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Connecting Africa

On Saturday, 10 November, Mozambican President Filipe Nyusi and KwaZulu-Natal Economic Development, Environmental Affairs and Tourism MEC Sihle Zikalala officially opened the new Maputo-Catembe Bridge that connects Maputo and KwaZulu-Natal's east coast border.

The new bridge has overtaken the Matadi Bridge in the Democratic Republic of Congo as the longest suspension bridge in Africa. The three-kilometre-long suspension bridge extends 680 metres over Maputo Bay.

The brand-new structure connects Maputo on the northern bank of an inlet of the Indian Ocean that was previously only possible to cross by boat, to Katembe on the southern bank. It straddles the Indian Ocean inlet of the Espirito Santo estuary, 60 metres above the waters below. The bridge is also part of a project
that connects Maputo directly to the South African border by road for the first time.

"With the completion of this bridge, the connection of southern Africa to the north over land and across our country is guaranteed," said President Filipe Nyusi.

The project was a vision of former Mozambican President Samora Machel. In 1989, plans for an improved
transportation network, which included the proposal of a bridge, as part of Maputo's urbanisation policy, were endorsed by the World Bank.

The project was constructed by China Road and Bridge Corporation at a cost of over US$700m.

The Maputo-Catembe Bridge will reduce the travel time between Maputo to Kosi Bay, KwaZulu-Natal's East coast border post, from six hours to 90 minutes.

MEC Sihle Zikalala said that the new bridge will boost the countries' economies as it will enhance trade opportunities, which will make it easier for exports and imports between the two countries. Zikalala added that more trade between the two countries would create more jobs.

The Maputo-Catembe Bridge was one of the things that the signing of the African Continental Free Trade Area (AFCTFA) agreement aimed to achieve. The AFCTFA is aimed at facilitating a single market for goods and services on the continent.

The easier access will also boost tourism between the two countries. In addition, the bridge is not only Africa's longest suspension bridge, but is a great tourist attraction for Mozambique.

Crossing the bridge will cost South Africans approximately R40.

 Connecting Africa.GIF
 Connecting Africa.pdf

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