MAPUTO– Mozambican President Filipe Nyusi has inaugurated 13 bridges on the road linking Zambezia and Niassa provinces during a visit to the northern part of the country this week.

Eleven of the bridges are on the road from Nampevo, in the district of Ile in Zambezia, to the Lurio River which forms the boundary between the two provinces. The other two are in the Niassa province district of Cuamba. The bridges were built between 2013 and 2017, with funding from the Mozambican and Japanese governments, and cost a total of about 47.6 million US dollars.

At Thursday’s inauguration ceremony, on the bridge over the Lurio, Nyusi stressed the importance of good roads for economic development, saying they would stimulate agricultural production and marketing, trade and tourism. He believed that the corridor between Zambezia and Niassa could contribute to economic growth and to the economic integration of member countries in the Southern African Development Community (SADC) sub-region.

However, he was annoyed to find that the Lurio River bridge had already been sabotaged. According to a report on the independent television station STV, he was told that groups of fishermen had removed some connecting pieces from the bridge to use in their fishing gear.

Nyusi asked the contractor to replace the vandalised material, and urged the local community leaders to keep a watchful eye on the bridge to ensure that the sabotage is not repeated.

The bridges were built with public funds in order to stimulate development, he stressed, telling the leaders: You must stop this, because it is a disgrace. We must be the only country in the world where this happens.”

The Zambezia and Niassa provincial governors, Abdul Razak and Arlindo Chilundo, stressed that the new bridges will have an important impact on agriculture and trade. This will make it easier to move agricultural produce and allow people and goods to circulate in safe and comfortable conditions,” said Razak.

Chilundo regarded the bridges as another step forward in the government’s efforts to end the isolation of Niassa from the rest of the country and the world.