Maputo Development Corridor is a “success story”

5 June 2015

The Maputo Development Corridor (MDC), in southern Mozambique, has been highlighted in an African Development Bank report as the most successful regional interconnection initiative in sub-Saharan Africa.

In one chapter of a report on the country released recently as part of the “African Economic Outlook – 2015,” the African Development Bank (ADB) analyses the MDC, as well as other corridors of Mozambique, focusing on regional development and integration.

Noting that the country’s economic activity is mainly focused on the existing transport infrastructure, which still retains the structure created during the colonial era, the ADB said that, in the period that followed the Civil War (1976-1992 ), the authorities sought to transform traditional corridors into Spatial Development Initiatives (SDI).

The MDC, as one of the first initiatives of this kind in sub-Saharan Africa, is nowadays “often referred to as the most successful,” based on a rail and road link between Maputo and the provinces of Mpumalanga and Gauteng in South Africa, and providing Swaziland with an alternative to the port of Durban (South Africa).

The main “anchor” of this project, the ADB said, was aluminium smelter Mozal, a project deployed on the outskirts of Maputo at the turn of the new millennium, which represented an investment of about US$1 billion, the first major industrial project in the country.

So far, the ADB said, the MDC has received investments of about US$2.8 billion, and accounts for 42 percent of all the country’s entire export revenue, with companies from various sectors installed around it.

For the development of its road, railway, port and more recently gas transport (pipeline) facilities, the MDC involved several public-private partnerships, driven by the Maputo Corridor Logistic Initiative, which brings together several institutional partners from Mozambique, South Africa and Swaziland.

In the central region of Mozambique the Beira corridor is also an example of a well executed SDI, according to the ADB, as it began by linking Zimbabwe to the port of Beira via a road and a railway line, which was later extended to the coal province of Tete. Its road links have since been extended to Malawi, Zambia and the Democratic Republic of Congo.

The other outstanding projects are in Nacala, which “is rapidly developing,” Libombo with the Maputo corridor connecting it to the coastal areas of South Africa, Limpopo, linking Maputo to Zimbabwe via a rail network, and Mueda/Lichinga, in the north, connecting Lake Niassa to the port of Pemba and Tanzania.

The ADB said that the corridors of Maputo, Beira and Limpopo are supported by Regional Spatial Development Initiatives (RSDIP), within the legal framework of the Southern African Development Community (SADC), making Mozambique the sub-Saharan African country with most RSDIPs.

Since the middle of the last decade, Mozambique has spent about 10 percent of its gross domestic product (GDP) each year on investments in infrastructure, which is still insufficient to meet the country’s needs, noted the ADB. (macauhub/MZ)