The Zambian Government has recently signed a USD 418 million loan agreement with China Development Bak (CDB), meant to partially finance the development of 400 km of roads in the Copperbelt region under the C400 project, which involves the rehabilitation of urban roads towards Lusaka.
Zambia’s Road Development Agency (RDA) is the institution in charge of overseeing the project and has awarded China Henan International Cooperation Group (CHICO), a Chinese state owned construction and engineering company, to execute the development of roads.
The project’s total investment of USD 492 million will be completed with government proceeds and construction works are expected to start in Q1-2016 and last for 38 months.
The development of roads is the root of economic growth and political stability in the country, therefore its modernization is a key point in Zambia’s development agenda, explained Zambia’s Finance Minister Alexander Chikwanda.
Copper and other minerals play an important role for economic development by boosting employment and trade. The development of the road network in the Copperbelt aims at supporting the mining sector by reducing their operating costs, Minister Chikwanda added.
According to the Financial Times, the Copperbelt’s mines manage a cost of production per tonne over the sector’s average of USD 5,500, due to high costs as those on transport of goods that makes the mines expensive to operate.
C400 is not the only project undertook by the Zambian government with the support of the RDA since Link Zambia 8000 and Pave Zambia 2000 are also being executed across the country to rehabilitate a total of 10,000 km of roads within the next five years.