The Minister of Transport and Public Works in Malawi Mohammed Sidik Mia has announced that construction of the long-neglected Njakwa-Livingstonia road will be completed within a year. According to the minister, contractor Mota-Engil will complete the road by October 2021. “I am happy to see that the contractor, Mota-Engil, is still on site despite delays in funding. We have started clearing off arrears owed to most of the contractors,” he said.
The minister further added that the government will mobilise resources to enable Mota-Engil finalise the stretch between Bolero and Hewe Turn-off, as the road benefits communities, investors and businesses along the mineral rich escarpment. “Mota Engil was awarded only 20km of the 241km road that passes through Nyika National Park to Chitipa. However, the government would like to see the whole stretch done within the coming few years,” said the minister.
The US $80m construction project is under a public-private partnership which will see Mota-Engil pay the full costs to be recouped over an agreed period of time.
Economic importance of the Njakwa-Livingstonia road
The 80km road splits the Henga Valley–an agricultural hinterland for tobacco, maize and coffee–on the way to Livingstonia and descends the treacherously mountainous terrain through Golodi Road, a narrow winding road built in 1906 by the early missionaries. It also leads to Kaziwiziwi Coal Mine on Phoka Hills.
Furthermore, construction of the road will open up the CCAP’s historic mission station at Khondowe Plateau, a stunning tourist attraction which is home to Livingstonia University, Gordon Memorial Hospital and legendary Scottish missionary Robert Laws’ iconic stone house. The road also cuts through the most fertile lands and opens up a big advantage for investors in tourism and mining sectors, among others.