September 8, 2017 / 1:52 PM / 10 months ago

Zambia awards Chinese firm $1.2 billion road expansion project

LUSAKA, Sept 8 (Reuters) - Zambia has awarded a Chinese firm a $1.2 billion contract to expand part of a key road linking Zambia to the Democratic Republic of Congo and southern African neighbors, President Edgar Lungu said on Friday.

China Jiangxi Corporation for International Economic and Technical Cooperation (CJIC) will build the 321 km (200 mile) Lusaka-Ndola dual carriageway over four years, Lungu said during the launch.

Zambia is Africa’s second biggest copper producer and Ndola is the capital of the nation’s copperbelt region. Chinese investment in Zambia already includes roads, agriculture, mining and energy projects such as a 750 megawatt-hydro-power station in the south of the country.

“The Lusaka-Ndola dual carriageway will improve the flow of traffic, thereby drastically reducing road traffic accidents on our roads,” Lungu said, without stating how it will be financed.

“Increased traffic on our roads due to the booming economic activities in various sectors, especially in the mining sector, require an appropriate response such as this one,” he said.

The project, one of the biggest in Zambia’s history, is expected to create more than 3,000 jobs during the construction phase, Lungu said.

Chinese President Xi Jinping said in 2015 the country would plough $60 billion into African development projects to boost agriculture, build roads, ports and railways and cancel some debt. (Reporting by Chris Mfula; Editing by Ed Stoddard and Matthew Mpoke Bigg)

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