Japan says the K4 billion (about $13 million) South Rukuru Bridge it has constructed in Rumphi district is a testimony of its commitment to assisting Malawi.
Japanese Ambassador Fujio Samukawa was speaking at Jalawe in the northern Malawi district of Rumphi where the bridge stands.
The bridge was supposed to be officially commissioned on Tuesday, but President Joyce Banda cancelled the function following the death of MBC and Peopleâ€™s Party (PP) personnel in two separate incidents.
Minister of Transport and Public Infrastructure Development Sidik Mia said Malawi is grateful to the Japanese for the bridge on the M1 Road.
â€œThe M1 connects Karonga and Chitipa to the rest of Malawi and it will be important in transporting agricultural produce from those two districts. It is also a gateway to Tanzania where our fuel comes from,â€ said Mia.
He said the previous Bailey bridge was costing government a lot in constant rehabilitation.Â
Deputy resident representative of the Japanese International Cooperation Agency Shimoda Toru said the bridge is one of the projects Japan is implementing in Malawi.
â€œThis bridge falls in the area of grant aid. We also have technical cooperation projects where our experts help out in different sectors and we also have volunteers who have been deployed across Malawi…,â€ said Toru.
Jun Kamon of Dai Nippon Construction, the company that constructed the bridge, said the bridge has a lifespan of 100 years. He said construction took 25 months instead of the planned 19 due to fuel shortages that affected the flow of construction.