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Between the devil and the deep blue sea

A proposed port in the Maputo Special Reserve is again threatening Mozambique’s natural environment and the country’s growing reputation for conservation

The beach at Ponta Mamoli, close to Ponta Techobanine in Maputo province. Photo from the White Pearl resort website:

Good afternoon. The Techobanine deep water port project is back on track — at least if you take seriously what Mozambican and Botswana government officials decided this week in Maputo.

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The project aims to provide access to the sea to landlocked Botswana, a dream similar to that entertained for decades by Malawi, which would like to use the Zambezi river as a route to the Indian Ocean.

But the Tswanas and the Mozambicans supporting this project face many obstacles. To start with, the railway would cost billions of dollars, and would need to run across either South Africa or Zimbabwe to reach Mozambique. In the recent past, the Brazilian mining giant managed to convince Malawi to give access to its territory to move coal from Moatize to the deep sea port of Nacala, a 900km journey.

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