The socio-economic benefits and challenges of inland water transport in Zambia: a case study of the Barotse sub basin

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Nasilele, Lubinda,
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The University of Zambia
Inland Water Transport (IWT) industry in Zambia has suffered neglect for a long time despite its importance to many rural settlements of Zambia such as the Barotse Sub Basin (BSB). The study assessed the socio-economic benefits and challenges of IWT in BSB. It employed a mixed methods approach and case study as a research strategy. Data was collected using structured questionnaires, interview schedules and field observations in three districts namely Mongu, Senanga and Kalabo. A sample of 200 respondents was drawn purposively. Data was analysed using descriptive statistics generated through SPSS and Excel. Results of this study indicated that IWT is very important to the socio-economic well-being of this region because it is a source of employment, tourism and recreation as well as cheap bulky cargo transportation. The challenges affecting the sector include high operational costs, unsafe vessels, unmaintained and limited waterways. On the perceived relationship between IWT usage and seasonality, the study revealed that there was more motorised water vessel traffic in the dry season than in the wet season due to economic activities like fishing and agriculture. Conversely, the study revealed that there was high usage of non motorised water vessels in the wet season as such vessels navigate uninterrupted. Water Vessel Traffic Counts results were consistent with the findings from the motorised and non motorised water vessel usage. The study recommends that government should consider periodical maintenance and rehabilitation of waterways, subsidise operational costs and formulate the inland waterways policy in order to sanitise IWT sector. Keywords: Inland Water Transport, Waterways, Barotse Sub Basin, SPSS, Zambia
Inland water transportation--Zambia , Water Transport--Zambia , Inland water transportation--Socio-Economic--Zambia