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by Staff Writers
Maputo (AFP) Sept 20, 2012
Mozambique on Thursday kicked off construction of a $980-million-dollar Chinese-funded suspension bridge across Maputo Bay as President Armando Guebuza laid the foundation stone of Catembe Bridge.
The three-kilometre (two-mile) bridge will be built by China Road and Bridge Corporation and connect the seaside capital to Catembe, a sleepy community of 20,000 people whose population is expected to swell to 400,000 over the next three decades.
The project includes paving the 120-kilometre (75-mile) ring road between Catembe and Ponta do Ouro, a popular tourist resort which borders South Africa. That would also connect Maputo to Durban, the continent's busiest port.
China's Exim-Bank is providing the bulk of the funds while the Mozambique government will contribute just five percent of the project cost.
The bridge is to be completed by 2015.
"It is one of the most important projects in the modernisation of Mozambique. It is one of the biggest and newest projects in the area of Sino-Mozambican cooperation," said Huang Songfu, China's ambassador to Maputo.>
Originally Portugal had been expected to help with financing, but the country's former colonial ruler withdrew amid the eurozone crisis.
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