Address by President Nelson Mandela at the launch of the Witbank-Maputo Toll Road, Ressano Garcia - Mozambique

6 June 1998

President Chissano;
Cabinet Ministers;
Ladies and Gentlemen,

When we launched the Maputo Development Corridor, we had a shared vision of economic prosperity for our people.

We knew we could promote it through the partnership which our governments had forged in the Maputo Development Corridor project. And we made a call on the private sector to show boldness and confidence in our commitment, so that we could together realise our vision.

Today we are witnessing the first fruit of this broader alliance. Here we are, two years later, ready to begin construction.

I would like to congratulate Trans Africa Concessions on winning the concession. On you depends not only the success of this particular project, but also through your example the continued confidence and involvement of the private sector in the rebirth of our continent.

To all those who bid for this concession contact: your courage and commitment in doing so, enabled us to find the very best partner for the project. Your response has been all that we hoped for when we set out to break new ground. With your help we have learnt much that will stand us in good stead as we rebuild the economy of our region.

To the members of our governments who were involved in the project: you have set a new benchmark for our two public sectors.

When we started out on the Maputo Development Corridor we knew it could improve the lives of those who lived within its broader catchment areas. We were confident that the infrastructure it established and the confidence it creates would bring a flow of new investment.

Already there are substantial investments in progress, such as the Gencor smelter in Maputo and the IDC/Enron iron reduction plant. Very soon, the port and rail concessions will be complete and the one-stop border facility will be in place.

These big investments create many opportunities for new enterprises to grow up around them. If local people seize these openings the benefits for themselves and for our two countries will multiply many times.

Indeed the impact of this initiative extends beyond our two countries to the region as a whole. Already the Maputo Corridor is inspiring similar projects elsewhere. It has helped set a trend that is changing the face of our region and making a concrete reality of our dream of development through co-operation.

As we co-operated in our struggle for liberation, as we stood together against oppression and violence, we are now joining hands to improve the lives of our people. Recalling the immense sacrifices of the Mozambican people as the stood with us, it gives South Africans great satisfaction to know what our joint efforts are doing for the economy and the people of Mozambique.

This spirit of partnership is the key to all our achievements and to our success in the future. We need partnerships not only between our two countries, as we have done for this road, but also between provinces, cities and sectors.

In order to sustain interaction between private and public sectors, and to make the most of local opportunities, the Maputo Development Corridor Company has been established. It allows countries nearest the corridor and the private sector to participate in promoting investment opportunities. It represents not only the larger private sector players but also indigenous Mozambique business and black business in South Africa. Wit this kind of membership, the company will be well placed to attract more investment.

Ladies and gentlemen;

Developing good policies and making good plans is no easy matter. But it is even more difficult to put them into action. That is why today's ceremony is so inspiring.

May we all continue to deliver on the commitments we made in May 1996.

Together we can realise the full potential of our natural resources and our people.

The rebirth of our countries, our region and our continent is in our hands.

Let us seize the opportunity! Let us build a corridor of prosperity and peace!

I thank you

Issued by: Office of the President

Source: South African Government Information Website