The Investment Conference in the southern Mozambican province of Inhambane, held on Thursday and Friday, has resulted in business partnerships for investments in projects to the value of 1.5 billion US dollars.
Announcing the results from the conference, Inhambane Provincial Governor Daniel Chapo said the sum includes investment in the production and processing of cashew nuts, the construction and operation of a clinic in the city of Maxixe, prospection for heavy mineral sands in Jangamo and Inharrime districts, the development of agriculture and livestock farming in Panda district, the processing of rice and pigeon peas, and several road rehabilitation projects.
The largest project announced was the construction of a regional road from Mapinhane in Inhambane to Pafuri, on the border between Gaza province and South Africa.
The South African company Capital Projects announced on Friday that 780 million US dollars are available for this road. It is expected that work will begin May 2018, and that the road will be completed within three years.
This road, which will be over 500 kilometres long, has been on the drawing board for more than ten years, and 500,000 dollars has already been spent on a viability study. The Mozambican government, however, always, had difficulties in raising finance to carry out the project.
Now the money has been raised thanks to a partnership between Capital Projects and the China Harbour Engineering Company (CHEC).
Capital Projects estimated the cost of the road at 780 million dollars, and its representative, Modise Khoza, told the conference “I’d like to announce that we have managed to raise this sum, and we are working with our partner, CHEC”.
Khoza said there will now be a period of “serious negotiations” with the government but he guaranteed that these negotiations will not compromise the take-off of building work in 2018.
The general manager of CHEC, Simon Zhang, told reporters that his company is investing in the road, because it regards it as a sustainable project that will bring multiple benefits to all parties involved.
This road would allow traffic from South Africa to reach central and northern Mozambique without passing through Maputo, Zhang said the road would prove very useful to mining and logistics companies in South Africa’s Limpopo province, and it is hoped that the Limpopo provincial government will support the project.
The Mozambican director of Capital Projects, Inacio Mussanhane, told AIM that four tollgates will be built on the Mozambican idea of the road and others on the South African side, to ensure the sustainability of the project.
The Mozambican Minister of Public Works, Carlos Bonete, said the Capital Projects announcement was “a light at the end of the tunnel” – but he stressed that the government has not yet been officially notified.
“So far these are intentions”, he said. “They have to sit and talk with us and we will look at the viability, and from there a decision will be taken”.
“We have had this project for a long time”, Bonete added. “We’ve been waiting for people to come, but they must come with seriousness so that we can advance”.
Capital Projects and CHEC “have committed themselves publicly that they are on board”, he said. “It wasn’t us – it was they who said what the project is and how much they intend to invest in it. So we’d like to believe that now we shall be able to advance”.
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