GABORONE, Mozambican President Filipe Nyusi has expressed the hope that landlocked Botswana will increase the use of Maputo port for its imports and exports.

Speaking in Gaborone Monday at the start of a three-day State visit to Botswana at the invitation of his Botswana counterpart, President Ian Khama, Nyusi said Mozambique was expanding the capacity of Maputo port so that it can handle much larger vessels than in the past.

We think another opportunity has been opened for Botswana to use Maputo for its trade,” he added.

In February, the Maputo Port Development Company (MPDC) announced the conclusion of dredging of the access channel from 11 to 14.2 metres, allowing ships of up to 80,000 tonnes to dock, and making the port more competitive on the regional and international markets.

Nyusi added that Maputo could be complemented with a new deep water port, at Techobanine, in Mozambique’s southernmost district of Matutuine. This port is still at the phase of studies, assessment and negotiation.

Techobanine port, in the framework of the effective growth and diversification of our economies, will be a strategic asset for Mozambique, Botswana and Zimbabwe,” Nyusi said.

Khama agreed and stressed the need for Botswana and Mozambique to step up efforts to ensure that Techobanine port is indeed built, and that a new railway line connecting the port to Botswana is also built.

The development of this vital transport corridor will make it possible to exploit the potential of both countries and will also contribute to greater regional integration,” he added.

Nyusi also asked Botswana for its assistance in exploiting mineral resources in Mozambique. Since Mozambique is at the phase of discovering its mineral resources, and in an embryonic phase of exploiting them, we would like to benefit from the experience of Botswana in capitalizing on our gains, and making them sustainable catalysts of economic growth and the welfare of our people,” he said.

Nyusi invited Botswanan businesses to participate actively in implementing the existing anchor projects in Mozambique, especially in the areas of the development corridors, the generation and transmission of electricity, tourism, agriculture and livestock, and mining.

We believe that your participation in these and other projects may encourage the socio-economic development of our two countries and stimulate regional integration, he added.

Nyusi noted that, in the recent past, Mozambique and Botswana were in the same battle, fighting side by side to overcome foreign rule, but today we enjoy the conditions to win in the struggle for social and economic development.

Earlier Monday, Nyusi met with a delegation of about 20 Mozambican business people who had accompanied him to Gaborone, and stressed to them that the reason they had come was to raise the level of economic relations between Mozambique and Botswana.