by TAONGA SABOLA
Trade and Industry Minister Henry Mussa said
on Friday a horde of European and Asian investors have expressed deep
interest to pump funds into the highly-publicised and ambitious
Shire-Zambezi Waterway Project which seeks to connect landlocked Malawi
to the sea over a distance of about 238 kilometres through the Zambezi
River in Mozambique.
Mussa was speaking during in Blantyre during a postmortem meeting
for local businessmen who went to sell Malawi in London on April 3 this
He said British firm HBH is interested in developing both the Nsanje
and Chinde Port with Indian and Chinese firms eager to take over the
shipping and container handling businesses.
"They would like to venture into concessions with us on these and
other issues and they will be coming into the country very soon.
"The Indians are ready to come here anytime with the Britons coming
here in the next three months. The Chinese would have been here by now
but have delayed a bit because their Deputy Trade Minister who was
supposed to lead them has retired and they are waiting for another
minister," said Mussa.
The Shire-Zambezi Waterway Project will involve the construction of
a waterway that will link landlocked Malawi’s inland port of Nsanje to
Mozambique’s Indian Ocean port of Chinde, a distance of 238 kilometres.
The project has a number of components with the first being a
comprehensive feasibility study. The study would include determining
the structural works and equipment necessary to make the river system
navigable as well as designing the structural works for the ports at
Nsanje and Chinde.
The study will include an economic, social and environmental assessment and a detailed execution programme for the project.
Mussa further indicated that there was also interest to venture into coal mining from an Indian firm involved in steel smelting.
"There were also other interests in fields like tourism with an
Indian Firm called Bollywood, which is willing to come and capture some
of our interesting tourism cites which they want to beam across the
"Other investors are interested in developing our exports and concessioning them for some years," said Mussa.
The minister urged the local business captains to come up with
bankable projects so that when the foreign investors come everything
should be in order.
The business executives resolved to form a steering committee to
coordinate the activities of the local and foreign investors. They
further agreed to conduct a similar meeting in Malawi for some local
people to appreciate the opportunities that are there in the country.