Saturday, May 28, 2011

Mozambique will have labour mediation and arbitration centres operational in all provinces by next year.Currently seven of these centres exist – in Maputo, Gaza, Inhambane, Manica, Sofala, Nampula, and Cabo Delgado provinces. Their purpose is to reach solutions to labour disputes without going through the courts.According to the chairperson of the Labour Mediation and Arbitration Commission (COMAL), Mario Ussene, it is urgent that such centres should function in all provinces, so that they can intervene speedily when necessary.“If we can ensure that the physical structure exists in all the provinces, then we can have the mediation and arbitration centres operating by the end of this year”, he said. “But we shall certainly have them all functioning by 2012”.Ussene was speaking to reporters during a meeting held to standardize COMAL’s working methods and procedures in Lindela, in the southern province of Inhambane. Officials for the centres in the three southern provinces attended the meeting, and drew up a balance sheet of the work done so far by the mediation and arbitration centres. “We want to see what has been done since the centres were established, the advantages and the disadvantages”, said Ussene. “We want to look at the existing difficulties, to correct them, and thus improve our organisation, and harmonise our working methods”.Ussene said that the main problems facing the centres concern their small number of staff, and lack of adequate training. On average there are six mediators in each provincial centre. But to respond to all the requests reaching the centres, at least 20 would be required.“The number we have at the moment is too small to satisfy the demand”, said Ussene. “But since we are just starting, we shall go on training, and we will be able to reach the ideal number. When mediation is undertaken by somebody who has the capacity to bring people together, the results are good”.Last year, 7,000 cases entered the mediation centres, which managed to reach an agreement between the parties in around 5,000 of them. The remaining cases, where no agreement was possible, were remitted to the courts.Ussene recalled that, before the appearance of the mediation and arbitration centres, labour disputes were long drawn out because they tended to end up in the courts, where there was a huge backlog of cases.“The number of cases that entered the courts was very large, and it took a long time, even years, before any decision was reached”, he said.“Extrajudicial mediation brings employers and workers closer together”, argued Ussene. “Today the employer and the worker have begun to understand each other. This way of solving labour disputes has led to a reduction in the number of cases sent to the courts”.The Italian government, through the NGO ISCOS (Trade Union Institute for Development Cooperation), has financed both COMAL, and the Labour Consultative Commission (CCT), the tripartite negotiating body between the government, the unions and the employers’ associations.According to ISCOS delegate Igor Felice, about a million euros (1.4 million US dollars), has been spent on training representatives of the provincial consultative forums and the mediation centres.“We are pleased with the results”, he said. “We know that in training projects results are seen in the long term. But people’s participation in the various forums today is good. The centres have mediated many conflicts, and this facilitates the business environment”.But the ISCOS project ends this year, and there is no guarantee of further funding. “This is the last month of activity”, said Felice. “It’s been four years of work supporting the CCT and COMAL. It’s a good starting point, but there’s still a lot to do. We think we can give more support, but continuation depends on the donors. It’s not easy with the financial crisis”.


The Mozambican and Italian governments on Thursday approved the first operational plan for the Rural Development Support Programme (PADR) for the central provinces of Manica and Sofala.The plan was approved in the Manica provincial capital, Chimoio, at a ceremony attended by Mozambique’s Deputy Minister of Agriculture, Antonio Limbau, the Manica provincial governor, Ana Comoane, and the Director of Cooperation at the Italian Embassy, Mariano Foti.According to Friday’s issue of the Beira daily paper “Diario de Mocambique”, under this programme four new agricultural and livestock processing industries will be set up in Sofala. There will be a pineapple processing unit in Chibabava district, and a tomato processing factory in Nhamatanda. A new sawmill and timber processing plant will be built in Gorongoa.There will also be a unit to produce bran for chicken feed, as part of a poultry production scheme.The PADR national coordinator, Sergio Muteia, said the programme has three components – institutional support, support for services linked to agriculture and support for micro, small and medium companies.Lines of credit, with preferential interest rates, have been set for small producers, in order to ensure that the programme reaches the goals outlined in the bilateral agreement.


