The installations of an unfinished and derelict textile factory in the central Mozambican province of Zambezia may be used to assemble vehicles, using Indian technology, according to the Minister of Industry and Trade, Armando Inroga.
The factory in Mocuba, the second largest town in Zambezia, was to have been the largest textile factory in southern Africa. It was being built in cooperation with the German Democratic Republic, but became a casualty of the South African apartheid regime’s war against Mozambique.
Constant attacks by the apartheid backed Renamo rebels in the early 1980s made it impossible to move equipment for the factory by either road or rail. As a result, German textile equipment rusted on the quays of the port at Quelimane, the Zambezia provincial capital.
But on Saturday, at the end of a rally addressed by President Armando Guebuza in Mugeba, an administrative post in Mocuba district, Inroga revealed the new plans for the unfinished factory.
He told reporters that during Guebuza’s recent visit to India, the Tata Group expressed an interest in assembling vehicles in Mozambique. The shell of the Mocuba factory was one of two possible sites for such an assembly plant. Inroga said that steps have been taken to bring this plan to reality, including selecting the type of vehicle that would be adequate for Mozambican conditions.
During the rally, Mugeba residents asked that the Quelimane-Mocuba railway be rebuilt. Some recalled how, before the war ended rail transport, this line had been the cheapest way of moving people and goods between the two cities.
Peculiar interpretations of the paralysis of the railway are circulating. It is claimed for instance that certain Chinese individuals are responsible for the fact that trains no longer run between Quelimane and Mocuba.
Guebuza explained that, in reality, the line was sabotaged during the war. He found it strange that anyone should accuse the Chinese of not helping the country to develop, since China has been a friend of Mozambique since the days of Mozambique’s struggle for independence.
China was continuing to build major projects in Mozambique, Guebuza said, pointing out that the new national sports stadium, and the new international terminal at Maputo airport had been built by Chinese companies.
If there is anything wrong in the cooperation between China and Mozambique, it can be corrected through the rules governing this cooperation, the President added.