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SA, Mozambique aim to boost cross-border trade

South African President Thabo Mbeki and his Mozambican counterpart Armando Guebuza reached agreement Tuesday on moves aimed at increasing access and levels of trade across their common border.

In a briefing to reporters after the meeting in Pretoria, senior ministers said the main crossing between the neighbours would soon undergo a major revamp, which would make it a one-stop border post.

“We are concentrating on the Lebombo-Ressano Garcia border post,” said South African Trade Minister Mandisi Mpahlwa, referring to the main road crossing between the two countries.

“This will involve some construction work that will be shared between the two countries. Tenders have been called for and construction will start next February.”

Mpahlwa said the two leaders had also discussed the implementation of a previous agreement to scrap the need for visas.

“This included the issue of repatriation of undocumented Mozambicans from South Africa and the 24-hour opening of the Lebombo-Ressana Garcia border post. We are seeing the very smooth functioning of this agreement,” he said.

Mozambique’s Finance Minister Manuel Chang, meanwhile, said the meeting had discussed the establishment of a metallurgical complex outside the capital Maputo.

“The South African company Mintek is already in discussions with us on this. The heads of state received our recommendations and ordered that we provide more details by the next bilateral commission meeting,” Chang said. — AFP

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