Friday, 15 May 2015

Eurobond Helping To Improve Zambia's Trade With Neighbours

By Paul Shalala
A Zambia Railways locomotive

When it was issued in 2013, the US$750 million Euro Bond became a controversial topic in Zambia as various people received it with mixed reactions.

However, two years down the line, fruits of that Eurobond are now visible.

Zambia Railways was allocated 120 million dollars from the Eurobond and part of the money was channeled towards rehabilitating and constructing new rail lines on the Copperbelt.

Zambia Railways Limited has completed rehabilitating and constructing new rail lines in three districts of the Copperbelt to link smelters and mines at the cost of K8.6 million.

The districts connected are Chingola, Chililabombwe and Kitwe.

The railway firm has now finished connecting Konkola Deep Mine in Chililabombwe to the smelter at Nchanga in Chingola and the refinery at Nkana Plant in Kitwe.

This now means that raw copper can now be transported by railway from Chililabombwe to the smelter in Chingola and later the anodes can be moved from Chingola to be refined into cathodes in Kitwe before they are exported abroad.

The project was funded using Zambia Railways’ allocation of US$120 million from the US$750 million Euro Bond which was over subscribed when the Zambian government issued it on the international market in 2013.

Zambia Railways General Manager for Projects Fred Kaoma says the company has now connected Konkola Deep Mine in Chililabombwe to Nchanga Mine in Chingola and further to Nkana Refinery in Kitwe.

Mr Kaoma says the project will decongest  roads and help the mines transport their goods from one mine site to the other without more easily.

And Chairperson of the Parliamentary Committee on Estimates Highvie Hamududu says works done so far are impressive as there is something tangible can be see.

Mr Hamududu, who is also Bweengwa Member if Parliament, says taxpayers want to see money from the Eurobond being utilized to the best interest of the nation.

Members of the Parliamentary Committee on Estimates are on the Copperbelt inspecting projects which were funded by US$ 750 million Eurobond.

The improvement of the railway infrastructure using the Eurobond will now enhance trade between Zambia and her neighbours.

“Now we will be able to move cathodes from Kitwe to Durban, Dar Es salaam or Beira or any other port. We have a good working relations in South Africa now,” said Christopher Musonda, Zambia Railways Marketing Manager.

He further revealed that through this improved railway system, exporting copper products through Zambia’s neighbours will be guaranteed.

“Exporting copper through Durban takes 30 days to reach China, but with our enhanced partnership with Tanzania, exporting through Dar Es salaam will now only take 14 days,” added Mr Musonda.

Trade routes in Southern Africa
Recently, Tanzanian President Jakaya Kikwete and his Zambian counterpart Edgar Lungu agreed to improve the Tanzania-Zambia Railway Authority (TAZARA) to improve trade among the two countries.

This now means that trains from the state run Zambia Railways Limited (ZRL) can freely transport goods from anywhere in Zambia up to the port in Dar Es Salaam.

Currently, TAZARA trains come from Tanzania and end up at Kapiri Mposhi while ZRL trains cant go beyond Kapiri Mposhi.

This new partnership plus the already established regional agreements for the Nacala Corridor and the Walvis Bay arrangement will help enhance trade between Zambia and her neighbours.

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