IN a significant development for regional and global trade connectivity, the United States and the European Union (EU) have welcomed the commitment of Angola, Zambia, and the Democratic Republic of the Congo to the development of the Lobito Corridor. This corridor will link southern Democratic Republic of the Congo and northwestern Zambia to regional and global trade markets through the Port of Lobito in Angola.
Announced during the Partnership for Global Infrastructure and Investment (PGII) event on the sidelines of the G20 summit in India, this collaboration between the US and EU aims to accelerate the development of the Lobito Corridor, including the launch of feasibility studies for a new greenfield rail line expansion connecting Zambia and Angola. This initiative represents an evolution of the Partnership element within the Partnership for Global Infrastructure and Investment, demonstrating a collaborative approach that could be replicated in other strategic corridors worldwide.
‘The partnership will combine financial resources and technical know-how to accelerate the Lobito Corridor development, including investments in digital access and agricultural value chains that will increase regional competitiveness,’ the US and EU said in a joint statement.
The partnership between the United States and the European Union will focus on enhancing critical infrastructure across sub-Saharan Africa, unlocking the region’s vast potential. By combining financial resources and technical expertise, this collaboration aims to expedite the development of the Lobito Corridor, which includes investments in digital access and agricultural value chains to bolster regional competitiveness. This announcement underscores the effectiveness of the PGI (Partnership for Global Infrastructure and Investment) and Global Gateway initiatives in mobilising partners to fund multibillion-dollar projects that stimulate local job creation, reduce carbon emissions, and improve local economies.
As an immediate next step, both entities will support the respective governments in launching pre-feasibility studies for the construction of the new Zambia-Lobito railway line, spanning from eastern Angola through northern Zambia. This builds upon the initial US-led effort to refurbish the railway section from the Lobito port in Angola to the Democratic Republic of the Congo.
Once the transport infrastructure connecting all three countries is fully operational, the Lobito Corridor will expand export opportunities for Zambia, Angola, and the Democratic Republic of the Congo. It will facilitate the regional movement of goods and enhance the mobility of citizens. The new railway is expected to significantly reduce average transport times, resulting in lower logistics costs and a reduced carbon footprint for the export of metals, agricultural products, and other goods. Moreover, it will support the development of any future mineral discoveries.
The United States and the European Union are poised to explore cooperation in three specific areas: i) investments in transport infrastructure; ii) measures to facilitate trade, economic development, and transit; and iii) support for related sectors to drive inclusive and sustainable economic growth and capital investment in Angola, Zambia, and the Democratic Republic of the Congo over the long term. These initiatives include clean energy projects to bolster local power supply, investment diversification in critical minerals and clean energy supply chains, expanded digital access, the growth of agricultural value chains to enhance local food production, and the augmentation of local workforce training, support for small and medium enterprises, and economic diversification.