Friday, April 16, 2010

Investors sought for Nsanje airport development in Malawi

By: Marcel Chimwala -- 12th March 2010

The Malawi government is scouting for companies inter-ested in building an airport in Nsanje, which it plans to develop into a port city for the proposed $6-billion Shire–Zambezi waterway project.

Principal Secretary in Malawi’s Ministry of Transport and Public Infrastructure McPhail Magwira says the Malawi government wants the firms to invest in the airport infrastructure on a ‘build, operate and transfer’ (BOT) basis.

“Though we are yet to advertise for this, we are looking for private firms to participate in this public–private partnership arrangement,” he says.

Portuguese multidisciplinary engineering firm Mota Engil is constructing the Port of Nsanje using its own resources, also on a BOT basis.

The Portugusese firm signed an agreement with the Malawi government to manage the port for 40 years after construction before handing it over to government.

The Shire–Zambezi waterway project entails reopening the Shire and Zambezi rivers for navigation to provide a direct water transport link to landlocked Malawi.

The project, which has been embraced by regional groupings, including the New Partnership for Africa’s Development, the Common Market for Eastern and Southern Africa and the Southern African Develop- ment Community, will also directly benefit Mozambique and Zambia.

The project is currently in the feasibility-study stage and the implementors hope the study will be completed by June this year.