Zambia Ambassador to Japan, Tobias Mulimbika, has called for the urgent construction of the Luangwa bridge which connects Zambia to the Nacala Corridor as earlier designed by the Japan International Cooperation Agency (JICA).
Mulimbika said the Luangwa bridge project, once fully operational, would not only improve the socio-economic status of millions of people living along the corridor but also enhance intra-regional trade between Zambia, Malawi and Mozambique.
The Ambassador said this when he paid a courtesy call on JICA president, Tanaka Akihiko on Thursday, according to a statement issued in Lusaka by Faith Chilube, First Secretary for Press and Public Relations at the Zambian Mission in Japan.
He further stated that he looked forward to continued support under the JICA and Tokyo International Conference on African Development (TICAD), framework.
“Japan had been very supportive in many sectors such as education through the construction of schools, the support towards the school of Veterinary Medicine at the University of Zambia, support to the health Sector through construction of hospitals, as well as other sectors such as agriculture and infrastructure,” Mulimbika said.
In response, Tanaka acknowledged that connectivity is very important and as such JICA would help to ensure further enhancement of connectivity in the country.
“There are many potential areas for further collaboration with Zambia and that the Luangwa bridge had not proceeded as anticipated when they designed the project,” he said.
Tanaka said there was need to explore how best to contribute through technical assistance since the estimated cost for the Luangwa bridge had been rising.
He further commended Zambia for being one of the most longstanding partners in Africa through constructive engagement.
Tanaka said JICA had found it very fortunate to have good relations with one of the most stable democracies in Africa and remained committed to further expanding relations with Zambia.
He stated that the recent Covid 19 pandemic was a challenge to Zambia but understood that efforts at the debt restructuring were on the right track.
“Because of that, we are in a position to design future collaboration programmes more constructively with your country and so with your suggestions we would like to draw up a framework for your country,” Tanaka said.
He also encouraged the Japanese private sector to expand their activities and invest in Zambia and Africa in general in accordance with the recent TICAD resolutions.
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