The Indian government is willing to support the gradual construction of the railway backbone project, linking southern and northern Mozambique, as a way of increasingly facilitating the transport of people and goods in the Mozambican market.
The willingness was expressed in Maputo by Indian Foreign Minister, Subrahmanyam Jaishankar, during his visit to the country, when he visited Mozambique’s publicly owned Ports and Rail Company (CFM).
According to Jaishankar, cited in the Maputo daily “Noticias” on 28 April, India is open and ready to work and support the development initiatives of the Mozambican Government, especially in the area of railway transport, for which this Asian country has great potential. The minister recalled that in recent times, his country has supported Mozambique in the acquisition of locomotives, carriages and railcars.
For his part, Mozambican Transport Minister Mateus Magala said that the next step is to start negotiations between the two governments, as well as a visit to India to gather experiences on the implementation of railway projects of this size.
Recently, Mozambican Prime Minister Adriano Maleiane challenged CFM to develop actions for the gradual construction of the railway backbone project, connecting the southern and northern regions.
The main railways built under colonial rule all run from ports on the Indian Ocean (Maputo. Beira and Nacala) to neighbouring countries. The Portuguese never built any lines connecting the various regions of Mozambique.
The construction of a railway line connecting the north and south of the country is a long-standing project of the government. In September 2017, the then Minister of Transport and Communications, Carlos Mesquita, said that two companies interested in building the railroad had been identified. Mesquita did not advance the names of the companies but assured that the feasibility study for the line would be presented later that year. But no such feasibility study has yet been presented.
The distance between the northern and southern borders of Mozambique is about 1,800 kilometres as the crow flies.