The African Development Bank (www.AfDB.org) has signed a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU), joining global partners to mobilise resources for the Lobito Corridor and the Zambia-Lobito rail line in southern and central Africa.
Other signatories included the United States government, the European Commission, the Africa Finance Corporation (AFC), and the host governments of Zambia, Angola and the Democratic Republic of the Congo (DRC).
The MoU, signed Thursday 27 October, outlines the partners’ intentions to collaborate across multiple sectors to realise the full economic potential of the corridor, building on the Lobito Corridor Transit Transport Facilitation Agency agreement signed by the three African governments in January this year.
The works entail the construction of approximately 550 km of rail line in Zambia from the Jimbe border to Chingola in the Zambian copper belt and the 260 km of main feeder roads within the corridor.
When completed, the programme will expand an economic corridor connecting the host countries to global markets to enhance regional trade and growth, and to advance the shared vision of connected, open-access rail from the Atlantic Ocean to the Indian Ocean.
The signing took place on the margins of the 2023 Global Gateway Forum in Brussels, Belgium. It comes only weeks ahead of this year’s Africa Investment Forum Market Days with a $1.6 billion investment opportunity for public and private sector financing, including Public Private Partnerships.
The Bank plans to contribute approximately $500 million to the project through a blend of sovereign and non-sovereign instruments, including concessional allocations. During the Africa Investment Forum Market Days, it will hold a “deep dive” discussion on the Lobito Corridor.
Solomon Quaynor, Vice President for Private Sector, Infrastructure and Industrialization, signed on behalf of the Bank. “The Lobito Corridor Project is a very strategic corridor that will facilitate regional integration and grow trade across the three countries and beyond. It will attract investments in digital access, clean energy supply chains, and agricultural value chains that will increase regional competitiveness and trade within the context of the African Continental Free Trade Area (AfCFTA). The Bank is ready and glad to be working with the three countries and other partners (PGII, EU, AFC) to accelerate its delivery,” Quaynor said.
Deputy Assistant to President Joe Biden for Energy & Investment Amos Hochstein signed for the United States, highlighting the expected outcomes.
“Demonstrating the Partnership for Global Infrastructure and Investment in action and leveraging both Western and African capital, this strategic transport infrastructure unlocks regional trade and enables additional investments in digital connectivity, agriculture value chains, green energy supply chains and rural health centre electrification, among other transformative economic imperatives,” he said.
Other representatives were the European Union Commissioner for International Partnerships, Jutta Urpilainen; Angola’s Minister of State for Economic Coordination, José de Lima Massano, Democratic Republic of the Congo Prime Minister Jean-Michel Lukonde, and Zambia’s Minister of Finance and National Planning Situmbeko Musokotwane.
With the support of the partners, the AFC will serve as the overall Project Developer, facilitating the preparation stage of the Zambia-Lobito Rail Line Project, and may continue to subsequent phases.
The three countries joined together in January 2023 to launch the Lobito Corridor Transit Transport Facilitation Agency Agreement, based in Lobito, to accelerate growth in domestic and cross-border trade along the Lobito Corridor through the implementation of harmonised trade facilitation instruments, strengthening coordination of joint corridor development activities, and fostering effective participation of small and medium enterprises (SMEs) in value chains.
The programme will create thousands of jobs and industrial opportunities for the private sector along the entire Lobito Corridor, connecting with Angola and DRC.