The Mozambiquan Minister of Foreign Affairs, Oldemiro Baloi, highlighted that the two governments need to address the issue of border demarcation immediately because his government will launch a comprehensive mapping of its mineral wealth. He hinted that this type of exercise should be preceded by a cooperation agreement between Malawi and Mozambique with agreement on clear border demarcation.
Malawi’s Minister of Mining, John Bande, responded that the relevant ministries from the two countries will be involved in clearly demarcating borders. Bande told the The Daily Times that
Our projects mainly involve sites inside the country and not the border areas that need reaffirmation. But it is really important that the borders be reaffirmed for the mineral activities and as Malawi, through the Lands Ministry, we will continue to carry out the project.
Malawi is set to conduct a geological mapping of the country under the Mining Governance and Growth Support Project, which was launched by the Government of Malawi and the World Bank in January 2013. Through this project, the French government has granted Malawi EUR 10 million for the mapping exercise.
Leonard Kalindekafe, the Ministry of Mines’ Principal Secretary, noted that the remapping project is a welcome development because outdated maps have been used. These were produced as far back as the 1950s, when the country was a British protectorate.
Hopefully and most likely, the activity to demarcate borders will not escalate to a situation similar to the dispute between Malawi and Tanzania over the boundaries of Lake Malawi (or Lake Nyasa as the lake is known to Tanzanians) also spurred on by natural resources. Malawi’s government has awarded Surestream Petroleum and SacOil exclusive prospecting licences for Lake Malawi which is sitting on oil reserves.