The project will involve road rehabilitation in Malawi from Mangochi to Liwonde and the establishment of two one-stop border posts (OSBP) between Malawi and Zambia and between Malawi and Mozambique.
Launching the one-stop border post between Malawi and Zambia in Chipata Zambia on Monday, the two governments pledged to ensure that the project is completed by the 2017 deadline.
“Timely implementation of this project is critical for Zambia and Malawi to realize tangible benefits,” said Zambia’s Minister of Transport, Works, Supply and Communications Yamfwa Mukanga.
Malawi’s Minister of Industry and Trade Joseph Mwanamvekha said once completed the one-stop border post will help to reduce the number of disruptions and processes associated with cross border transactions and will ease trade and movement of people.
“Reducing lead times on exports by improving the efficiency of customs procedures is one of the key strategies for achieving export-led growth in Malawi.
Therefore, improving the efficiency of trade procedures will enhance the competitiveness of the country’s exports in regional and international markets,” said Mwanamvekha.
The OSBP is not a new phenomenon, Zambia and Zimbabwe developed and implemented the continent’s first one at Chirundu in 2009 and the move is said to have saved the two countries millions of US Dollars.
Traditionally, Nacala was the closest port to Malawi but its use was disrupted by the war in Mozambique.
The opening up of the Nacala Corridor will therefore provide the two countries with the shortest possible route to the Indian Ocean and complete the ports of Beira in Mozambique, Durban in South Africa and Dares salaam in Tanzania.
Officials from the two countries are still discussing and consulting on how the project will be implemented including the legal and environmental implications to ensure a smooth execution.