Zambian Cabinet Approves Beira Corridor Agreement Ratification

Construct Africa   2024-05-15 16:47:09

Zambia’s cabinet has given approval to the government to sign and ratify the Beira Development Corridor Agreement (BDCA).

The decision was made at a 6 May cabinet meeting and the agreement will now be presented to parliament for the final stage of the ratification process.

The Beira Corridor is one of Southern Africa’s main transport routes and connects the central Port of Beira in Mozambique through a road and rail network to Zambia, Malawi, the Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC) and Zimbabwe. The route is critical to enhancing regional and international trade competitiveness, particularly for the landlocked countries involved.

The BDCA aims to promote and facilitate infrastructure development, transit-transport cooperation and cross-border trade among the five states and ensure they benefit from the various initiatives and development projects to be undertaken by the stakeholders and cooperating partners within the Beira corridor.

The ratification of the BDCA will allow the agreement to enter into force, facilitate the creation of coordination mechanisms and address the challenges required to be resolved by the five contracting states.

Zambia’s Minister of Transport and Logistics Museba Frank Tayali said the cabinet approval was a welcome move as the Beira Corridor offers Zambia the shortest route to the sea.

So far in 2024, the Zambian government has made progress on two other corridor agreements. In early April, the cabinet approved the country’s accession to the Central Corridor Transit Transport Facilitation Agency (CCTTFA) Agreement. The Central Corridor connects the Port of Dar Es Salaam in Tanzania to Zambia, Burundi, the DRC, Rwanda, Uganda and Malawi.

Previously, in late January, the Zambian government ratified the Walvis-Bay-Ndola-Lubumbashi Corridor Agreement, which links Namibia’s Port of Walvis Bay to Zambia and the DRC.

The remaining corridor awaiting approval and ratification by Zambia is the North-South Corridor Agreement, which requires intervention from the Southern African Development Community (SADC) secretariat. The corridor connects the South African Port of Durban to Zambia, the DRC and Malawi through Botswana and Zimbabwe.

Minister Tayali also said he is looking forward to the development of the Kafue-Lion’s Den rail link, which will cut the distance from Zambia to Beira port by over 1,000km. The project entails the construction of a 304km rail spur from Lion’s Den in Zimbabwe to Kafue in Zambia.

The railway from Harare towards Zambia currently terminates at Lion’s Den and will need to be extended to join the Livingstone-Lusaka railway at the nearest point, which is Kafue.

The Kafue-Lion’s Den line will provide a shorter transit route for traffic between Zambia and Zimbabwe, as well as an alternative route for traffic to and from seaports in South Africa and the countries north of Zambia.

In November 2022, the National Railways of Zimbabwe announced the feasibility study and detailed designs for the scheme had been completed.