Maputo — The French government has granted Mozambique a soft loan of 44 million US dollars to finance the rehabilitation of the runway at Maputo International Airport.
The agreement was signed in Maputo on Monday by Mozambican Finance Minister Manuel Chang, the French Minister of Foreign Trade, Nicole Bricq, and the Maputo Director of the French Development Agency (AFD), Virigine Dago.
The loan has a maturity of 20 years, including a period of grace of four years. It carries an interest rate of 0.79 per cent.
The total cost of rehabilitating the runway and the apron is put at 70.5 million dollars. In addition to the French loan, the work is being financed by a loan of 25 million dollars from the European Investment Bank (EIB) and a grant of 1.5 million dollars from the European Union-Africa Infrastructure Trust Fund (ITF).
Speaking at the ceremony, Chang said that air transport in Mozambique has undergone considerable expansion over the last decade, including completely new international and domestic terminals at Maputo airport. It was the government's task “to provide passengers with greater safety and to modernize infrastructures”.
The rehabilitation of the runway, in line with the recommendations of the International Civil Aviation Organisation (ICAO), would give Mozambique “a gateway to the world with better services for attending to passengers, better airport security and cargo handling facilities”, which in turn would lead to an increase in the flow of tourism and business, Chang added..
Bricq, who is accompanied by a delegation of 38 French business people, said that France is determined to step up its economic relations with Mozambique. She said that, in the near future, and Economic Services section will be opened in the French embassy in Maputo.
Bearing in mind recent natural resource discoveries, the French minister believed that Mozambique enjoys all the conditions to guarantee sustainable economic growth.
Bricq is also bearing a message from French President Francois Hollande to his Mozambican counterpart, Armando Guebuza.