Renowned economist and University of Malawi (UNIMA) Economics Professor, Ben Kalua, has hailed President Dr. Lazarus McCarthy Chakwera for heeding calls to prioritize the renovation and construction of the Nacala Corridor Project.
Kalua said Malawi stands to benefit a lot from the project, which seeks to connect Moatize’s coal mine in Tete province, Mozambique, through Malawi, to the Port of Nacala, Mozambique, over a distance which totals 906 kilometres.
Among other activities whilst in Mozambique, President Dr. Lazarus McCarthy Chakwera will appreciate the developments on the project whose major objective is to contribute to regional integration and trade facilitation for Malawi, northern Mozambique, and Zambia.
There are two sections of the project in Malawi totaling 245 kilometres. A section of the project implies the construction and renovation of 100 km of already existing railway line and the other section implies the construction of a new railway line with 145 km from Kachaso in the border between Malawi and Mozambique and Nkaya Junction in Balaka district, Malawi.
Reacting to the decision by Chakwera to visit and appreciate progress of the project in Mozambique, economist Kalua described the project “long overdue for Malawi.”
“It’s good that President Chakwera is taking steps to have this project done. It will serve this country very well because, as a landlocked country, Nacala Corridor Project is the lifeline to Malawi,” he said.
According to Kalua, Malawi’s import expenditure is among the highest in the world, currently standing at 42 percent of the national gross domestic product (GDP).
“If implemented, Malawi will save a lot from transportation of goods and services,” he said.
According to the African Development Bank (AfDB), the multinational Nacala Road Corridor Development Project Phase V will involve rehabilitation of a 55km road between Nsipe and Liwonde in Malawi and construction of a one-stop border post (OSBP) between Malawi and Mozambique at Chiponde.
The project is pegged at UA45.289million and AfDB is expected to contribute UA 26.6million, representing 59 percent, the European Union (EU) will contribute UA15.121 million, representing 33 percent while the Government of Malawi will pay UA3.658 million, which is eight percent of the total budget.
AfDB dossier says the project shall be implemented over a period of five years starting in July 2019 and ending in June 2024.
The Nacala Road Corridor is the shortest route to the seaport for Malawi, northern Mozambique and Zambia.
The catchment area of the Nacala Road Corridor extends from Lusaka in Zambia, through Malawi, and northern Mozambique to Nacala Port.
It is estimated that a population of over 2 million will benefit from the Nacala Road Corridor for personal travel and economic activities.
Other beneficiaries include import and export firms in Malawi, Zambia, and northern Mozambique as well as tourists who use the corridor to reach desired sites in the three countries.
In addition to the above, the Nacala Road Corridor will be an important alternative route to the seaport for Malawi and Zambia while the transport infrastructure along the Beira Corridor that was damaged during Cyclone Idai is being repaired.
The total amount committed by the Bank and other development partners (DPs) so far on the overall multinational Nacala Road Corridor Development Project in Malawi, Mozambique, and Zambia is UA413.041million (approximately USD576.26 million).