By Jorge Joaquim
Malawi has still not started construction work on a railway line to connect with Mozambique’s rail network, with the agreed deadline only nine months away.
Last year, Mozambique’s President Filipe Nyusi and the Malawian president, Lazarus Chakwera, agreed that the two countries would complete a rail link crossing the border at Vila Nova de Fronteira in Mozambique’s Mutarara district by March 2022.
But while Mozambique has completed half of its section of railway ‒ a 45km line in total from Mutarara to Vila Nova da Fronteira ‒ Malawi has yet to begin work on its 72km line.
A spokesman for Chakwera attributed the delay to the death of Malawi’s transport minister, Sidik Mia, and promised that the project could speed up when a successor was appointed.
An official at Malawi’s transport ministry said that a contract for the project was currently being reviewed.
The project, estimated at approximately US$26M, covers the construction of a 44-kilometre line from Mutarara, in Mozambique’s Tete province, to Lilongwe, the capital of Malawi.
Malawi currently imports more than 48 million tons of diverse cargo a year via Beira and Nacala ports in Sofala and Nampula provinces, respectively.