Angola: Benguela railway fundamental to region’s development, minister says

19 March 2008

Benguela, Angola, 19 Mar – The reopening of the Lobito railway line, through the reconstruction of the Benguela railway, is fundamental because it would contribute as much to the development of the region as it would to southern Africa as a whole, the Angolan Transport Minister said Tuesday in Benguela.

According to Angolan news agency, Angop, André Luís Brandão, who spoke to the press on the eve of the Zambian president, Levy Mwanawasa’s visit to Benguela province, taking place Monday and Tuesday, as part of his official visit to Angola, said that the return to operations of such a basic infrastructure was one of the most important projects in southern Africa today.

The minister added that Zambia was one of the countries interested in the reconstruction of this railway line, which would facilitate access to shipping zones.

Brandão said that due to the paralysis of the Benguela railway, Zambia had had to use Indian Ocean ports, when it could have direct access to the Atlantic.

The Zambian president is due to visit the port of Lobito and the Benguela railway yard.

Mwanawassa is currently the chairperson of the Southern Africa Development Community (SADC), an organization which includes Angola, South Africa, Botswana, Lesotho, Malawi, Swaziland, Mozambique, Namíbia, Tanzania, Mauritius, Madagascar, the Democratic Republic of Congo, Zambia and Zimbabwe.

Zambia shares 1,110km of river and land borders with Angola, in the states of Alto Zambeze and Bundas (Moxico) and Mavinga (Kuando Kubango). (macauhub)