An upgraded road in northern Mozambique is more than just a road - The Milange-Mocuba Road diaries

An upgraded road in northern Mozambique is more than just a road - The Milange-Mocuba Road diaries

INTEGRATED DEVELOPMENT OF MILANGE – MOCUBA CORRIDOR

Some suppliers would refuse to come here because of the poor access. Often, their cars would break down along the middle of the road and it was particularly problematic for big trucks with fragile cargo. We’d run out of stocks and our clients would complain.... But since the road was rehabilitated, life has changed. Now cars arrive on time and this has been very good for our business.

Quenisse Rodrigues, wholesale warehouse manager in Milange, Mozambique.

CONTEXT

The Milange-Mocuba Corridor is a fertile agricultural region which so far has had little share in Mozambique’s recent economic growth because it lacks good transport infrastructure. A Participative Poverty Study conducted in Mozambique back in 1995 concluded that the number one priority of “the poorest of the poor” was not healthcare or education, but a road they could use all year round. The explanation was simple. If you have a road, you can travel. And if you can travel you can access markets where the prices of agricultural products are high and consumer goods less expensive.

OBJECTIVES

  • To upgrade the final 190 km of the route (Milange – Mocuba) to pavement standard thereby opening up areas of significant agricultural production along the Milange-Mocuba corridor to markets, promoting economic and social development, enhancing regional integrating and reducing poverty.

RESULTS

  • Approximately 1.4 million Mozambicans, living in the bordering districts of the corridor, will benefit from better rural and highway transport that will allow farmers to market their produce more profitably, encourage investors to create employment opportunities in the corridor, and allow its inhabitants to travel and access healthcare and education opportunities more easily.
  • First phase completed in August 2013 and upgraded from gravel to pavement standard the 80-km stretch of the N11 from Mocuba to Alto Benfica.
  • Second phase connecting Milange to Alto Benfica, upgraded the 110 km highway, upgraded two bridges and new construction of two further bridges at Mutuasse and Namilate damaged by the 2015 floods.

FACTS AND FIGURES

  • Between 2010-2018, the EU funded (EUR 150 Million) the upgrade of Milange-Mocuba corridor (190-Km), contributing to promote economic and social development in rural areas.

TESTIMONY

STORIES FROM THE ROAD - #2 Quenisse Rodrigues, Wholesale Warehouse Manager

“My name is Quenisse Rodrigues, I come from the Namacurra district and work as a warehouse manager at Handling, a wholesale drinks company here in Milange.

Our life has improved a lot with the new road. In the old days a car would take a long time to get here from Mocuba. With a good car it might take 5-6 hours, but with a bad car it could take as much as 17 hours. 

Some suppliers would refuse to come here because of the poor access. Often, their cars would break down along the middle of the road and it was particularly problematic for big trucks with fragile cargo. It’s not so long since we had a car get stuck in the road and lose 500 crates of drinks. That’s a heavy loss.  Meanwhile we’d run out of stocks and our clients would complain.

But since the road was rehabilitated, life has changed. Now cars arrive on time and this has been very good for our business. We used to have 1 warehouse and now we have a second one. We’re even expanding our range, ordering products that weren’t previously available in the market and they sell very quickly.

The life of the retailers who buy from us has improved too. They used to have to wait a long time at the bus stop for transport. Now the buses are very regular. Or they would carry their load away on bikes, but because of the potholes, sometimes they’d lose it on the road. That is not happening anymore.

Everyone is benefiting from the rehabilitation of our road. Even people who don’t travel gain, because they can get what they want right here at home.

And prices are lower now because transporters don’t have to pay as much for repairs. Something that used to cost MTS 300, MTS 400, now costs MTS 240 or even MTS120.

When we have new infrastructure, new roads, we develop. Everyone wants to develop. No one wants to be left behind. If we continue like this, in the future Mozambique will be a better place”.