Japan has expressed interest to support the development of the Nacala Corridor to connect Malawi, Zambia and Mozambique to facilitate the movement of goods and people, within, to and from the three countries.
For Malawi as a land-linked country, the critical element in developing the corridors has been to connect to sea ports for the smooth transportation of imports and exports.
Currently, Malawi pays 15 percent more to transport goods from the sea compared to other countries in the regional bloc, according to the Common Market for Eastern and Southern Africa (Comesa).
However, lack of resources continues to be a major setback to the country’s dream of having a fully operational transport corridor; decades after the ideas were hatched, forcing the country to rely on Nacala.
Meanwhile, Japan, through the Japanese International Cooperation Agency (Jica), is conducting data collection survey on the Nacala Corridor Integrated Development.
In an interview on Friday, Japanese Ambassador, Kae Yanagisawa, said the Nacala Port in Mozambique if further developed has the potential to promote economic development in the three countries.
“Since Nacala Corridor is leading to Nacala Port in Mozambique, it is crucial to utilise the industrial potential to develop and promote the entire Nacala Corridor region,” said Yanagisawa.
The Japanese envoy, who hosted the media on
to a dinner at her residence on Friday as part of commemorations of Africa Day, said the study being carried out on the potential of the corridor will be shared and discussed in seminars with the governments of Malawi, Zambia and Mozambique.
Yanagisawa also said her government is more than willing to cooperate with regional economic communities such as Southern African Development Community (Sadc) and Comesa because it believes that Africa will benefit more through such regional bodies.
This project is falling under Japan’s Promotion of Regional Integration in Africa where during the Tokyo International Conference for African Development (Ticad VI) that was held in Nairobi, Kenya, it was agreed that Japan should promote comprehensive development of the Nacala Corridor.
Ministry of Transport and Public Works spokesperson James Chakwera is on record as having said that Nacala corridor has recently greatly benefited from the newly constructed rail by Vale Logistics Limited whose core purpose is to move coal from the western side of Mozambique to the port of Nacala in the East.
“Within the confines of the Concession Agreement, Malawi is already benefitting from the improved line. International ports are always competing for customers, especially within the hinterland they serve. To be able to do so, they reduce some of the port charges in order to attract traffic. Any such reduction translates to a corridor being attractive and less costly to hinterland countries it serves,” he said.
In an earlier interview, Chancellor College economics professor Ben Kaluwa emphasised on the need for Malawi to prioritised the transport corridor as it is key to development.
The Nacala Corridor spanning from Nacala Port in northern Mozambique to Malawi and Zambia is rich in energy resources, good climate and fertile soils.
United Nations Economic Report on Africa (Uneca) 2016 shows that Malawi’s transport sector accounts for 56 percent of landed transport costs and 30 percent of export costs, thereby increasing the costs of imported consumer goods and hurting Malawi’s regional trade competitiveness. n