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Zambia ratifies Walvis Bay-Ndola-Lubumbashi Development Corridor Agreement

The Zambian government successfully ratified the Walvis Bay-Ndola-Lubumbashi Development Corridor (WBNLDC) Tripartite Agreement on 12 January 2024 and deposited the instruments of ratification with the Southern African Development Community (SADC). The WBNLDC is a key corridor and trade route connecting the Port of Walvis Bay with Ndola in the Copperbelt of Zambia and Lubumbashi in the mineral-rich region of Katanga in the Democratic Republic of the Congo (DRC).

The WBNLDC is aimed at creating an alternative trade route to the mineral hubs of DRC and Zambia to international markets, the seamless movement of goods and people, as well as boosting regional integration.

The tripartite agreement was signed in March 2010 by the member states of DRC, Namibia, and Zambia. The DRC was the first to ratify the agreement in 2015, followed by Namibia in 2021, and now Zambia.

Announcing their ratification, Zambia’s Minister of Transport and Logistics Museba Frank Tayali said it will boost economic development amongst the member countries and beyond. He further underscored that the ratification will yield benefits such as improved infrastructure, and private sector participation, as well as contribute to the overall development of the region through promoting cross-border trade and investment.

Meanwhile, the chief executive officer of the Walvis Bay Corridor Group (WBCG), Mbahupu Tjivikua said the WBCG has been the host of the secretariat since inception. They have thus effectively coordinated the activities of the WBNLDC in Namibia, fostering seamless collaboration with both the public and private sectors in the member states.

These collective efforts aim to identify common resolutions for addressing various cross-border challenges affecting the corridor. Furthermore, the agreement seeks to establish a competitive trade, transport, and logistics sector which will ensure fair business practices amongst all the corridor operators, as well as stimulate socio-economic development along the corridor, ultimately boosting intra-Africa trade.

“The WBCG extends its appreciation to the Zambian government, Hon. Frank M. Tayali, and the Zambian leadership for their dedicated efforts and seamless coordination in expediting the ratification process. This demonstrated political will and support from Zambia in this regard is commendable, paving the way for successfully eliminating cross-border challenges amongst the three member states,” Tjivikua stated.

The objectives of the WBNLDC are, amongst others, to facilitate cross-border transit-transport cooperation among the member states; foster efficient and cost-effective transit transport systems aimed at promoting trade facilitation and addressing related challenges; and give the landlocked countries of Zambia and the DRC free access through Namibia to and from the port of Walvis Bay. In pursuit of these objectives, Namibia has made dry ports available to Botswana, DRC, Zambia, and Zimbabwe at the port of Walvis Bay, ensuring mutual economic benefits for
all.

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