Decent road network essential for Zambia’s economic growth, says Senior Chief Kalilele
By Langmead at Langmead & Baker Ltd +260 979 060705; firstname.lastname@example.org SOLWEZI, ZAMBIA –
Work by First Quantum Minerals (FQM) to rehabilitate the troubled Chingola-Solwezi road has drawn praise from Senior Chief Kalilele of the Lamba people, who is hopeful that the improved highway will attract more investors to North-Western province.
The chief made clear his views on the matter by announcing that a good road infrastructure plays an important role in attracting foreign direct investment – not just in his chiefdom, but in the province generally.
“I’m very grateful to First Quantum for working on this road,” said Senior Chief Kalilele. “We as North-Westerners have been complaining bitterly about this road, and there are so many investors who were trying to bring development into this chiefdom, but it couldn’t happen because of the nature of the road. But with the maintenance of the road, I am assured that a lot of people will come on board to bring development to this region.”
The Senior Chief said that his subjects were delighted by the work being carried out, as it would provide them with much better access to the market upon completion of the project. It will also make the road safer.
However, the implications of the improvements to the road run much deeper, as without a decent road network, it becomes increasingly difficult to maintain proper infrastructure, with the added risk that some members of society become excluded. In the North-Western Province, poor rural road infrastructure is a specific area of concern, imposing significant limitations on the development of rural communities.
The Senior Chief made his comments when FQM country manager General Kingsley Chinkuli paid a courtesy call at the palace recently. General Chinkuli used the opportunity to give the Senior Chief an update on the progress that FQM has been making in reinforcing the road.
“What we want is to stabilise it during the rainy season so that traffic can continue to flow. We rely on the road not only for supply but also to move our copper concentrate to the smelter on the Copperbelt. That work cannot stop, because if it does, our operations at the mine will suffer, and we will not suffer alone – the Zambian economy will suffer as a whole, as well,” said General Chinkuli.
What is good for First Quantum is good for Zambia, he added. “Between FQM and Barr
ick Lumwana mine in the North-Western Province, there is an enormous economic dependence on this road;, this also means a lot in terms of the economy of this country because it relies on copper for foreign exchange earnings,” said General Chinkuli.
Because of its intensive use of infrastructure, FQM has recognised the transport sector as an important component of the economy and a common tool used for development, with a clear relationship between the quantity and quality of transport infrastructure and the level of economic development. High density transport infrastructure and highly-connected networks are commonly associated with high levels of development.
FQM has also observed that when transport systems are safe and efficient, they provide economic and social opportunities and benefits that result in positive multiplier effects such as better accessibility to markets, employment, and additional investments.