The governments of Mozambique and Botswana have signed a memorandum of understanding to develop a deepwater port at Techobanine Point in the district of Matutuine in southern Mozambique.

The plans also include the construction of a 1,100 km railway linking the new port to Botswana via Zimbabwe. The project should facilitate the movement of goods into and out of Botswana, which is currently dependent on the heavily congested ports of Durban and Richard Bay in neighbouring South Africa for its imports and exports.

The total cost of the project, including the initial feasibility study, is estimated at US$7 billion, in theory to be covered by private finance. If all goes to plan construction could begin in 2012 and take three years to complete. The Botswana government then hopes to see import and export times fall from an average of 22 days to just six days.