London — The African Development Bank (ADB) on Tuesday announced that it has granted 665,000 US dollars to support the rehabilitation of the Machipanda railway which runs between the Mozambican port of Beira and the border with Zimbabwe.
The grant, which comes from the NEPAD Infrastructure Project Preparation Facility (NEPAD-IPPF) Special Fund, will fund the Environmental and Social Impact Assessment studies to ensure that the project takes into consideration resilience and sustainability.
The rehabilitation project includes welding the ends of new tracks to make them more robust, enabling the railway to bear 60-tonne wagons rather than the current maximum of 40 tonnes. In addition, work on reducing the curvature of fourteen critical bends along the line will allow trains to travel at 60 kilometres per hour which is twice the current speed limit.
The work is being carried out by the publicly-owned Ports and Railway Company (CFM). It began in 2019 and will be completed next year at a total cost of around 150 million US dollars.
Commenting on the role of the grant in the project, Pietro Toigo, ADB country manager in Mozambique, said that “as part of its Integrate Africa strategy, ADB is committed to strengthening the transboundary rail link between Mozambique and Zimbabwe in a manner that is sensitive to social and environmental impacts”.
The rehabilitation project is in alignment with the aims of the African Development Bank’s Country Strategy Paper for Mozambique 2018-2022, which focuses on two strategic pillars: infrastructure investments that enable transformative inclusive growth and job creation; and agricultural transformation and value chain development.
The African Development Bank financed its first project in Mozambique in 1977 and since then has focussed on supporting projects covering agriculture, transport, water and sanitation, energy, communications, mining, and finance.