Experts have hailed Malawi for being part of the Sadc Regional Infrastructure Development Master Plan (Ridmp) geared at boosting energy and trade.
Malawi is part of the Moatize-Nacala Railway Line and will soon sign the Malawi Mozambique Power Interconnection Deal, among other projects.
Economics Association of Malawi (Ecama) executive director Nelson Mkandawire in an interview last week, hailed Malawi for the projects which he said will help to reduce its power outages and access to regional markets.
“Malawi will certainly benefit from such projects because when countries are connected, they share goods and services and that stimulates economic growth.
“We should, however, stop politicising these projects so that whoever comes in government after the 2014 elections should easily carry them on,” he said.
Mkandawire, however, cautioned government to watch out against corruption which he said has the potential to stall the projects.
Indigenous Business Association of Malawi (Ibam) president Mike Mlombwa said the projects are welcome so long as they help to reduce problems exporters face.
“We appreciate government’s efforts in implementing these projects which we expect to help our members to access regional markets.
“We hope the projects will help those in cane furniture and curios businesses to export their goods to member States with ease,” he said.
Conceived in 2007 and planned to run from 2013 to 2027, the Southern Africa Development Community (Sadc) Regional Infrastructure Development Master Plan (Ridmp) establishes a strategic framework to guide the development of seamless and cost-effective trans-boundary infrastructure.
Sadc expects Ridmp to lead into future cooperation and planning which is essential for attracting investment into the region and promoting intra and inter-regional trade and foreign direct investment (FDI).
The programme is estimated to cost $500 billion (K165 trillion) and guides Sadc’s implementation of a coordinated, integrated, trans-boundary infrastructure networks in priority sectors of energy, transport, tourism, information technology, meteorology and water.
The plan is envisaged to attract investors from Asia, Europe and the United States of America.
Malawi is participating in a number of Ridmp projects apart from the Nacala and Dar es Salaam corridors. The country is soon expected to sign an interconnector deal with Mozambique.
Malawi is participating in the upgrading of dry port in the outskirts of Dar es Salaam which will act as an extension of the port for container and vehicle traffic for landlocked countries. This will also help to decongest the port of Dar es Salaam and the city in general.
Apart from the Nacala Corridor, Malawi is also participating in the development of reliable, effective and seamless transport infrastructure to provide better access to the Nacala Port by landlocked regions.
It is expected that the project will reduce transport costs and improve accessibility of communities to social services and markets; and improved road safety.
Malawi is also implementing a rail project, sponsored by Vale, from Moatize, western Mozambique to Nacala and eastern Mozambique through Malawi.
The project, among other things, seeks to upgrade the railway services on the corridor and provide coal export services on the route.