Zambia finally starts rail link

LUSAKA - Zambian President Levy Mwanawasa and his Malawian counterpart launched a long-delayed joint rail project at the weekend that is expected to help boost trade in southern Africa, state radio reported.

LUSAKA - Zambian President Levy Mwanawasa and his Malawian counterpart launched a long-delayed joint rail project at the weekend that is expected to help boost trade in southern Africa, state radio reported.

Mwanawasa said the venture, which will connect his landlocked nation to the coast of Mozambique through Malawi, will become the cheapest mode of transport for Zambia.

He said the R90million project, which has been in the pipeline since 1982, is expected to be commissioned by December next year.

He apologised on behalf of his country for the delay in completing the rail link.

"You have waited for 25 years, but this time it is going to be done. This is a promise I am making," Mwanawasa said at the launch of the undertaking.

Malawi's President Bingu wa Mutharika attended the launch.

The 26km link will connect Chipata to the Malawian town of Mchinji.

From there an existing track will take trains to and from the Indian Ocean port of Nacala in Mozambique. - Sapa-AFP

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