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Mota-Engil affirms commitment to Malawi

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Portuguese multinational group Mota-Engil has reaffirmed its commitment to Malawi, saying it will continue to explore long term investment opportunities in the country as well as use Malawi as a central hub for its operations in the region.

Mota-Engil Africa Chief Executive Officer, Gilberto Rodrigues, told journalists in Blantyre on Saturday that his company is currently exploring investment opportunities in mining in addition to construction contracts and lake transport operations it already has in the country.

“We are in Malawi to stay and we shall remain loyal to this country, regardless of which political party is in power,” said Rodrigues.

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He disclosed that Mota-Engil has been in Malawi since 1991 when it won a contract for the construction of the Lakeshore road from Dwangwa to Nkhata Bay and has handled projects in excess of US$220 million, excluding the Nacala Corridor Railway project from Kachaso- Nayuchi.

“If we add the Nacala Railway project, that amount will quadruple,” said Rodrigues.

The company has also invested US$1.5 million in corporate social responsibility activities covering areas such as education, health, agriculture culture and sports.

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He said contrary to popular belief that his company depends on political favours for its businesses, Mota-Engil wins contracts on merit because it is competitive and has the capacity to handle a project of any size.

He said for example that Mota Engil is able to obtain finance internationally at interest rates of below five percent while other construction companies get the same at over 40 percent in Malawi, thereby making them less competitive when it comes to pricing.

He said Mota-Engil is a public company listed on the Amsterdam stock exchange in the Netherlands, hence it has an obligation to maintain high est corporate governance standards, including being transparent in its dealings.

Rodrigues revealed that his company has been exploring gold in Malawi with the intention of venturing into mining of the mineral but says it has failed to find any traces of it despite investing US$5 million in the search operation.

“We had a team of geologists who have been doing the work for the past 6 years – including using a helicopter but they have failed to find gold in this country,” said Rodrigues.

He said the company has since obtained a new exploration licence but this one for base metal such as nikel.

He said Mota-Engil has also made Malawi its central hub for existing and prospective operations in other countries around the region such as Tanzania, Mozambique, Zambia and Zimbabwe because of the country’s strategic location and competitiveness in border operations.

“From our camp at Zalewa, we are able to deploy equipment to other countries within the region quickly and efficiently, so Malawi will remain our central place of operations in this part of Africa,” said Rodrigues.

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