Barely two weeks after the opening of the new Suez Canal, which is expected to double shipping capacity, reduce waiting times for ships and carbon emissions, Egyptian Ambassador Maher el-Adawy said his country is ready to help Malawi with expertise to implement the Shire Zambezi Waterway project.
With funding from the African Development Bank, the European Union, the World Bank and the government of Japan, the first phase of the construction of the port was completed two years ago but work halted after the Mozambican government demanded an environmental impact assessment before buying into the project.
Speaking in an interview in Lilongwe on Tuesday, el-Adawy said by completing the new 32 km Suez Canal project in less than a year, it shows that Africa has the technology to carry out huge projects.
“As Egypt, we are ready to offer our expertise to Malawi as regards the Shire Zambezi Waterway. The technology that we have shows that Africa can also carry out massive projects and make a difference in its economic sector,” said el-Adawy.
The ambassador said President Peter Mutharika gave his blessing to the Suez Canal project.
“It is encouraging that the President expressed his congratulations for the success of Egypt in implementing the Suez Canal expansion as a significant development of the African continent,” said el-Adawy.
He also said Egypt sourced the $9 billion for the project locally and its completion will increase trade volumes and spur development in supporting industries such as freight handling, transportation and logistics as well as encouraging many ports around the world to increase shipping volumes.
Minister of Transport Francis Kasaila could not comment on the issue as he was said to be in a meeting, but early this year he told the media that after stalling for two years, the Shire-Zambezi Waterway project will be revived and that feasibility study results will be released in March.
“We are almost done with the ground work and we are compiling a final report which will be released in March or April.
“We are doing all we can to ensure that the Nsanje Inland Port is operational because many people want to know what government is doing about it,” said Kasaila.
It is expected that once completed, the waterway will link Malawi to Mozambican ports on the Indian Ocean through the Shire-Zambezi River. n