The Ministers responsible for Transport and Corridor Development from Angola, Democratic Republic of Congo and Zambia, with support and coordination of the Secretariat of the Southern African Development Community (SADC), signed the Lobito Corridor Transit Transport Facilitation Agency (LCTTFA) Agreement at Lobito, the Province of Benguela, in Angola, on the 27th January 2023.
The LCTTFA Agreement aims to provide an effective and efficient route that facilitates the transportation of goods within territories between the three Corridor Member States, through harmonisation of policies, laws and regulations; coordinated joint corridor infrastructure development strategies and activities; dissemination of traffic data and business information; and implementation of trade facilitation instruments to support greater participation of small and medium enterprises (SMEs) in business value chains mainly in agriculture and mining with the view of increasing trade and economic growth along the Lobito Corridor and across the SADC Region.
Honourable Ricardo Daniel Sandão Queirós Viegas de Abreu, Minister of Transport of the Republic of Angola, highlighted that the Lobito Corridor Transit Transport Facilitation Agency will provide alternative trade route for importers and exporters from the DRC and Zambia and improve international and domestic traffic levels. The Agency will promote the sustained maintenance of the infrastructure and stimulate the development of the Lobito Corridor, ensuring that such development, infrastructure and other support services meet the present and future user requirements and encourage the reduction of costs associated with the movement of cargo and passengers along the Corridor.
He said the Corridor presents an opportunity for the three Member States to establish and consolidate cooperation in the movement of people and goods; ensure cooperation in rail and road traffic; provide a more efficient and effective route for the inland transportation of goods between the three countries and the sea; guarantee the right to transit in order to facilitate the movement of goods through their respective territories; and avoid unnecessary delays with regard to the movement of goods in transit through their territories.
Hon. Museba Frank Tayali, Minister of Transport and Logistics of Zambia, underscored that the signing of the Agreement will unlock the business potential along the corridor through participation of SMEs in the various value chains and boost private sector investments, create jobs, and foster economic growth in the three SADC Member States.
He hailed the Corridor as Zambia’s alternative and strategic outlet to the Western and European export markets that offers a key route to the sea port of Lobito on the Atlantic Ocean. Further, the Corridor links the mining companies of the Copperbelt and North-western part of Zambia to Lobito.
His Excellency Kalala Mayiba Constantin, Ambassador Extraordinary and Plenipotentiary of the DRC to Angola, said his country attaches great importance to the signing of the Agreement, for the re-opening of the Lobito Corridor and its associated developments, including intra-trade amongst the countries involved.
He said the mining operators in the south-western part of the Province of Lualaba and other investors eagerly await the operationalisation of the Agreement to accelerate the rehabilitation works of the railway section under the National Railway Company of Congo (SNCC), a 427km stretch between Kolwezi and Dilolo, a border town between Angola and DRC. He further noted the significant investment undertaken by the Government of the Republic of Angola with the completion of the rehabilitation works on the Benguela railway line between Lobito and Luau, a 1,348km stretch.
On behalf of the SADC Executive Secretary, Ms. Mapolao Mokoena, Director of Infrastructure, commended the three cooperating Member States for signing the Agreement which has been under discussion since 2013. She reiterated the Secretariat ‘s commitment to work with the three Member States to operationalise the Agreement for the benefit of the entire SADC Region.
The Lobito Corridor, once in operation will present an alternative strategic route to export markets for Zambia and DRC and offers the shortest route linking key mining regions in these two countries to the sea. In Angola, the Corridor connects 40% of the country’s population and several large scale investments taking place in agriculture and retail in the provinces of Benguela, Huambo, Bie, and Moxico.