Mozambique’s new China-funded Maputo-KaTembe bridge, the longest in Africa, includes high tolls

The Maputo-KaTembe bridge. Image by Alexandre Nhampossa, used with authorization.

On November 10, Mozambique inaugurated the Maputo-KaTembe Bridge, a four kilometer- long piece of infrastructure linking the center of the capital Maputo with the KaTembe district on the south side of the bay.

It’s the largest suspension bridge in Africa and one

of the 60 longest on the planet, in addition to a symbol of Chinese investment in Mozambique.The bridge was developed by the China Road and Bridge Corporation at a cost of 785 million United States dollars, making it the most costly facilities project undertaken in Mozambique because the country’s independence in 1975. It was 95 percent funded by loans from China’s EXIM bank, to be paid by the Mozambique state in twenty years time at a four percent interest (the remaining 5 percent came straight from the public coffers). The building and construction affected around 900 families, who needed to be rehoused. Authorities say the relocation procedure contributed to postponing the bridge’s inauguration, initially arranged for June 25, the date Mozambique commemorates its self-reliance.

The federal government hopes that the Bridge will serve the numerous locals of the KaTembe district who commute by little boats and ferryboat boats to the center of Maputo for work and research study.

KaTembe is officially part of the city of Maputo, but both regions are really various: the northern half of Maputo is a highly-urbanized center, with a population of around two million, while KaTembe lacks facilities and still has plenty of unused lands.

Authorities likewise want to boost trade and tourist from South Africa– the driving time between its east coast border and Maputo will now take around 90 minutes instead of the previous six hours.

The bridge, which has no pedestrian lane, will be tolled from 160 to 1200 Meticais (2.60 to 20 USD). Regular users will have an up to 75 percent discount rate. Currently, boat-crossing of Maputo expenses in between 10 and 1050 meticais (0.16 and 17.24 USD).

The inauguration ceremony of the Maputo-KaTembe bridge. Picture by Alexandre Nhampossa, utilized with permission.

However, the bridge has actually faced criticism from Mozambicans for the high expenses of the loans that permitted its construction — in addition to the toll charges that will help service them.

College student Sérgio Wiliamo stated on Facebook: There is here a failure of the federal government when determining such charges. In tasks like those, the fees do not aim to recover the preliminary investment, but to upkeep the infrastructure. It seems to me, and taking into consideration the high worths I have seen, there are gains that are expected to be obtained above the easy operationalization and maintenance of the infrastructure

Also talking about the fees, thinker and professor of Eduardo Mondlane University, Ergimino Mucale, wrote on Facebook: 

The essence of a bridge is to link, to unify, to (re-)establish contact. Mozambique is now the very first nation in history to distort the conventional significance of the concept of the bridge. The stunning and among the largest suspended bridges of Africa, Maputo-KaTembe, was born to develop or reveal, painfully, the space in between the rich and the wretched of one same nation. It is no longer the couple of miles separating the Maputo residents from here and there, but the numerous meticais of the coming tolls.

The inauguration ceremony of the Maputo-KaTembe bridge. Picture by Alexandre Nhampossa, utilized with approval.

A factor of World Vision, a development organization, Elvino Dias anticipates the bridge to be a relief for the residents of KaTembe, however likewise has appointments concerning the toll:

When we applauded that the Maputo KaTembe Bridge marked the end of the suffering of the people of that part of Maputo, I didn’t envision that it would be the beginning of another kind of slavery, and this time without an end in sight.

I do not care where the cash came for the building of the bridge or road came from, since I understand I’ve paid taxes that supposedly were for constructing such facilities. That’s why I in some cases wonder where taxpayer’s money goes to. Dear brothers, if they persist with such rates, we must state no to the eliticization of a public excellent.

Mozambican authorities are anticipating the bridge to sustain a daily average traffic of over 4 thousand automobiles, a substantial boost of the average of 200 vehicles that cross the bay by boat today.

Randolf Schoenefeld

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