North-South Corridor

The North-South Corridor Programme is an example of Aid for Trade in action working to unlock the economic potential of landlocked countries in southern and eastern Africa.  The programme is:

  • Enhancing transportation through improvements to road, rail and ports, as well as trade facilitation measures
  • Increasing the power generation and energy trade potential of the Southern African Power Pool with new power generation and transmission investments.

The North-South Corridor links the port of Durban to the Copperbelt in DR Congo and Zambia and has spurs linking the port of Dar es Salaam and the Copperbelt and Durban to Malawi.

The COMESA-EAC-SADC Tripartite lead this programme with the intention of speeding up the flow of traded goods, thereby reducing the transactions costs of cross-border trade.  The programme represents an innovative approach to supporting and developing physical infrastructure while also addressing trade facilitation and regulatory needs and deficiencies along the corridor in a coherent and holistic manner.  

Implementation of the North-South Corridor programme is coordinated and supervised by the Tripartite Task Force, with technical and financial support from TradeMark Southern Africa - a £100million, 5-year Programme funded by DFID that is supporting deeper economic integration of the southern and eastern Africa region. 

DFID is the lead donor and ICA Member supporting the Tripartite work programme, which includes the North South Corridor and is working in close partnership with other ICA Members including bilateral donors, the African Development Bank, World Bank, Development Bank of Southern Africa and EIB to deliver the North South Corridor programme.

Key Facts

Countries involved - Botswana, Democratic Republic of Congo, Malawi, Mozambique, South Africa, Tanzania, Zambia and Zimbabwe

Road Network - 8599 km in seven countries.   The costs of rehabilitating and maintaining the entire NSC road network to a good standard is estimated at US$9.1 billion (of which US$5.9 billion is for capital investment and US$3.1 billion is recurrent costs)

Rail Network – upgrading 600 km of rail at US$800m

Ports – priority port upgrading and development, including Dar es Salaam at US$800m

Power generation and transmission – priority power generation and transmission projects including:

  • Zambia-Tanzania-Kenya Interconnector construction estimated cost $800m and expected to trade 2,800GW of electric power annually;
  • Zambia-Tanzania-Kenya Interconnector – Project implementation Unit /SPV being establishe
  • Zambia-DR Congo Interconnector project.

Click here for the detailed project information and funding opportunities:

Current status and next steps

Good and steady progress is being made in implementing projects on the corridor. Operational challenges continue to be faced.  These include donor and financier coordination - given complexities arising from multiple actors using different funding mechanisms, as well as the challenge of creating a pipeline of bankable projects.

Mechanisms have been put in place to improve donor coordination and cooperation through the establishment of the Tripartite Trust Account and the Friends of the Tripartite - a forum of donors and international cooperating partners, which will meets regularly, under the leadership of DFID.  A pipeline of priority projects has been developed and resources, including technical assistance have been made available to accelerate project preparation. The Tripartite has also established a dedicated Project Preparation and Implementation Unit to oversee this work.

Key contacts

For more information on projects, promoters and upcoming events, please contact:

COMESA-EAC- SADC Tripartite Task Force (current Chairperson): Sindiso Ngwenya,

DFID: Nick Amin,

Trademark SA: Mark Pearson,

Other useful links

Trademark South Africa:

EU Infrastructure Trust Fund Regional Project Preparation GIS:

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