The Zambian and Malawian governments have launched the US$72 million Nacala road corridor development project which will see the construction of a one stop border post at Mwami and Mchinji border points.
The project which is being financed by the African Development Bank (ADB) is one of its multinational projects that is being undertaken in Zambia, Malawi and Mozambique.
Speaking during the launch of the project in Chipata yesterday, Transport Works, Supply and Communication Minister Yamfwa Mukanga said the launch of the One Stop Border Post (OSBP) will enhance trade facilitation and regional integration between the two countries.
Mr Mukanga said this is because the Nacala corridor is one of the vital trade corridors in Southern Africa and its development is critical in enhancing competitiveness of trade and improving economies.
He explained that the opening up of the corridor will provide an alternative route for inland exporters and importers within the region therefore will help in reducing the cost of doing business.
He stated that the establishment of OSBP at Mwami and Mchinji will reduce the transit time for both people and goods and also reduce the cost of cross border trade.
Mr Mukanga noted that in order for the two countries to get tangible benefits from the project there is need to quicken the implementation process and ensure that it starts operating by December 2017.
He further thanked ADB for providing financial support and prioritizing the implementation of the project for the benefit of the people in the two countries.
And Malawian Minister of Trade and Industry Joseph Mwanamvekha disclosed that his government is currently undertaking trade reforms aimed at improving the way of doing business within Malawi and across the borders.
Mr Mwanamvekha said Zambia and Malawi being landlocked least developed countries (LLDCs) there is need for them to find appropriate trade facilitation measures intended at easing and mitigating challenges associated with landlockedness.
He said launching of OSBP is vital in increasing trade facilitation reform programme which is being implemented by the Malawian government with its neighbour, including Zambia which is targeted at reducing the number of disruptions and processes associated with cross border transactions.
Earlier, African Development Bank Group Resident Representative Andrew Mwaba explained that the Nacala road corridor phase 4 which is being implemented in Zambia, Malawi and Mozambique is designed to enhance corridor efficiency for movement of traffic along the Nacala corridor.
Mr Mwaba noted that the specific focus of the programme is to improve connectivity across the African continent and establish a one seamless African market by 2040.