This past weekend, the president of Mozambique opened the three-kilometre long Maputo-Katembe bridge, officially the longest in Africa.
Costing a massive R11.3 billion at current exchange rates ($785 million) with a main span measuring 680 metres, the bridge starts in Maputo and ends in the town of Catembe.
The bridge – constructed by the China Road and Bridge Corporation, a Chinese parastatal – also creates a much shorter route between Mozambique and South Africa.
Previously, it took South Africans up to six hours to drive from Kosi Bay (SA’s east coast border post in KwaZulu-Natal) to Maputo and surrounding holiday destinations due to ridiculously bad roads – the bridge now reduces this time to roughly 90 minutes, according to Africa Check.
The Maputo-Katembe bridge has been plumped 60 metres above the Maputo bay and could pass for the iconic Golden Gate’s cousin in San Fransisco.
The bridge is expected to promote tourism in Mozambique.
The Maputo-Katembe bridge forms part of one of many construction projects spearheaded by the Chinese government across Africa.
The bridge will be tolled from about R40 (160 meticais, Mozambique’s currency) for smaller vehicles to roughly R330 for larger vehicles, according to AIM, the national news agency in Mozambique.
SA’s debt-ridden neighbour, whose sovereign credit ratings have been catastrophic for some years, will need to milk revenue from the bridge to pay back their Chinese debts. Mozambique is reported to owe a whopping R33 billion ($2.3 billion) to the Chinese government.