Address by President Nelson Mandela at the Maputo Development Corridor Investor Conference

6 May 1996

Your excellency, President Joaquim Chissano;
Honourable Ministers from Mozambique and South Africa;
Business leaders from Southern Africa and abroad;
Distinguished guests;
Ladies and gentlemen,

We have long cherished the dream that one-time allies in the struggle for liberation would become partners in development.

We have during the past two years taken great strides in preparing to make that dream a reality.

With the Maputo Development Corridor Initiative we see the preparations coming of age in a concrete and most exciting way.

Over the past six months the governments of Mozambique and South Africa have been working together to put in place the necessary foundation for the launch of this initiative.

I would like to take this opportunity to commend all those involved for the speed and thoroughness with which this work has been done. Congratulations! You have laid a sound foundation.

The task now is to maximise private sector participation, essential to the success of the project. The development and co-operation elements of the initiative will make an important contribution to peace and stability in South Africa. The significance of this conference, therefore, lies in providing opportunities for investors to help make the Maputo Development Corridor a meaningful and sustainable initiative, at the same time as earning a profit for themselves.

Ladies and gentlemen;

The corridor has strategic significance in more ways than one.

It is a practical implementation of the commitment of our governments to regional co-operation within Southern Africa. Already, the mutual benefits of such co-operation for both Mozambique and South Africa stand out for all to see.

The South African government is committed to co-operating with Mozambique in its reconstruction as outlined in the Economic Recovery Programme. The Maputo Development Corridor initiative represents one of the major undertakings in this regard.

The Corridor initiative also fits firmly within South Africa's own strategy for growth and development. In this project are contained the most important elements of our investment strategy, such as; partnership of government and the private sector; investment in infrastructure; the stimulation of sectors that boost foreign exchange earnings; the attention to developing our human capital, and the creation of jobs.

This conference is the first of many steps to engage the private sector in this historic initiative. The projects to be presented here will show that a framework has been established in which sound and practical investment decisions can be made in a range of sectors, both in South Africa and Mozambique.

In the six short months since President Chissano and myself agreed to embark on this initiative, our two governments have jointly generated a vision and goals for the Corridor. Even more critical, they have done sectoral analyses and identified concrete projects. Business often, and quite correctly, is in the habit of urging governments to create conditions in which investment can thrive. This is one good example of such conditions, created both with visionary zeal and a knack for practical detail.

Key infrastructural projects, some of them the subject of agreements to be signed today, will improve efficiency in transportation, as well as increasing the carrying capacity for road, rail and port traffic. The toll road from Witbank to Maputo, for example, will see private sector involvement not only in construction but also in its operation over a long period. Similarly the upgrading of the port and rail facilities will be undertaken on a joint venture basis between South Africa and Mozambique, wit the private sector playing a critical role.

Substantial private sector interest already exists and preparations have begun. The obvious economic advantages and potential returns from investment in the corridor are going to result in a hive of activity. In anticipation, both governments have committed themselves to dedicating capacity for the longer term management co-ordination and promotion of the Corridor.

Simply put, the corridor makes access to and from Maputo easier and more efficient. It makes expansion of existing operations in mining, manufacturing, agriculture and tourism feasible, and it opens up substantial new investment opportunities in these sectors.

Local benefits, particularly in terms of jobs and the development of social services will be felt along the corridor and beyond. Sub-corridors will open gateways to communities in Mpumalanga and Northern province, and to the area North of Maputo to Pande.

Distinguished guests;

Current private sector feasibility studies include some giant projects, in both South Africa and Mozambique. They would enlarge enormously our region's capacity to add value to its abundant mineral and energy resources; to boost exports; and to create jobs.

Each of the mega-projects being considered for Maputo, for example, could double Mozambique's exports; and give a major boost to Maputo's urban renewal process.

If, in the past, our peoples shed blood in pursuit of a political idea; if hatred and destruction characterised inter-state relations; then today we can all together put our shoulders to the wheel in search of prosperity.

Our governments have blazed the trail of this new partnership. The challenge for investors is to match the boldness of this unique undertaking with their own practical decisions.

Let us all join hands in making a better life for all our peoples. Let us enter the new millennium in a partnership of creation and prosperity.

Source: Nelson Mandela Foundation