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Learning English - Words in the News
30 August, 2006 - Published 12:38 GMT
Zambezi new bridge
Zambezi river

In Southern Africa, there are plans to build a new bridge across one of the continent's main arteries, the mighty Zambezi River. The leaders of Botswana, Zambia and Zimbabwe have just given the go-ahead for the construction of a new link that will serve as an important boost to regional trade. This report from Peter Biles:

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The Zambezi River crossing at Kazungula - upstream from the Victoria Falls - has been an important trading link since the nineteenth century and this is the spot where the borders of four countries converge - Botswana, Zambia, Zimbabwe and Namibia. In colonial times, everyone wanted access to the Zambezi.

At State House in Harare, an agreement has just been signed that will now provide for the construction and maintenance of a new bridge across one of Africa's greatest rivers. At present, people crossing between Botswana and Zambia rely on a small, out-dated ferry. But within the next couple of years, it's hoped that the Kazungula Bridge will open up this regional trade route between southern Africa and countries to the north.

Political borders have long been economic barriers in Africa and growth has always been hampered by poor infrastructure. But times are changing and there's a wider acceptance that partnership is the key to important new projects, such as this one on the Zambezi.

Peter Biles, BBC News, Johannesburg

Listen to the words

trading link
commercial route, i.e. used for transporting goods for buying and selling

come together as if to join

colonial times
the period when some countries where ruled by another country

the right or opportunity to reach and use

construction and maintenance
building and keeping in good condition

very old

boundaries, frontiers between two or more countries

obstacles, things that stop other things

hampered by
stopped by, prevented by

the basic systems and services used by a society, e.g. roads, bridges, sewers etc.

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