The fate of the joint feasibility report of the Shire – Zambezi waterway project awaits the scrutiny and approval of three transport ministers from Malawi, Zambia and Mozambique before it can be submitted to SADC.
For this year’s summit that is impossible because the three minsters that were scheduled to meet in Malawi from 6 – 7th August failed to meet to study the report, according to director of Information Dr Bright Molande.
Molande said this during an impromptu news conference held at the Gaborone International Convention Centre on Saturday.
Implicitly, the government’s action is a direct response to a story Nyasa Times carried last week.
He claimed that Malawi remained high on the SADC development agenda citing the inclusion of Malawi’s connectivity and infrastructure projects in SADC’s Regional Infrastructure Development Master Plan (RIDMP).
The RIDMPis a US$500 billion harmonised infrastructure blue printaims to deal with the region’s deficit in road, rail, ports, power, communication, water infrastructure and meteorology.
But combing through the 40 pages plan – http://www.sadc.int/files/7513/5293/3530/Regional_Infrastructure_Development_Master_Plan – there is no mention of the Shire – Zambezi waterway project.
Nyasa Times found the projects listed below.
“A number of dry port projects are under construction or in the planning stages to facilitate mode interface in the network. The rail link from Mchinji (Malawi) toChipata (Zambia) will have a cargo terminal to serve the adjacent part of Zambia with rail access through Malawi to the Mozambican seaports.
“A dry port at Dona Ana and a container terminal at Tete (Mozambique) are planned in conjunction with the rehabilitation of the Sena railway line to serve Malawi and eastern Zambia. Other dry ports are planned for Lusaka, Kitwe and Edeola in Zambia, outside Dar-esSalaam in Tanzania, at the Lebombo/Ressano Garcia border between South Africa and Mozambique and at Walvis Bay in Namibia,” reads the RIDMP.
Under the transport sector in the 40 pages RIDMP, some projects under Malawi are; the Dar-es-Salaam to Chalinze toll road, under the Tanzania, Zambia, DRC and Malawi SADC Dares-Salaam corridor.
The Nakonde – Tunduma OSBP Tanzania, Zambia, DRC and Malawi SADC Dares-Salaam corridor. Feasibility studies completed and construction started on Zambian side. MOU signed.
The Mtwara – Liganga -Muchuchuma – Songea – Mbamba railway Tanzania, Zambia, Malawi and Mozambique SADC Mtwara corridor.
However, Molande is unrepentant: “Let me point that SADC is still pursuing the Shire – Zambezi waterway project as one of the regional projects. In March 2015, SADC Executive Secretary Dr Stergomena Lawrence Tax told the Council of Ministers meeting in Harare Zimbabwe, that SADC Secretariat is coordinating the on-going feasibility of the navigability of the Shire – Zambezi waterway.”
- Collins Mtika is reporting for Nyasa Times at SADC summit in Gaberone, Botswana.