Ndola airport shift spot on
Published On February 19, 2014 » 2731 Views» By Hildah Lumba » Opinion
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THE relocation of Simon Mwansa Kapwepwe International Airport in Ndola to a more spacious area will certainly attract more investment and change the face of the Copperbelt provincial capital, which has had an old structure serving as an international entry and exit point for a long time.
It is imperative that this vital facility is constructed a considerable distance away from the central business district, convenient enough to accommodate a large volume of traffic.
That US$580 is being mobilised for the project, is testimony enough that the Government is on track to upgrade infrastructure that will give more credence to the country’s development agenda.
Transport, Works, Supply and Communication Minister Yamfwa Mukanga was right on when he observed that it is necessary to construct a new airport in another area in order to have enough room for future expansion.
The growing mining industry which has spread to the North-Western province has given rise to international arrivals through the airport in Ndola.
Besides that, suppliers and contractors have continued to flock to the Copperbelt and the North-Western provinces, a trend that has led to congestion at the small airport.
It is important therefore that a modern international airport is constructed in earnest to reflect an image of a growing and fast developing Zambia.
As the mining industry is growing, so are other critical sectors of the economy and the fast pace certainly requires a corresponding facelift in infrastructure and other attendant aspects.
Tourism is another sector that is growing and attracting more foreign visitors that have to use Simon Mwansa Kapwepwe International Airport for exit and entry.
Yes, it is not only Simon Mwansa Kapwepwe that is poised for upgrade, but also Harry Mwaanga Nkumbula, in Livingstone and the Kenneth Kaunda International Airport in Lusaka.
The Livingstone facility has been developed into an ultra-modern facility with a passenger terminal building of one million passenger-capacity per year at a cost of US$40 million.
Government has already released $25 million for re-development of Kenneth Kaunda International Airport with a passenger terminal building of four million capacity at a cost of $385 million.
Simon Mwansa Kapwepwe International Airport will be able to handle two million passengers per year.
Zambia is on the growth path particularly that it is strategically located on the African continent, which has regional blocs that have intensified economic integration in order to grow constituent economies.
Thus Zambia is at the centre of two regional growing markets, namely the Southern African Development Community (SADC) and the Common Market for Eastern and Southern Africa (COMESA).
We, therefore, urge all stakeholders to quickly settle for a convenient area in Ndola so that the project can start.
It is obvious that jobs will be created during the construction phase while more opportunities will arise once the project is completed.
Infrastructure development is on the core of the development agenda among the critical sectors of the economy which include mining, manufacturing, agriculture and tourism.
Foreign Direct Investment can only grow significantly in an environment which has proper infrastructure such as a good road network, railway line as well as modern international airports. OPINION

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