MAPUTO – SADC is slowly realising its hopes for regional integration, given the number of cooperation deals between member states in different economic, political and social sectors.

MOZAMBIQUE and MALAWI have just signed an agreement worth TWO-BILLION-500-MILLION US dollars to expand the NACALA Development Corridor.

RADIO MOZAMBIQUE says the project involves improvement of rail and road facilities stretching over some 900 kilometres crossing both countries to the INDIAN Ocean.

It says the signing, held in the capital, MAPUTO, involved MOZAMBICAN Foreign Affairs and Cooperation Minister OLDEMIRO BALOI and MALAWIAN Transport and Public Services Minister of JAPPIE MHANGO.

The TWO governments expect the Corridor to encourage economic growth through viable businesses in the transportation, agriculture, commerce, mining and tourism sectors.

Minister BALOI says his government and MALAWI will now be able to respond to the transport challenges their countries have been facing all along.

He says the recent deal strengthens an accord they signed NINE years ago in 2008 to set up the Corridor, which the authorities now want to expand and modernise.

The NACALA Development Corridor will further help the countries face the current logistics and transport challenges suffered because of the budget deficits they have been recording lately.

MOZAMBICAN Transport and Communications Minister CARLOS MESQUITA, who has also witnessed the signing ceremony, says the agreement will benefit both MALAWI and MOZAMBIQUE.

He says the facility is enabling his country transport coal from the MOATIZE Region to the Port of NACALA for export, with passenger trains also operating from NACALA to ENTRELAGOS in NIASSA Province and on to MALAWI.

Minister MESQUITA says the NACALA Development Corridor is a tool that will have a very strong impact on the development of the TWO neighbouring countries.

He says the project will help develop agriculture, tourism, trade, and other areas linked to the development of the involved countries – including other landlocked nations like ZAMBIA and the DEMOCRATIC REPUBLIC OF CONGO.

The MALAWIAN Transport Minister says his government will work to ensure both public and private operators use the MOZAMBICAN Port of NACALA for their imports and exports, to fulfil the cooperation deal./Sabanews/cam