Often referred to as one of the most successful initiatives of its kind in Sub-Saharan Africa, the Maputo Corridor is a short, but extremely busy trade route with annual revenues exceeding R25 billion.
An estimated four million people, 700 000 vehicles and 80 000 trucks cross the Mozambique-South Africa border annually. The corridor boasts some of the continent’s most effective public-private partnerships with R7 billion being invested into the road infrastructure and the rehabilitation of the rail line from Ressano Garcia to Maputo (completed in 2008). This was accomplished with significant investments in excess of $80 million. A 20-year master plan will also see close to $2 billion invested in port growth and development to service the demands of the region with a throughput of 48 million tons by 2033.
Covering a distance of 590 kilometers by road and 581 kilometers by rail, The Maputo Corridor is a transport route linking the east coast of Maputo in Mozambique with the industrialised and productive regions of Gauteng and Mpumalanga provinces in South Africa. For South African exporters in the Gauteng region it is the shortest route to a port, exporting a variety of commodities including coal, timber, agricultural produce, granite, chrome, cement, steel, magnetite, sugar, maize, gasoline, pulp, fertiliser and citrus. The key elements of the corridor are the N4 toll road, the rail corridor, the Lebombo/Ressano Garcia border post and the port and terminal facilities at the Port of Maputo. The Port of Maputo provides the shortest access to the Indian and Far Eastern markets and complements the South African regional port hubs in a multipurpose port of 15 terminals.
The Maputo Corridor was already a major trade route in the past but deteriorated during the years of unrest in Mozambique. In order to re-establish trade and investment ties to rebuild their flailing economies, the governments of South Africa and Mozambique launched the Spatial Development Initiative programme in order to rehabilitate and maximise investment in the corridor.
WHEN IN MAPUTO
Tips for the business traveller when working in and exploring Mozambique’s vibrant capital
Time: Maputo is GMT+2 and has no Daylight Saving Time.
Currency: The currency in Mozambique is the Metical, and banks and forex bureaus exchange all major currencies. In southern parts of the country some hotels accept South African rands, US dollars or pounds sterling to pay for accommodation. Credit cards are accepted at hotels, but carry cash for markets. ATM’s are easy to find.
Weather: Mozambique has a warm, tropical climate with an average temperature of 28°C. October to April is humid and very hot, while June to October is cooler. Maputo’s dry period is May to August.
Electricity: Electrical sockets are the round two-pinned type with a voltage of 220V.
Communications: The mobile networks give good coverage and local SIM cards can be bought at the airport. Most premium hotels offer free internet access, and there are some internet cafes.
Public transport: Taxis are the most reliable form of transport and there are ranks outside most of the top hotels. Fix the price upfront because they’re not metered.
To and from the airport: Maputo International Airport, also known as Lourenço Marques or Mavalane, is 3km from the city. Taxis are available, and hotels can arrange shuttles for guests.
3 TOP BUSINESS HOTELS
The grande dame of Maputo, the Polana Serena Hotel, was built in 1922. A refurb refreshed the hotel while maintaining its old-world charm. Do try the seafood and sushi at the Aquarius Sushi Bar, or indulge in the famous high tea. Services and amenities include a health club and spa, swimming pool, residents’ lounge, business centre, beauty salon, three gift shops, and a conference and events area, including a ballroom. http://www.serenahotels.com/serenapolana/default-en.html
The Southern Sun Maputo is a gem right on the beachfront. With good service, great food and authentic Mozambican hospitality, it attracts a number of business and leisure travellers. Services and amenities include complimentary high-speed wifi, a fitness centre, business centre, outdoor pool and restaurant, bar and conference facilities. https://www.tsogosun.com/southern-sun-maputo
The first of the Radissons to open in Mozambique, the beachfront Radisson Blu Hotel & Residence Maputo is a good destination for business meetings and only 7km from the airport. The on-site restaurant, Filini, serves classic Italian dishes and there are three on-site bars. There’s also free high-speed wifi, a fitness centre, outdoor swimming pool, three meeting rooms, conference room and a pre-function area. https://www.radissonblu.com/en/hotel-maputo
OUT AND ABOUT
- Restaurant Costa de Sol is the spot for LM prawns and a sea view. Marginal Coast Road, Tel: 258 21 450 115
- Portuguese wines, seafood and grilled chicken are recommended at Zambi, which has a great sea view. Tel: 258 84 3392 624
- The trendy Tree House hosts barbecues and grills, and serves delicious caipirinhas. Avenida Francisco Orlando Magumbwe. Tel: 258 82 109 9368
- For simple pasta, try Campo di Fiore and pop into Gianni’s ice-cream parlour next door. Jardim Dos Cronistas, Rua Rui de Pina, Sommerschield. Tel: 258 21497937
- Enjoy a vibey bar and tapas at 1908: Avenida Salvador Allende, Tel: 258 21 321 908
- For a chilled meal and Sunday jazz sessions, pop into Dolce Vita on Avenida Julius Nyerere.
- Cocktail hour is best enjoyed at News Café in the Polana Casino. Avenida Marginal no. 5289.
- A night on the town should kick off in Avenida Julius Nyerere, the main street through Maputo, which has a good selection of bars, restaurants and party spots within walking distance from each other.
ABOUT ADAMS ON AFRICA | ISSUE 1
This article is part of a new quarterly digital publication, Adams on Africa. The publication aims to provide you with the necessary information and updates on developments in business and the law in Africa. We welcome your feedback. Articles in this issue: