Saturday, January 22, 2022

Did Khama meet Guebuza over Port rail project?

The Office of the President will not confirm or deny if President Ian Khama’s private visit to Mozambique extended, perhaps, to a meeting with his counterpart, Armando Guebuza, on the back of media reports that Pretoria may be unhappy with the proposed Port rail project by Botswana, Mozambique and Zimbabwe.

Media reports last week said that South Africa may block the P70 billion port project. The planned port and pipe line are expected to shorten the time it takes to move Botswana’s imports and exports.

The South African media has spoken out against the planned project citing unnamed critics who claim the project could scupper the success of the tri-nation Lubombo transfrontier conservation project signed 10 years ago by South Africa, Mozambique and Swaziland.

“I would not wish to speculate on what the President might say to his Mozambique counterpart should the occasion arise. The Port rail project is, of course, something that has been progressing for some time and involves three countries ÔÇô Botswana, Mozambique and Zimbabwe, which in each case, to my knowledge, remain fully committed to its realization,” the government spokesman, Dr. Jeff Ramsay, said.

Khama’s Thursday visit to Mozambique was at the invitation of the Machel family for the opening of the Samora Machel Knowledge and Development Centre in Chilembene.

The President was accompanied by members of his family, and had been personally invited by the Machel family as Guest of Honour for the event, which will coincide with the 77th anniversary of Samora Machel’s birth in Chilembene in 1933.

The Samora Machel Knowledge and Development Centre has been established in honour of Mozambique’s renowned first President and liberation struggle leader. Its mission is to become a leading national institution for the promotion of political social and scientific knowledge for the benefit of communities in Mozambique.

The International Monitory Fund (IMF) says Mozambique continues to navigate well through stormy international waters. Economic growth in 2010, at an estimated 6› percent, fell slightly short of expectations but was one of the highest in the region. The IMF says buoyant megaproject exports offset the rising import bill related to surging fuel and food prices and significantly improved the external accounts, keeping international reserves at a comfortable level.

The IMF says this is projected to continue, as more such projects in the natural resource sector come online. However, recent increases in international food and fuel prices, through their secondary effects in the domestic economy, prevented a faster decline in inflation, which has continued to place a considerable burden on the most vulnerable segments of the population.

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