Work on Zambezi bridge in Mozambique attracts 3,000 candidates for 600 jobs

16 May 2006

Maputo, Mozambique, 16 May – Three thousand people have already applied for around 600 jobs in construction of the bridge over the Zambezi river in central Mozambique, work on which will begin in August, a source from the contractor told Macauhub Tuesday.

The 600 jobs are an estimate of the number of people required to build the bridge, which is in the hands of the consortium of Portuguese companies Mota/Engil-Soares da Costa, over the next 36 months.

“The total workforce required is still unknown but we think that in an initial stage it will be 200 workers and then it will go up, to at least 600,” the same source added.

Most of the 3,000 candidates signed up at the District Administration of Caia, in Sofala, and are now waiting for a call up.

“There is no way we can set a number of workers for the job, there will be sub-contractors who at each stage will say how many are needed,” Elias Paulo, the director of the Office of the Bridge over the Zambezi told Macauhub.

It is expected the bridge will also create up to 2,000 indirect jobs.

The bridge over the river Zambezi, named the National Unity Bridge, is the biggest project carried out in Mozambique after the country’s independence form Portugal, in 1975, and will link the north, center and south of the country.

Currently, the traffic that travels along Mozambique’s national road No. 1, has to use barges to cross the river, on the border of Sofala and Zambezia provinces, a situation which can often lead to delays of a few days one of the river’s banks.

When it has been finished, the National Unity Bridge will be 2.3 kilometers long and 16 meters wide, with two lanes and a pavement area some 9 meters wide.

Construction of the bridge, which is expected to cost US$80 million to build and will be partially financed by the European Union (EU) and the governments of Italy, Japan and Sweden, was handed over to the Portuguese consortium following an international tender.

Work on the bridge was officially launched in February when the first stone was laid by President Armando Emílio Guebuza, and currently the span of the bridge is being designed.

In August, or at latest September, construction work is due to begin on the bridge, “which, basically, is the start of work by the sub-contractor that will make the foundations,” according to Paulo.

Alongside this project Mozambique is also building a bridge over the river Limpopo, which is in the hands of Portuguese construction company Teixeira Duarte, as well as a bridge over the river Rovuma, linking Mozambique to Tanzania, built by a Chinese company (macauhub)