For R40 you can drive across Africa’s longest bridge – and get to Mozambique four hours faster

Business Insider SA
    The Maputo-Katembe bridge. (@IntroverDiaries, Twitter)
    • Mozambique’s just opened Africa’s longest suspension bridge.
    • The Maputo-Katembe bridge measures 3km in length and will connect travellers between South Africa and Mozambique in record time. 
    • It cost a staggering R11 billion to construct – most of which was funded via Chinese loans, which already make up about 20% of the country’s heavy sovereign debt.

    This past weekend, the president of Mozambique opened the three-kilometre long Maputo-Katembe bridge, officially the longest in Africa.

    Costing a massive R11.3 billion at current exchange rates ($785 million) with a main span measuring 680 metres, the bridge starts in Maputo and ends in the town of Catembe. 

    The President of Mozambique, Filipe Nyusi officially opening the Maputo-Katembe bridge. (China Plus)

    The bridge – constructed by the China Road and Bridge Corporation, a Chinese parastatal – also creates a much shorter route between Mozambique and South Africa. 

    Previously, it took South Africans up to six hours to drive from Kosi Bay (SA’s east coast border post in KwaZulu-Natal) to Maputo and surrounding holiday destinations due to ridiculously bad roads – the bridge now reduces this time to roughly 90 minutes, according to Africa Check.

    See also: Durban just launched a R1.14 billion highway interchange – with 4 levels and Africa’s longest flyover bridge

    The Maputo-Katembe bridge has been plumped 60 metres above the Maputo bay and could pass for the iconic Golden Gate’s cousin in San Fransisco. 

    (Photo by Maarten van den Heuvel on Unsplash)

    The bridge is expected to promote tourism in Mozambique.

    See also: Africa’s second longest main span bridge is to be built in the Eastern Cape – this is what it will look like

    The Maputo-Katembe bridge. (@tez_mulandi, Twitter)

    The Maputo-Katembe bridge forms part of one of many construction projects spearheaded by the Chinese government across Africa.

    See also: 10 massive projects the Chinese are funding in Africa - including railways and a brand-new city

    Vehicles crossing the new suspension bridge over the Bay of Maputo will pay tolls that vary from 160 to 1,200 meticais. (Photo: Ivando Tembe)

    The bridge will be tolled from about R40 (160 meticais, Mozambique's currency) for smaller vehicles to roughly R330 for larger vehicles, according to AIM, the national news agency in Mozambique.

    SA’s debt-ridden neighbour, whose sovereign credit ratings have been catastrophic for some years, will need to milk revenue from the bridge to pay back their Chinese debts. Mozambique is reported to owe a whopping R33 billion ($2.3 billion) to the Chinese government.

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