World Bank Supports Urban Transport in the Maputo Metropolitan Area

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WASHINGTON  — The World Bank approved today a $250 million grant from the International Development Association (*IDA) to improve mobility and accessibility in the Maputo Metropolitan Area (MMA).

The funds will be utilized to build the first Bus Rapid Transit (BRT) system and associated facilities in the Maputo Metropolitan Area, covering the cities of Maputo, Matola, and the town of Marracuene. They will also be used to rehabilitate streets and improve access to low-income neighborhoods via road upgrades and improvements that enhance safe access, as well as to build non-motorized transport infrastructure. In addition, the IDA financing will help tackle mobility barriers for women and vulnerable groups. The whole program will extend to the district of Boane.

“I’m delighted we have reached another milestone towards improving people’s lives, in this case the inhabitants of the Maputo Metropolitan Area,” noted Idah Z. Pswarayi-Riddihough, World Bank Country Director for Mozambique, Madagascar, Comoros, Mauritius, and Seychelles. “This operation will ultimately contribute to expanding economic opportunities and social inclusion. A lack of access to jobs and services is a major constraint to urban economic productivity as it hinders the city’s competitiveness and is a critical element of social exclusion underpinning urban poverty.”

Economic development in the MMA over the last decades has been associated with a rapid and unprecedented growth in urbanization and motorization, increasing the need for greater mobility of people and goods. The population of the MMA has grown rapidly and is expected to reach almost 4 million by 2035, posing an increased challenge to MMA mobility. The current shortcomings of the transport system and the large distance between people and economic opportunities limit the potential for agglomeration economies linked to the concentration of population, firms, and markets. Low levels of access to job opportunities limits market opportunities for producers, impedes private sector investments by increasing costs, and prevents links between markets.

“The project offers an integrated approach to respond to the urban mobility challenges of the MMA and to support the longer-term objectives of making the metropolitan area more competitive, greener, and more resilient,” added Fatima Arroyo Arroyo, World Bank Senior Urban Transport Specialist and project lead. “The MMA is now at a turning point to fulfill its potential as an engine for transformation of the country. We expect this operation will ultimately contribute to fostering changes in the way the city is growing from a congested, car-oriented city to a green, resilient, and people-oriented city, where walking and public transport are at the core of the metropolitan vision.”

The operation will also support institutional and regulatory strengthening of urban transport at national, metropolitan, municipal, and local government levels. It will support capacity building of transport public sector staff, as well as support the professionalization of existing formal and informal public transport operators. The project design has integrated innovative approaches to catalyze structural changes in the sector, including the a focus on the digitalization of the sector, the integration of women and people in situations of vulnerability, the integration of private sector participation within a long-term program of formalization of public transport, and a focus on building human capital to support the next generation of urban mobility leaders in Mozambique.

“This is a people-centered operation. The general population of the MMA will benefit from the improved management of the urban transport assets. The private sector is another beneficiary of the project as it will draw benefits from the improved access to current business centers and retail enterprises, which will ultimately spur economic activity and growth,” added Mohammed Ajmal Askerzoy, World Bank Senior Transport Specialist, and the project’s co-lead.

The project is aligned with both the current and new Country Partnership Framework under preparation, in particular its thrust to accelerate structural transformation and strengthening institutions for better service delivery and more sustainable development. The project is also aligned with the Comprehensive Urban Transport Master Plan for Greater Maputo (2015-2035), the Maputo Municipality’s Municipal Development Plan (2019-2023) and the Safer Roads for Socio-Economic Integration in Mozambique Project (P174639).

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