Zambia cancels $1.2bn Chinese road project linking Lusaka and Ndola

By Chiwoyu Sinyangwe
Posted on Monday, 21 March 2022 15:11, updated on Tuesday, 31 May 2022 10:09

Zambia's President Hakainde Hichilema addresses the 76th Session of the United Nations General Assembly, Tuesday, Sept. 21, 2021, at U.N. headquarters.
Zambia's President Hakainde Hichilema addresses the 76th Session of the United Nations General Assembly, Tuesday, Sept. 21, 2021. (Spencer Platt/Pool Photo via AP)

Zambia has cancelled a $1.2bn contract awarded to a Chinese company for the expansion of part of a key road linking the capital Lusaka to the copper-rich regions and Southern Africa’s sole access corridor to Democratic Republic of Congo, citing “overpricing” of the project signed under the previous Patriotic Front regime.

The unprecedented move reflects a change in approach to Zambia’s dealings with Chinese projects. Previous regimes were accused of being overly cosy with the Chinese as some of the projects seemed disadvantageous to the country.

In 2017, former President Edgar Lungu “flagged off” the reconstruction and expansion into a dual carriage of the 321 km Lusaka-Ndola road. China Jiangxi Corporation for International Economic and Technical Cooperation (CJIC) was to implement the 327km project, which was expected to be complete in approximately four years.