The Malawi government is negotiating for funds from the African Development Bank (AfDB) to reconstruct the 64-km Blantyre–Zomba road, in the south of the country.
Finance Minister Goodall Gondwe says the bank has agreed to consider funding the project and that he “is hopeful that the discussions will be fruitful”.
Malawi will provide some of the funds required for the project and will include it in its budget for the next financial year.
The AfDB is expected to finance the project as part of its transport infrastructure development programme, which is meant to ensure that rural farmers have easy access to urban markets.
“Our major aim is to service the agricultural sector, but transport- ation has been a problem in Africa and that has denied farmers the chance to find markets for their produce. Our aim now is to finance several road-construction projects that will connect rural farmers to urban markets,” says AfDB country director for Malawi Frank Kufakwandi.
The AfDB, which has spent over $800-million on various projects in Malawi since it started oper- ating in the impoverished Southern African country in 1969, is also to partially finance the reconstruction of the Mzuzu–Nkhata Bay road, in Malawi’s northern region.
Meanwhile, the Malawi govern- ment has launched a multimillion- dollar road reconstruction programme targeting 20 main roads across the country.
The programme is being implemented with the assistance of the country’s bilateral and multilateral partners.
Notable projects to be included in this programme include the construction of the Thyolo–Makwasa–Muona–Makhanga road at an estimated cost of $46,5-million, and the $40- million rehabilitation of the Bangula–Nsanje–Marka road.
The Malawi government is also constructing the $59-million Zomba–Jali–Phalombe road and the $45-million Karonga–Chitipa road.
The rehabilitation and upgrading of the Masauko Chipembere highway, in Blantyre, has begun, with funding from the Japanese government to the tune of $15- million.
Japanese construction firm Shimz has been working on the road since April and is expected to complete the project in November 2009.
The Japanese government has also agreed to finance the construction of the Chiromo road/rail bridge, in the lower Shire Valley district of Nsanje, at a cost of about $8-million, and rehabilitate Zomba city roads.