Nacala Corridor to spur integration
Maputo – Mozambique has approved US$1.2 billion worth of private sector projects to be implemented in the Nacala Corridor.
The government hopes this will stimulate the sustainable exploitation of natural resources in the 872km long corridor.
The director-general of the Office for the Accelerated Development of Economic Zones (GAZEDA), Danilo Nala, says the initiative is spurred by the need to rehabilitate and revive the rail transport network linking Nacala Port to the mineral-rich interior of Mozambique as well as to Malawi and Zambia.
“The transport of merchandise will be solved through three large projects to be implemented in the area, namely the construction of Nacala International Airport, the rehabilitation of the port of Nacala, and the conclusion of rehabilitating the roads and railways,” Nala told reporters in Maputo this past week.
Ten years ago, Mozambique, Malawi and Zambia signed an agreement formalising the establishment of a development triangle, giving impetus to Southern Africa’s regional integration drive.
“We aim to promote stability in the existing investments in the targeted regions and open new opportunities for investment associated with the development of Infrastructures,” Nala added.
The corridor plays an important role for the economies of Malawi and Zambia by giving the two land-locked countries access to the Indian Ocean.
Over 50 percent of Malawi's fuel imports – amounting to 250 000 tonnes per year – are expected to be shipped through the Nacala Corridor.
Presently, most of Malawi's imports come by road from South Africa, while fuel comes via the congested port in Dar es Salaam, Tanzania. The fuel tankers making the long journeys can spend up to 30 days on the road.
Zambia has potential to export at least 500 000 tonnes of assorted cargo annually, 150 000 tonnes of which can go through Nacala.
The country is a major exporter of tobacco for processing in Malawi, and it may need to increase its imports of fertilizers as the agriculture sector grows.
The key infrastructure of Nacala Corridor is the railway from Nacala Port to Malawi.
Brazilian mining giant Vale is investing US$4.5b to rehabilitate another port at Nacala and a railway line to transport coal from its mine in Moatiza, Tete. The line will have a stretch that enters Malawi territory.
The 912km line will transport 30 million tonnes of coal when complete and will service Vale and other miners.
Infrastructure bottlenecks are the main headache for companies scrambling to get a piece of the coal rush in Mozambique, and various firms have proposed projects to either upgrade old and dilapidated rail lines or build new ones.