The longest suspension bridge in Africa has officially been opened to the public after four years of construction.

The Maputo–Katembe Bridge spans just over three kilometres across the Maputo Bay in southern Mozambique and will help connect the Mozambican capital of Maputo on the northern bank with Katembe on the southern bank.

The bridge, which is a major accomplishment for development in Southern Africa, is also expected to have a direct impact on South Africans and Mozambicans travelling between the two countries as the road will see the travel time between Maputo to Kosi Bay – KwaZulu-Natal’s east coast border post – drastically reduced from six hours to 90 minutes.

The total cost of construction reportedly reached R10.4 billion with 85% reportedly coming from special loans from China’s Exim Bank.

Boosting trade between Mozambique and South Africa

Speaking on the launch of the bridge the Kwazulu-Natal department of transport noted that the new bridge would further help boost trade and tourism between South Africa and Mozambique.

Total costs of construction are expected to have reached $726 million (R10.4 billion) of which 85% has reportedly been financed by special loans from China’s Exim Bank.

Speaking ahead of the launch of the bridge on Mozambique’s minister of public works, housing and Water Resources, João Machatine, said that the infrastructure will help catapult the socio-economic development of the province and city of Maputo.

The bridge was officially inaugurated 10 November by the Mozambican president, Filipe Nyusi, coinciding with the 131-year anniversary of Maputo’s elevation to the city category.