Maputo - With the signing on Wednesday in Beijing of an agreement between the Mozambican government and the Chinese Exim Bank, the funds are now guaranteed to build a bridge across the Bay of Maputo, connecting central Maputo with the district of Katembe (AIM).
According to a source in the Finance Ministry, cited in Thursday’s issue of the Maputo daily “Noticias”, the loan from the Exim Bank is for 681.6 million US dollars, which is 85 per cent of the total cost (725 million dollars) of the project.
As for the rest of the money, 10 per cent is in the form of a soft loan, also from the Exim Bank, and five per cent come from the Mozambican state budget.
The bridge will be built 48 metres above the bay, thus ensuring that ships of any size can enter and leave Maputo port at any time of day. The bridge will have two carriageways and a total length of 2.7 kilometres.
The project includes not only the bridge, but the construction of 120 kilometres of road from Katembe to Ponta de Ouro, an important tourist resort on the border with the South African province of KwaZulu-Natal.
The bridge will come as a great relief to people who live in Katembe , but work or study in Maputo. Currently they are obliged to queue for a ferry service across the bay.
The bridge will make Katembe a much more desirable place to live. Its population is expected to expand from the current 20,000 to perhaps as many as 400,000 in the next two to three decades. Many of these people will doubtless move from the more overcrowded neighbourhoods of Maputo.