MAPUTO– The Mozambican government is seeking funding to rehabilitate the country’s main North-South Highway (EN1), particularly the stretches which are most degraded, says President Felipe Myusi.

Addressing a rally in Chemba district in the central province of Sofala, about 1,400 kilometres north of here, on Monday, he voiced concern over the deterioration of ENI, particularly the stretch from Inchope in Manica province to Caia on the south bank of the Zambezi River.

There has been a shocking decline in the state of the highway, which was fully rehabilitated in 2003. After that reconstruction, government members, answering questions in the country’s parliament, even boasted that the Inchope-Caia stretch was like a race track.

Now, however, the deterioration is such that this stretch of EN1, which runs along Mozambique’s 2,400-km coastline, needs to be repaved again, which will require more resources than the state Budget can currently afford.

Recognizing the negative impact this has on the country’s economy, Nyusi said that, while resources are not available for the full rehabilitation of the highway, phased interventions must be made at the most critical points to improve the movement of traffic.

Driving along the 300 km from Inchope to Caia is a grim experience. Potholes of all sizes lie in wait for the unwary motorist, and it can take almost a day for a heavy truck to negotiate this distance. When the road was in good condition, it would take perhaps three hours.

Yet this is a key part of Mozambique’s transport backbone. Goods travelling between the north and south of the country have little alternative but to use it.