As Malawi is struggling to resolve the lake border row with Tanzania, Mozambique has asked Malawi to address the issue of border demarcation immediately because Mozambique will launch a comprehensive mapping of its mineral wealth.
Malawi claims sovereignty over the entire Lake Malawi, Africa’s third largest, based on the Helgoland Treaty, a colonial relic, while Tanzania claims under international law it is entitled to over 50 percent of the Lake known as Lake Nyasa in Tanzania.
The border row, which is more than 40 years old, resurfaced after Malawi discovered Oil in the Lake.
According to Mining in Malawi, Malawi is set to conduct a geological mapping of the country’s mineral wealth under the Mining Governance and Growth Support Project, which the Government of Malawi and the World Bank launched in January 2013.
Through this project, the French government has granted Malawi EUR 10 million for the mapping exercise but the project is yet to take off the ground.
The Mozambiquan Minister of Foreign Affairs, Oldemiro Baloi, who was in the country during a three day state visit said the exercise, should be preceded by a cooperation agreement between Malawi and Mozambique with agreement on clear border demarcation.
Mozambique President Armando Emilio Guebuza arrived in Malawi on Wednesday for a three-day State visit where among other engagements he is expected to seal the Agreement for Malawi-Mozambique Power Interconnection Project which had stalled under Malawi’s previous administration.
Apart from that President Guebuza also signed a Memorandum of Understanding for Cooperation in Public Security and Immigration, Memorandum of Understanding for Cooperation in Environment and Memorandum of Understanding for Cooperation in Youth and Sports.
But Malawi’s Minister of Mining John Bande while acknowledging the importance of clear border demarcation sounded defensive in an interview with the Daily times Newspaper.
“Our projects mainly involve sites inside the country and not the border areas that need reaffirmation. But it is really important that the borders be reaffirmed for the mineral activities and as Malawi, through the Lands Ministry, we will continue to carry out the project,” Bande said.
While the Ministry of Mines’ Principal Secretary Leonard Kalindekafe, noted that the re-mapping project is a welcome development because outdated maps have been in use.
“These were produced as far back as the 1950s, when the country was a British protectorate,” Kalindekafe said.
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