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Moz, Malawi trade boom on track
Mail & Guardian
OWN CORRESPONDENT, Maputo | Friday (29 Sep. 2000)

MALAWI and Mozambique are looking forward to a $900m investment boom after
reopening a rail link that reconnects landlocked Malawi to an Indian Ocean
port with a short and cheap route that civil war once made impassable.
Presidents Joaquim Chissano of Mozambique and Bakili Muluzi of Malawi signed
an agreement launching the Nacala Development Corridor, the road and railway
linking Malawi to Mozambique's northern port of Nacala.

Malawi and Mozambique expect investments in the Nacala corridor to total
about $900m.

Apart from rebuilding the road and railway, the two nations also plan to
promote the development of a wide range of businesses along the route,
including mining, agriculture and tourism.

Mozambique's 16-year civil war brought traffic along the 800km route to a
near halt. Before the war, about one-third of Malawi's trade traveled along
the route.

Since 1984, movement along the corridor had slowed to a trickle and forced
Malawi to use South African ports for 80% of its traffic. The nearest South
African port, Durban, is some 2 300km away.

But the end of Mozambique's civil war in 1992 has allowed the corridor to

Traffic is already up, with 76 000 tonnes shipped on the route between
January and June this year. In addition, travel time is now down from seven
hours to four.

The two neighboring countries agreed to redevelop the corridor in 1998
because of its vast economic potential for the region. Authorities hope the
easy access to a port will boost mining, agriculture and tourism in northern
Mozambique and southern Malawi.

Mozambique has already launched a similar project with South Africa,
connecting Maputo the South African city of Witbank.

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