Zambia’s Transport and Logistics Minister, Frank Tayali said attracting investors is critical for developing railway links that will provide alternative routes to the sea and benefit other sectors.
Mr Tayali said government’s plan is to have the railway link projects to be financed through Public Private Partnerships(PPPs) using the Build Operate and Transfer Models where concessionaires will hold and use the assets for defined periods of time.
“On our part … is to develop rules and regulations that will ensure that the private sector gets their return on investments in this sub-sector,” he said in a statement.
He said investment in the railway system will help facilitate trade with other countries in the region.
Railway projects on the cards
Some of the outlined projects include, Nseluka - Mpulungu, Livingstone - Sesheke and the North-Western to Angola link. Others are Kafue to Lion’s Den in Zimbabwe and the direct link between Chipata and Serenje. He said all the projects are to be connected to the main lines.
He said government has already embarked on rehabilitating the Zambia Railways main lines and government is currently working on a deal to recapitalise the Tanzania - Zambia Railway Authority (TAZARA) established in March 1968.
The Minister said the road sub-sector is another area where a lot needs to be done. He said the Ndola - Lusaka dual carriageway immediately comes to mind.
“This is a must do project that will create an efficient and safer road network linking three regions which hold about 50percent of the country’s population,” he said.
The Minister said Zambia is gifted with a lot of beautiful water bodies that are very good destinations for tourism and fishing.
Plans for water bodies
Mr Tayali said as government transfers the harbours to be managed by local authorities, in line with the decentralisation policy, the intention is to develop them into modern facilities that would attract leisure activities such as boating, water sports, fishing and water tourism.
He said the harbours are wide and diverse, from Siavonga in the south on Lake Kariba, Chilubi Island on the shores of Lake Bangweulu to Kasaba Bay in the north on Lake Tanganyika and other locations on the water bodies are also available.
“Believe me, you will be spoilt for choice, and we remain open for business. Come and invest in Zambia, we are ready for business,” said Mr Tayali who is also governing United Party for National Development (UPND) Ndola Central Constituency Member of Parliament in the Copperbelt Province.
He said President Hakainde Hichilema, created the Ministry of Transport and Logistics to provide policy guidance and facilitate transport and logistics in the country. The Ministry also regulates sub-sectors covering rail, road, aviation and maritime.
To help realise Zambia’s untapped and immense potential in business, agriculture and floriculture, the government has in the recent past embarked on a robust infrastructure development which has seen the construction of new international airport terminals at Kenneth Kaunda International Airport in Lusaka, Harry Mwaanga Nkumbula International Airport in Livingstone and the construction of a greenfield airport at Simon Mwansa Kapwepwe International Airport in Ndola.
Airports in provincial centres
However, observers say Zambia still needs to upgrade all other airports in its provincial centres for them to have terminal buildings, cargo handling facilities and fuel farms. The Minister said the upgrades will invariably lead to a more cost effective and efficient aviation sub-sector.
Further, Mr Tayali said these infrastructure upgrades in the provincial centres will create more destination choices for tourists both local and international to sample. Consequently, exports of agricultural produce such as vegetables, fruits and flowers will increase.
Mr Tayali said: “An improved Transport and Logistics sector with all its sub-sectors will make Zambia become a destination of choice in International Conferences and Exhibitions.”