MAPUTO, May 12 (Xinhua) -- The pragmatic cooperation between China and the southern African nation Mozambique is yielding tangible results, which will help consolidate bilateral relations and showcase itself as an exemplary model for China-Africa cooperation, Chinese ambassador to Mozambique Su Jian has said.
In an interview with Xinhua earlier this week, Su said that bilateral cooperation has gained huge momentum in areas including infrastructure, agriculture and cultural exchanges in recent years.
For instance, the state-of-the-art twin-tower suspension bridge over Maputo Bay is being constructed by the China Road and Bridge Corporation (CRBC). The bridge, with a main span of 680 meters and loan support from China, is due to open next month and greatly ease traffic from the capital city Maputo to the outlying urban district of Katembe on the other side of the sea.
"The bridge project also includes the construction of link roads of more than 180 km in length. It will southwardly directly connect to the border with South Africa, with the potential to boost development of trade and tourism," Su said.
As for agriculture, Su said that a major rice farm project in south Mozambique's Gaza province is contributing to the country's food security.
"Currently, Mozambique has a rice shortfall of between 400,000 and 600,000 tonnes. If the project achieves its set targets, it could potentially help Mozambique tackle the shortfall," Su said.
The Wanbao Mozambique rice farm, invested by the China-Africa Development Fund, is the largest of its kind undertaken by China in Africa. The project, a comprehensive business that incorporates plantation, storage, processing and sales, aims to develop 20,000 hectares of farmland, and will lead farmers in surrounding areas to grow crops over another 80,000 hectares.
"Agriculture requires long-term investment which means you get returns for your investment after long periods. However, the rice farm project undertaken by China demonstrates Chinese companies' efforts in giving back to Africa. The project is also in response to the actual development needs of Mozambique," Su said.
Data from the Chinese Embassy in Mozambique shows that nearly 100 Chinese companies have accumulatively invested nearly seven billion U.S. dollars in Mozambique as of May 2017, in areas including energy and resources development, agriculture, fishery, construction, telecommunications, and process manufacturing.
According to Su, China has become Mozambique's largest foreign investor and one of its biggest infrastructure builders since the Forum on China-Africa Cooperation summit was held in Johannesburg in December 2015.
Regarding cultural and people-to-people exchanges, the ambassador said that more Mozambicans are learning to speak the Chinese language through the Confucius Institute, an organization promoting the Chinese language and culture. Meanwhile, China is set to begin construction of a cultural center in the campus of Eduardo Mondlane University, which located in the capital of Maputo, dedicated to showcasing the cultural ties between the two countries.
The ambassador made the remarks as China's top legislator Li Zhanshu is paying an official friendly visit to Ethiopia, Mozambique and Namibia from May 9 to 18.
Su said the visit by Li is set to elevate bilateral pragmatic cooperation in Africa.