- P1bn Okavango River Bridge links Botswana to Namibia
- Masisi hoists it as a means by which human life becomes livable
The Government of Botswana has prioritised quality infrastructure development as key to social upliftment, economic growth and development,” President Mokgweetsi Masisi has said.
Officially opening the Okavango River Bridge at Mohembo recently, the President noted: “Provision of quality infrastructure for use by citizens is not only desirable as a yardstick of dignified social existence but is also necessary to unlock the potential for wealth creation.”
Mental and physical labour
He added that quality infrastructure has the potential to equalise wealth creation opportunities for local communities because it enables individuals to apply both their mental and physical labour to the resources available, both far and near, in order to make a living.
“When talking food production, for instance, those who farm need roads to get from their homes to the ploughing fields and to be able to transport their harvest to market centres,” Masisi said.
“Likewise, those who live by fishing or by weaving baskets and making other crafts for household use require access roads to reach the markets for their goods.”
Durable roads and bridges
He emphasised that availability of quality infrastructure such as good and durable roads and bridges enables citizens to enjoy the freedom of easily accessing administrative, health, educational, commercial and technical services and facilities that they need to use for improving their livelihoods without having to travel long distances and spending their meagre finances.
“My government, therefore, does not shy away from committing a large portion of the available budget to infrastructure development,” President Masisi said.
“This is the ‘social contract’ of delivering and availing the critical material means by which human life becomes livable and dignified, thus extending your opportunities and freedoms for happiness as Batswana.”
The President Masisi noted that the government remains dedicated to expanding road infrastructure and network to facilitate ease of doing business and to improve the country’s business capacity and global competitiveness by enhancing mobility and access to markets for both people and commodities.
“Since independence in 1966, the development of road infrastructure in Botswana has considerably improved the flow of traffic and safe movement of passengers and goods to areas that were previously not accessible by road,” he said.
He noted that construction of the Okavango River Bridge was fully funded by the government under its Domestic Development Fund (DDF).
However, due to the complexity of the bridge, the project was undertaken by a foreign company called Itinera/Cimolai Joint Venture for P1,045,510,751.77 under the supervision of CPP Botswana as the Project Manager,” President Masisi said.
“It is worth noting, however, that some components of the project, such as the construction of roadworks and electrical installations, were reserved for 100 percent citizen contractors.”