The Trans-Zambezi: One of The Safest Trading Routes for Central and Southern Africa

The Trans-Zambezi Highway, also known as the Walvis Bay-Ndola-Lubumbashi Development Corridor (WBNLDC), is a vital trade route in central and southern Africa, linking Namibia, Zambia, and the Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC). It connects Walvis Bay in Namibia with Ndola in Zambia and Lubumbashi in the DRC, priding itself on safety and eliminating the need for police escorts.

This transport corridor integrates roads, railways, and potentially waterways, driving regional economic development. Established in 1999, it spans Namibia’s Zambezi region, extending into Zambia via the Katima Mulilo bridge, covering 2,500km. The corridor includes a railway line from Walvis Bay to Grootfontein, enhancing connectivity.

The WBNLDC offers a safe, efficient, and reliable alternative to traditional trade routes, facilitating faster movement of goods and reducing transportation costs. Improved safety eliminates the need for truck drivers to rush due to border closure concerns.

Crucial for landlocked Zambia and the DRC, the corridor provides direct access to Walvis Bay, opening international markets for exports and easing imports. Increased cargo passing through border posts signifies its growing importance, fostering economic activity and job creation. Additionally, the corridor necessitates infrastructure development, benefiting various stakeholders, including ports, freight forwarders, and local businesses. Namibia’s agreement with Zambia and the DRC streamlines cross-border trade, strengthening economic ties within Africa.

Despite challenges, such as customs procedures and infrastructure maintenance, continued collaboration between member states and regional bodies promises further development. Overcoming these hurdles can solidify the corridor’s role as a driver of economic growth and prosperity for central and southern Africa.

In conclusion, the Trans-Zambezi Highway serves as a crucial trade artery, symbolizing successful regional integration and cooperation. It not only facilitates trade but also fosters unity among African nations, paving the way for economic opportunities and shared prosperity.

Angola’s Port of Lobito, perceived as a thread for load ramp-up at the Port of Walvis Bay    Photo: Ship Spotting

Distribution of member states and company headquarters along the corridor, based on traffic census data
Photo: Springer