The project had been stopped because of lack of funds, although the Malawi government in 1999 secured a $17-million loan from the African Development Bank (ADB) for the project.
Malawi's deputy minister of public works Jan Jaap Sonke reports that the European Union (EU) has agreed to provide the remainder of the funds required for the road project.
The deputy minister assures that the project will start in the second quarter of this year, and that tenders are expected to be announced in the coming months.
"As soon as all arrangements are finalised we expect to start construction of the road," says the deputy minister.
He declines to reveal the exact sum of money his government has secured from the EU for the project, but says construction will initially start on the part of the road planned for the ADB loan, saying the acquiring of additional funds from the EU will facilitate the ADB funds being released. He explains that this is because the conditions of the ADB loan stipulate that the money will be disbursed only after the Malawi government has acquired sufficient funds for the project. Before the emergence of the EU on the scene, the Malawi government had been approaching a number of potential financiers for the road project to ensure that it is initiated as the road is of strategic importance for cross-border trade between the country, neighbouring Zambia and Tanzania.
The Republic of China, which assists Malawi in a number of development projects, donated funds to the tune of $4,5-million for the project.
A Chinese company is currently constructing the part of the road earmarked for the Chinese grant.