China’s bridge-artery project helps boost Mozam­bique’s im­age

China Daily (Hong Kong) - - BUSINESS -

MA­PUTO — Idel­cia Ma­pure, a Mozam­bi­can ar­chi­tect in the south­ern African na­tion’s cap­i­tal Ma­puto, says the newly in­au­gu­rated Ma­puto Bay Bridge will be the city’s “post­card” that will iden­tify it­self on the African con­ti­nent and around the world.

“Cities all around the world have their ref­er­ences, and the bridge will be Ma­puto’s post­card be­cause this bridge im­proves the land­scape of Ma­puto,” Ma­pure said.

The long­est twin-tower sus­pen­sion bridge in Africa, which hov­ers across the Ma­puto Bay with a main span of 680 me­ters, was of­fi­cially opened to traf­fic in Novem­ber.

The bridge is part of the Ma­puto Bridge and Link Roads project built by the China Road and Bridge Cor­po­ra­tion, with Chi­nese stan­dards and fi­nanc­ing sup­port.

Speak­ing at the in­au­gu­ra­tion, Filipe Jac­into Nyusi, pres­i­dent of Mozam­bique, said the project will greatly fa­cil­i­tate trans­port and con­nec­tiv­ity be­tween the coun­try and other parts of the African con­ti­nent.

Ma­pure, an ar­chi­tect and plan­ner in the Na­tional As­so­ci­a­tion of Mozam­bique Mu­nic­i­pal­i­ties that rep­re­sents the 53 mu­nic­i­pal­i­ties of the coun­try, said the bridge would also add value to the out­ly­ing ur­ban dis­trict of Katembe at the other side of the Ma­puto Bay.

“Katembe is part of the Ma­puto city, but it was al­ways for­got­ten as if it wasn’t Ma­puto. The bridge will clear that and make Katembe into one po­ten­tial area that rep­re­sents the ex­ten­sion of Ma­puto city,” said Ma­pure.

Ader­ito Chivurre, an ac­coun­tant liv­ing in Ma­puto, shares the same point of view re­gard­ing the im­por­tance of the bridge to the coun­try’s econ­omy and that of Ma­puto city in par­tic­u­lar.

He praised the fact that the bridge would mo­ti­vate peo­ple’s in­ter­est to live in Katembe, which will make the dis­trict’s de­vel­op­ment faster. “More­over, trans­port by road be­tween Mozam­bique and South Africa will also be much ef­fi­cient dur­ing peak sea­sons such as Christ­mas and Easter, among oth­ers,” he said.

Joao Mat­lombe, coun­cil­man for trans­port in the Ma­puto Coun­cil, said that the bridge is strate­gic to the cap­i­tal of Mozam­bique as it will bring ben­e­fits in terms of mo­bil­ity and will al­low the city to grow southerly against the cur­rent ten­dency to ex­pand only to­ward the north­ern re­gion such as the Mar­racuene dis­trict.

“We al­ready have an ur­ban­iza­tion plan for Katembe and it in­di­cates that there will be more than 400,000 fam­i­lies that will be liv­ing in Katembe in the com­ing 15 to 20 years against the cur­rent 25,000. This is an added value that can­not be doubted,” said Mat­lombe.

Mat­lombe re­vealed ear­lier that travel on the bridge takes just sev­eral min­utes com­pared to the tra­di­tional ferry ser­vice, which some­times could take up to one hour.

There are also re­port­edly plans by both pri­vate and pub­lic en­ti­ties to de­velop the dis­trict of Katembe. Among the plans are the trans­fer of the coun­try’s Assem­bly of the Repub­lic to Katembe and the con­struc­tion of par­lia­ment res­i­dences for MPs.

More­over, there are em­bassies that had ex­pressed in­ter­est to build their of­fices in Katembe and there is also a plan for the con­struc­tion of 4,000 so­cial hous­ing units.

An­other group of peo­ple hail­ing the Ma­puto Bay Bridge is the As­so­ci­a­tion of Ma­puto Taxi Driv­ers (Tax­ima) who say that the bridge will con­trib­ute to in­creased prof­its be­cause Katembe is a tourism desti­na­tion.

“Reach­ing Katembe used to be dif­fi­cult, but the bridge will give op­por­tu­ni­ties to any taxi driver to ac­com­pany clients to the beaches at Ponta de Ouro and oth­ers,” said Mi­cas Cuna, ex­ec­u­tive sec­re­tary of Tax­ima.

Con­struc­tion of the project started in June 2014. The con­tract amount is $785.8 mil­lion, with 95 per­cent of the fund­ing pro­vided by China through pref­er­en­tial and buy­ers’ loans.

The Ma­puto Bridge and Link Roads project will serve as the ar­te­rial high­way that di­rectly links cap­i­tal city Ma­puto south­ward to the bor­der with South Africa. It in­cludes North Link Road, North Ap­proach Bridge, Main Bridge, South Ap­proach Bridge and South Link Road, with a to­tal length of 187 km.

The project, ac­cord­ing to the con­trac­tor, has gen­er­ated to date 3,788 jobs for the lo­cals and pro­vided skills train­ing op­por­tu­ni­ties for thou­sands of lo­cal em­ploy­ees.

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