Chakwera sampled the state of the road last month
* We are happy that our request for the road, which has been overdue, is now being fulfilled—Senior Chief Chowe
* The road condition has been a serious concern among the residents of Mangochi, particularly people along the road as well as road users
* The road will facilitate inter and intra trade activities—President Chakwera
By Bishop Witmos & Maston Kaiya, MANA
Chiefs in Mangochi have expressed optimism of an improved road network in the district following the recent signing of a US$20 million financing agreement for the construction of the Mangochi-Makanjira Road between Malawi and Saudi Arabia done in Riyadh, Saudi Arabia.
The chiefs held a press conference on Monday to register their appreciation on the road project financing agreement, saying they are looking forward to commencement of the project and its successful completion.
Senior Chief Chowe commended President Lazarus Chakwera’s administration for deciding to construct the road in the tourism attraction district, saying the signing of the agreement for the road project is an indication that the dream for a good road has come to reality.
“As chiefs, who represent people in our communities here in Mangochi, we are happy that our request for the road, which has been overdue, is now being fulfilled,” Senior Chief Chowe said.
“The road condition has been a serious concern among the residents of Mangochi, particularly people along the road as well as road users.”
On his part, Senior Chief Katuli said the Mangochi-Makanjira Road is very essential to communities in the district, as Makanjira is a food basket that feeds other districts, including cities of Lilongwe and Blantyre.
“This road, which passes through areas of many chiefs, has been in bad shape for so long,” he said. “Many past governments made failed promises yet most crops, as well as fish, come from Makanjira. As such, we are very optimist that this is a dream come true.”
Earlier this month, President Chakwera signed a financing agreement with the Saudi Government through Saudi Fund on this project, whose completion is expected to bring in new wave of prosperity through inter and intra trade.
Whilst in Riyadh for the agreement, President Chakwera was assured by Chief Executive Officer for the Saudi Development Fund, Sultan Alamarshand that Saudi Arabia will speed up the process for the project to start.
He said he was happy with Chakwera’s commitment as shown by his availability at the signing ceremony of the agreement, saying Saudi Arabia has set aside over US$20 million for the commencement of the road and assured Malawi of the Kingdom’s willingness to support Malawi with other development projects.
On his part, President Chakwera described the road project as crucial for social-economic development of the country and hailed the cordial relationship between Malawi and Saudi Arabia which he said is based on trust and dating back to 1999.
“I am extremely grateful with the relationship with Saudi Arabia which has since taken us to other levels; for example, the Mangochi-Makanjira road project which will have potential to facilitate inter and intra trade activities,” said the President.
He highlighted that Saudi Arabia also supported Malawi with Phalombe District Hospital and the Makwasa-Bangula road, among other projects.
Apart from the Mangochi-Makanjira road, Chakwera pledged that government will also prioritise more road infrastructure developments in all the three regions of the country.
In Riyadh, Chakwera also asked the Saudi Arabian government to assist Malawi with fuel and fertiliser issues as well as inviting mining Saudi investors to come to Malawi and explore the existing opportunities.
Last month, when he presided over the groundbreaking ceremony for the construction of comprehensive emergency obstetrics and neonatal facility at Makanjira health centre in Mangochi, Chakwera sampled the state of the Mangochi-Makanjira Road — a distance of over 100km in order for him to appreciate the condition of the road.
At a development rally, he assured people that the construction of the road would be priotised which has come to fruition after the agreement with Saudi Arabia.
He also assured the people of his government’s commitment to uplift the tourist-attraction district through social-economic development after he had officially commissioned the multibillion kwacha Mangochi extension water supply project at Nkhudzi Bay.
The Malawi leader said despite challenges such as effects of climate change affecting the country, his government will fulfil promises made, by among other things, completing projects that are underway and those that are yet to commence.