Mozambique has launched reconstruction works of the Sena railway line which connects Malawi to the port of Beira. The development comes just a day after the two countries signed a memorandum of understanding (MoU) that will revive this important, but neglected, railway line.
This follows discussions, last October, between President Lazarus Chakwera and his Mozambican counterpart Felipe Nyusi.
During the talks in Maputo, the two leaders decided to reopen the railway line which, some years ago, proved vital for intra-regional trade.
Speaking at the launch of the reconstruction work in Mutarara District, Nyusi described the line as an important step in making regional integration a reality. He said as a member of Sadc, he is as enthusiastic about the project as Chakwera is.
Mozambique has already done a good part of the 44-kilometre stretch that starts from Mutarare to Marka (Nsanje) from where Malawi is supposed to pick up.
In her remarks during the launch, Malawi’s acting consular general for Tete Province Jane Asani said the line is vital to Malawi which has millions of tonnes of its import passing through Mozambique every year.
“This speaks of how a good neighbour Mozambique is to Malawi. This is not just about our two countries but a fulfilment of Sadc regional integration which you (Nyusi) are currently chairing and agenda 2063,” she said.
Asani said while Malawi is yet to start the rehabilitation works, there is huge political interest to have the project done on time. She also said Covid-19, among other challenges, has delayed the project from the Malawi side.
On Friday, the Malawi Railways 1994 Limited, which is a government entity in charge of railway infrastructure, signed the MOU with their Mozambican counterpart CFM (a company in charge of railways and ports in Mozambique) at a ceremony in Sena District.
Acting Ministry of Transport and Public Works principal secretary Madalo Nyambose, who led the Malawi delegation, said the Sena Corridor is important for Malawi as it will reduce transportation costs from Beira to Malawi. she said Malawi is largely dependent on road transport which is not cost effective hence the revival of the line will improve the ease of doing business.
“The two leaders made the agreement and then a meeting of ministers followed. So, we are here to actualise this intention,” said Nyambose.
CFM president Miguel Jose Matabel said the Sena line is key as it does not only improve inter-regional trade but also “connects us and strengthens our relationship”.
Apart from holding talks with Nyusi, Chakwera has personally shown interest to revamp railway transport as evidenced in his speeches.
In the latest State of the Nation Address (Sona) Chakwera hinted reiterated his commitment in improving the railway sector which has been neglected for years.
This line has been inactive since 1986 following civil war in Mozambique.