Mozambican Finance Minister Manuel Chang and the Managing Director of the Saudi Development fund, Yossef Ibrahim al-Abdulrahman, on Thursday signed an agreement under which the fund will provide ten million US dollars to finance work on protecting Maputo from coastal erosion.The Saudi Fund is the second agency to support this project. Funds have also been pledged by the Arab Bank for Development in Africa (BADEA). Together the money promised is 22.5 million dollars.The Indian Ocean is visibly threatening the Maputo coast road. The sea defences are in a parlous condition, and many of the remaining trees on the edge of the beach have their roots exposed and are in danger of falling. Rising sea levels resulting from climate change could make matters much worse, threatening the very existence of coastal neighbourhoods such as Triunfo and Costa do Sol.Chang said the project will mitigate the effects of coastal erosion and guarantee the safety of public and private infrastructures. This would contribute to improving environmental conditions and to promoting tourism and leisure.This is the first agreement between Mozambique and the Saudi Development Fund. Chang said the Fund is also willing to finance the construction of two technical institutes and two technical schools in the northern provinces of Niassa and Cabo Delgado, as well as a new general hospital in the city of Nampula.


The Nampula Provincial Court in northern Mozambique on Thursday sentenced five people to jail terms of between 3 and 16 years for the theft of 1.4 million meticais (about 47,000 US dollars) from state coffers.The longest prison term, 16 years, was imposed on Zaituna Reendra an official of the Mozambique Tax Authority (AT) who works in the unit dealing with major taxpayers. Another tax official, Ana Marquesa, received six years.Two workers at the country’s largest commercial bank, Millennium-BIM (International Bank of Mozambique), Celso Junior and Dionisio Mugabe, were sentenced to 12 and 4 years. An accomplice, Domingos Popoleque, who is a barber, received a three year sentence.Reading out her verdict and sentence, judge Nateria Mendes said Natercia and Junior received the longest sentences because they behaved “in a premeditated and fraudulent way”. The other three accused had cooperated with the court, and had shown repentance for their acts.The theft took the form of diverting cheques for tax payments which several Nampula companies had deposited with the AT’s Large Taxpayers’ Unit. This required the connivance of both tax officials and bank workers, to divert the money into private hands.It is suspected that others were involved in the theft. According to a report in Friday’s issue of the Maputo daily “Noticias”, the director and deputy director of the Nampula Large Taxpayers Unit, Comanda Momade and Ismael Adamo, are now under investigation, and may be questioned by prosecutors in the coming days.Similarly some employees of the companies whose cheques were diverted will also be questioned in an attempt to ascertain whether they were involved.
The African Peer Review Mechanism (APRM) on Thursday formally launched its report on the peer review of Mozambique, at a ceremony in which Amos Sawyer, President of the Interim Government in Liberia in the early 1990s, and now a member of the APRM Panel of Eminent Persons, delivered a copy of the report to President Armando Guebuza.The report has in fact been ready for about two years. It was first unveiled at the African Union summit in Sirte, Libya, in 2009. But the subsequent steps – the launch in Mozambique, and implementation of the recommendations of the National Programme of Action – were delayed, first by Mozambique’s 2009 general elections and then by changes in the composition of the APRM Panel.Kenyan diplomat Bethwell Kiplagat had been the panel member responsible for accompanying APRM implementation in Mozambique, and he was replaced by Sawyer.Sawyer claimed that publication of the report was “a landmark achievement in the promotion of good governance in Mozambique”.He said the country had emerged from a troubled past “to find peace, reinvent itself and make progress in all fields of governance”. Among the successes in governance that he listed were the implementation of the 1992 peace agreement between the government and the rebel movement Renamo, “policy dialogue with civil society”, and a reduction in the transmission of HIV from pregnant women to their children,But the report also pointed to various challenges, added Sawyer, including separation between the ruling Frelimo Party and the state, a high crime rate, domestic violence, a high level of illiteracy, gender inequality and over-dependence on foreign aid.He hoped that the report “will be widely read by the Mozambican people and that the government and the people will use it as they dedicate themselves to implementing the programme of action that flows from it. The report is of little value unless the issues it raises are tackled”.The chairperson of the Mozambican National APRM Forum, Lourenco do Rosario, said that the country is incorporating the recommendations from the report into its programmes of governance. Members of the government have been appointed who will work with the National Forum in producing regular progress reports that monitor implementation of the recommendations.
One of the functions of APRM reports, Rosario said, was to forecast possible social problems that might occur, so that governments were forewarned and could take corrective measures.For instance, in Kenya the APRM Forum warned the government of the problems that could result from the unjust distribution of resources. The government paid little attention to such warnings, and as a result the post-election violence of 2008 exploded. Guebuza pledged the government’s continued commitment to multi-party democracy and to a culture of dialogue at all levels. The principles of political and economic governance enshrined in the APRM, were now “part of our political culture”, he said.Guebuza stressed the government’s programme of decentralization of powers to local and municipal level, and the role of the local Consultative Councils “which allow transparent management of public assets”.He added that the government was determined to show that “corruption and crime don’t pay” – and the evidence for this was the increasing number of corruption cases that have come to court.Guebuza pledged that the government will carry out the recommendations of the APRM report, and he challenged the National Forum “to prepare for the implementation and monitoring of the National Plan of Action”.


