Zambia with Chipata located in the Eastern Province and Mfuwe in the South Luangwa National Park

Zambia with Chipata located in the Eastern Province and Mfuwe in the South Luangwa National Park

At a time when development is taking centre stage in all public and private programmes, the importance of a good road network is increasingly being acknowledged as pivotal in fostering trade, economic growth, production and social development.

A proper road infrastructure is a prerequisite for any favourable trade to take place because it affects the cost of doing business especially in a landlocked country like Zambia without direct access to the sea.

Zambia, like many other countries in the region, boasts rich and abundant natural resources that have not been fully exploited due to poor roads in some parts of the country.

Since 1991, it has been the general policy of the Government to provide an enabling environment for active private sector participation in the direct provision of goods and services.

Few years ago, certain tourism-rich spots were still locked up due to the absence of proper road infrastructure.

The large deposits of mineral wealth and wildlife or even agricultural produce are of no economic value if they cannot be accessed or transported to the market place.

Infrastructure helps determine the success of manufacturing and agricultural activities.

Furthermore, poor roads lead to adverse transport costs, thereby affecting trade efficiency.

Mfuwe-Chipata Road Works

Mfuwe-Chipata Road Works

Underdevelopment is when resources are not used to their full socio-economic potential with the result that local or regional development is slower in most cases than it should be.

The results from the complex interplay of internal and external factors allow less developed countries only a lopsided development progression.

Underdeveloped nations are characterised by a wide disparity between the rich and poor populations and an unhealthy balance of trade.

It is in this regard that regional economic communities such as the Southern African Development Community and Common Market for Eastern and Southern Africa are promoting infrastructure development as the only means of cementing regional integration.

The transport infrastructure plays an important role as a catalyst in economic development by integrating society where people and resources are able to move and change so as to achieve their full potential.

Fast facts: Zambia’s road network
Length of Zambia’s road network Approx. 92 000 km
Link Zambia 8 000 Project 1,500 kilometres of road works are being constructed in phase one, while over 2,700 kilometres of roads will be upgraded to bituminous standard under phase two
Length of Chipata-Mfuwe road  104 km and will cost K290 million
Contractor Sable Transport and Construction Limited

The Government recognises the importance of transport in facilitating economic growth, poverty reduction and employment creation in the country.

Better attention to rural roads and appropriate community participation has been shown to enhance the quality of citizenship in Zambia.

On December 29, 2009, then Republican President Rupiah Banda commissioned the K290 million project of tarring the 104 kilometre stretch of Chipata-Mfuwe Road.

Mfuwe-Chipata Road Works

Mfuwe-Chipata Road Works

The contract was given to a Zambian contractor, Sable Transport and Construction Limited.

The commissioning of the road works came after the Road Development Agency (RDA), which is the implementing agency of the rehabilitation and tarring of roads in the country, smoothly awarded the contract to Sable on behalf of the Zambian Government.

Development of the stretch would also help in uplifting the socio-economic condition of Eastern Province as well as increasing the employment potential due to the numerous activities that would be going on the road.

Recently, President Michael Sata said his Government had prioritised infrastructure development such as roads, airports and railways as key to national development.

President Sata said during the official opening of the third session of the eleventh National Assembly on September 20, 2013 that Government was heavily investing in the construction, rehabilitation and upgrading of the transport infrastructure.

“Our commitment is demonstrated by the implementation of the link Zambia 8000 project under which over 1,500 kilometres of road works are being constructed in phase one, while over 2,700 kilometres of roads will be upgraded to bituminous standard under phase two,” he said.

The Patriotic Front Government, which has been in power for only two years, recently launched the Lusaka 400 road project which involves rehabilitation and construction of selected urban roads.

Notably, Mfuwe is home to some of the endemic species that cannot be found anywhere in the world.

Mfuwe-Chipata Road Works

Mfuwe-Chipata Road Works

Eastern Province Chamber of Commence and Industry president, Thomas Mtonga said Mfuwe had a variety of animals with a population of close to over 500,000.

The construction of the road by Sable Transport and Construction Limited to the hot tourism resort is a clear testimony that the Government is delivering on its promises through the completion of good roads to the people.

According to Eastern Province Minister Malozo Sichone, the upgrading of Chipata-Mfuwe Road by Sable Transport and Construction Limited from a muddy pot-holed gravel to a bituminous standard is fully financed by the Zambian Government.

Mr Sichone said with the good road network such as Chipata-Mfuwe road, he was sure that the area would lead to vast economic expansion and job creation, thereby reducing poverty among the people.

He said with good roads, Zambians should actively participate in tourism rather than being spectators under the belief that the industry is a preserve of foreign investors.

Yes the good road infrastructure is the backbone of any meaningful and sustainable development of any country.

Government is aware that rural road infrastructure is a specific area of concern posing significant limitations on growth and development of rural communities.

The Government recognises the importance of transport in facilitating economic growth, poverty reduction and employment creation in the country.

 

From: allafrica.com

Date: 30 September 2013