Zambia revives key road project with new Chinese contractors, lower-cost credit

By Chiwoyu Sinyangwe

Posted on Monday, 6 March 2023 13:13
A truck exits the mine after collecting ore from 516 metres below the surface at the Chibuluma copper mine in the Zambian copperbelt region, January 17, 2015. REUTERS

Zambia has replaced contractors and financing agreements for a project to upgrade a key highway, hoping the new deal will enable it to walk a debt tightrope and serve the economic purposes of the revamp.

Last year, Zambia cancelled a $1.2bn contract with China Jiangxi Corporation for International Economic and Technical Cooperation (CJIC) to reconstruct and expand the 327km-long dual carriageway stretching from Lusaka to Copperbelt and mineral-rich northwest provinces.

The road accounts for about 42% of Zambia’s road traffic volume, and is Southern Africa’s sole corridor to DRC and a major link to East Africa.

Under the revised deal, the reconstruction works include the rehabilitation of a 45km road extending to the Copperbelt province and bypassing the provincial capital, Ndola.