Mozambique’s urbanization boosted by Chinese projects

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Twenty years later, Maria Vicente can still clearly remember how she greatly admired the development of Beijing when she first set foot in the Chinese capital to attend the Fourth World Conference on Women in 1995.

“The city is very beautiful, with neat and wide roads and convenient transport,” recalled Vicente, who is now the administrator of the Marracuene district of Mozambique’s Maputo province.

But until five years ago, her own district was full of muddy roads and sewers, with nearly no basic facilities around.

That began to change thanks to the Maputo Ring Road Project, under construction by a Chinese company since 2012, and as the northernmost area of the project the district’s infrastructure has improved with new roads and a new Marracuene bridge across the Incomati river that runs through the district on its way to the Indian Ocean, both undertaken by the China Road and Bridge Corporation (CRBC).

Marracuene district lies besides the country’s only north to south highway, the N1, and connects it with the eastern section of the new Maputo Ring Road. The district was a popular tourist attraction in Mozambique’s colonial era on account of its expansive 21 miles of Indian Ocean beaches.

For now, the only way to cross the river is a busy ferryboat. “Although the ferry is a solution, it carries a lot of risks. With the bridge, traffic will be more secure and efficient. The bridge could also help solve the problems of transporting agricultural products from the other side of the river, especially on rainy days, thus reducing or even avoiding agricultural losses,” Vicente said.

The Marracuene bridge, which has been under construction since 2014, is one of nine bridges in the ring road project and is being built right next to the current ferry dock.

Filho Majate, a local car shop painter, has always taken his five-year-old girl to the crossing to play after work. He told Xinhua that although he has heard of the beautiful beaches across the river, he has never been to the other side since the ferry is not safe. “Once the bridge is constructed, I want to drive my whole family there to see the view,” he said.

For the main city part, with the newly built roads, Marracuene district is transforming, a new hospital and a new school have been established and the country’s biggest bank has set up a branch.

“I witnessed the whole construction process (of the new roads built by the Chinese company), tidying up the dirt layer underneath the old ruin, laying new soil… The new solidly built roads are all equipped with nice drainage facilities. It’s of great quality and should last long,” Vicente said.

Marracuene district has become a neat and tidy small town. “The improvement of transportation has largely energized the surrounding area and we are beginning to get rid of poverty and backwardness,” Vicente said.

The Maputo Ring Road will not only help solve the traffic problems on the N1 and around the capital Maputo but will also facilitate the urbanization of the outskirts of the capital and parts of Maputo Province.

This kind of “driving,” as Vicente pointed out, is increasingly becoming desirable assistance that many local leaders would like.

source: Xinhua and Staff Reporter

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