LUANDA, July 4 (Xinhua) -- Angola, the Democratic Republic of the Congo (DRC), and Zambia on Tuesday agreed to expand mineral exports and foster regional economic integration via the Lobito Corridor.
The three countries agreed in the Angolan city of Lobito to make optimal use of Angola's Lobito Corridor, to facilitate the export of minerals coming from the mineral-rich Greater Katanga region of the DRC and the Copperbelt province of Zambia.
The Atlantic port of Lobito, along with the Benguela railroad, makes up the Lobito Corridor, which reaches more than 1,300 km deep into the continent, making it the quickest export route for copper, cobalt and other ores from Zambia, the DRC and beyond.
The three countries have agreed on the transfer of the concession of railway services and support logistics of the Lobito Corridor to Lobito Atlantic Railway, the company that will take over the operation, management and maintenance of the rail infrastructure for the transport of goods for the corridor.
The Lobito Corridor has a set of rail, port, airport, and road infrastructures that connect the coastal Lobito city to the DRC and Zambia, which could play an important role not only in economic growth in the respective countries, but also in regional economic integration.
Angolan President Joao Lourenco said that the corridor will boost intra-African exports, while commending the materialization of commitments made within the Southern African Development Community and the African Continental Free Trade Area.
"The full operationalization of this corridor will ultimately allow the opening up of mines in Zambia and the DRC, as well as access to and circulation of inputs essential to both the mining and agricultural industries," said DRC President Felix Tshisekedi.
Prior to the agreement, Angola also announced on Monday the establishment of a fiber optic connection with the DRC and Zambia. ■