A bridge and a road are changing thousands of lives for better and for worse in Mozambique

New road brings hope, pain in Mozambique

This morning, "CBS This Morning" is continuing a special four-part series of reports called "World of Motion." A team of CBS News correspondents traveled around the world to Japan, Greece, Southern Africa and Scotland to discover how and why people are on the move.


Technology is constantly redefining the way we travel and how fast we get to our destinations — but in Africa, something as simple as a bridge and a road are changing thousands of lives for better and for worse.

In Mozambique, one of the poorest countries in the world, many areas are impenetrable because of the treacherous condition of the roads. Previously, for example, the only way to travel from Maputo to Catembe was a 10-minute trip on a crowded ferry.

Beatriz Cossa used to take that ferry ride to get supplies from the capital. Now, a new bridge and 60-mile road allows for a quick ride in a subsidized bus. But that bridge didn't come without cost: her old home was located underneath the highway. She was compensated for her loss with a new plot of land and a better house, but it's a lot further away. She also had to leave behind her parents' burial site, her friends and her memories.

"You see my heart," she said. "I cried a lot."

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Mozambique's new bridge offers hope -- and pain -- for residents. CBS News

The Mozambican government said the state-of-the-art infrastructure will ultimately bridge the country's massive wealth gap by increasing tourism and trade.

A journey from the capital to the border with South Africa used to take five hours, and the road was so bad that you could only drive on it if you were wealthy enough to own a luxury four-wheel drive. Now, with the new road, it takes just over an hour to get there.

The road has also improved access to places like Ponta do Ouro, where Celma Issufo battled for 25 years to make ends meet at her beach restaurant. When the new road opened, her business was transformed.

"It was amazing," she said. Issufo is making enough money to add a bed and breakfast to her restaurant, and she's planning her first holiday abroad.  

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Older roads in Mozambique made transportation almost impossible. CBS News

But the new road has also had unintended consequences. Filming on hidden camera, CBS News traveled with smugglers who move tax-free goods and undocumented Mozambicans illegally across the border. The smuggled men and women pay just under $25 to be taken into South Africa in search of jobs.

One smuggler said corrupt police officers patrolling the border have benefited the most from the new road. "We pay them bribes," he said, "so we can go across the border."    

But the economic benefits still seem to outweigh the problems — the road has increased tourism and bilateral trade between South Africa and Mozambique.

Those economic gains now need to reach the nearly 50% of Mozambicans living on the equivalent of just over $20 a month, who cannot afford the $4 toll.