Mozambique and Malawi plan to study navigability of Zambezi River

14 May 2012

Technicians from Mozambique and Malawi will carry out feasibility and environmental impact studies to determine if the Zambezi River is in fact navigable, according to an agreement signed Saturday in Maputo by the Presidents of the two neighbouring countries, Mozambican newspaper Notícias reported.

Navigation of the Zambezi River has caused misunderstandings between the two countries, after Malawi unilaterally tested its navigability from the port of Nsage, in Malawi, to the Chinde district in Mozambique’s Zambézia province, allegedly to reduce the cost of imports via the Mozambican ports of Nacala and Beira.

Recently mining companies operating in Mozambique, specifically Anglo-Australian company Rio Tinto, presented an environmental and social impact report on the navigability of the Zambezi River, which was rejected by the government for not answering important questions, such as how to limit the adverse effects of transporting coal by river.

On Saturday, the Mozambican and Malawian Foreign Affairs and Cooperation ministers, Oldemiro Balói and Ephaim Chiume, respectively, said that the two countries had also agreed from now on to deal with issues about the navigability of the Zambezi together.

They also gave assurances that the African Development Bank had shown interest in funding the technical studies.

During Saturday’s talks, which marked the start of a visit by President Joyce Banda to Mozambique, the delegations of the two countries signed memoranda of understanding in the areas of diplomacy and energy.  (macauhub)