Mashudu Netsianda, Senior Reporter
GOVERNMENT has mobilised funds to conduct detailed engineering designs for the construction of the Kazungula Bridge One Stop Border Post (OSBP), which will service Zimbabwe, Zambia and Botswana as part of the Kazungula Tri-National Border crossing.
Kazungula Bridge Consultants, on Wednesday, issued a statement calling for the public participation on the project’s environmental and social impact assessment following the mobilisation of funds by Government to conduct the engineering designs
“The public is hereby informed that the Government of Zimbabwe has mobilised funds for the purpose of conducting detailed engineering design for the construction of the Kazungula Bridge One Stop Border Post to service Zimbabwe, Zambia and Botswana as part of the Kazungula Tri-National Border crossing,” read the statement.
It is envisaged that, once complete, the Kazungula Bridge Tri-National OSBP will promote socio-economic development in the three countries and the entire sub region thus creating wealth as well as reducing poverty in line with the United Nations (UN) Millennium Development Goals.
The facility is also expected to ease congestion at the Beitbridge Border Post, touted as the busiest regional inland port of entry through Zimbabwe. Freight and passenger transit time is also projected to be significantly reduced due to improved border management operations arising from the OSBP facilities.
Kazungula Bridge Consultants said the construction of the OSBP facility is likely to cause adverse impacts to the environment such as land use change, vegetation loss, habitat loss to avifauna, disturbances to wildlife and loss of aesthetic value among others.
“In accordance with the laws of Botswana Environmental Impact Assessment (EIA) Act No.6 of 2005 section 7 (1) and (2) and the Zambia Environmental Management Act No. 12 of 2011 read with EIA Regulations SI No. 28 of 1997 and the Zimbabwe Environmental Management (EIA and Ecosystems Protection) Regulations SI No.7 of 2007, the consultants plan to hold consultation meetings in the project area as part of the ESIA process in order to present the project to the interested and affected parties as well as to obtain all-inclusive views and expectations on the proposed project,” read the statement.
Consultative meetings will be held tomorrow at Chinotimba Community Hall in Victoria Falls.
In May last year, President Mnangagwa joined his Botswana and Zambian counterparts Presidents Mokgweetsi Masisi and Edgar Lungu, who was then the incumbent, in the official opening of the US$259 million Kazungula Bridge over the Zambezi River and One Stop Border Post facilities connecting Botswana and Zambia.
The Kazungula Bridge and OSBP is a key regional integration project expected to enhance Southern Africa’s access to international markets through connectivity with major seaports. The bridge provides a vital link between neighbouring Botswana and Zambia with Zimbabwe expected to be a major beneficiary.
The opening of the bridge and operationalisation of the OSBP is seen as a giant step towards maximising the operational efficiency of the Sadc north-south corridor and enhancing regional economic integration.
Article Source: The Chronicle