Mozambican President Armando Guebuza on Thursday warned that the government will demand from the Constitutional Council the same rigour in the management of public resources as is demanded from all other state bodies.He was speaking immediately after swearing Hermenegildo Gamito into office as the new chairperson of the Council, which is the highest body in matters of constitutional and electoral law.Gamito takes over a body that suffered a serious blow to its prestige with the revelations in March that his predecessor, Luis Mondlane, had used Council funds for his personal benefit, including paying off the mortgage on a luxury house in central Maputo. The revelations in the Mozambican press led Mondlane to resign on 17 March. A commission of inquiry set up by the other six judges on the Council found evidence of serious abuses, and as a result Mondlane is facing disciplinary and possibly criminal proceedings. Clearly Guebuza had this scandal uppermost in his mind when he said “The council will be required to show the same rigour, parsimony and capacity to manage the public resources allocated to it which are required of all the sovereign organs of the Mozambican state”.He added that, in the current scenario, characterized by growing expectations among citizens about the quantity and quality of public services, the Council should guide its activity towards obtaining gains in efficiency, fighting against obstacles to national development.The cornerstones of the Council’s performance, said Guebuza, should be legal wisdom, scientific rigour and technical proficiency. These would allow it to perform its constitutional role, which was of great relevance for consolidating the democratic rule of law in Mozambique.Guebuza called for healthy coordination between the Council and the other sovereign bodies, and other institutions responsible for electoral management. He hoped that the Council would consolidate dialogue between institutions “based on mutual respect, on loyalty, and exchange of knowledge”. Speaking to reporters, Guebuza said he had accepted the challenge of heading the Constitutional Council as “a call from the motherland”. His first task would be to analyse in details the situation in the Council, and set up a leadership collective.Asked whether the recent events had not brought the Council into disrepute, Gamito declined to comment. “It would not be ethical on my part to refer to my predecessor with words of less respect”, he said, pledging that he intended to work “with humility”.


Mozambique’s Minister of Agriculture, Jose Pacheco, announced on Thursday in Maputo that Mozambique will resume seed production as from the next agricultural campaign (2011/2012).This is essentially an initiative to revive the defunct state company Sementes de Mocambique (SEMOC – Seeds of Mozambique), which counts on support from India. “We intend to relaunch seed production for all basic foodstuffs, such as maize, cassava, vegetables, and rice”, said Pacheco, speaking at a press conference alongside the Indian Minister of State for Agriculture and Food Processing Industries, Arun Yadav, who is visiting the country.Pacheco did not specify the amount of seeds to be produced, but said it would be sufficient “to meet the needs of the country and even for export”.India is becoming a major partner of Mozambique. In 2003 an agreement on agriculture was signed with India, covering agricultural research, rural extension, technical assistance and staff training.During Yadav’s visit, the two sides have assessed their cooperation programme, and decided that it should be strengthened, particularly in the area of scientific training. Pacheco added that both ministries have agreed on a mechanism to assess the programme on a quarterly basis.As part of this cooperation, and based on India’s successful harvest in the last agricultural campaign, India is prepared to export wheat and rice to Mozambique “at competitive prices”.India also wants to increase the quantity of beans it imports from Mozambique, and start importing Mozambican cotton. India is already the largest importer of raw cashew nuts from Mozambique.Arun Yadav stressed that his government’s priority “is to help Mozambique become self-sufficient”.


The Mozambican police are looking for a Rwandan soldier, named as Niyomugabo Jelard, who is wanted on charges of illegal immigration and attempted murder.According to the Criminal Investigation Police (PIC), cited in Thursday’s issue of the Maputo daily “Noticias”, Jelard was hired by a woman named Esperanca Uwingeneye to kill her husband, Gaspar Nsengimana, who is a Burundian citizen running a transport business in the northern Mozambican city of Nampula.Jelard supposedly entered Mozambique in April and passed himself off as a refugee. He was sent to the Maratane refugee centre in Namula, where he stayed for a few days in the house of Congolese citizen Ngango Shabani.But when Shabani found that his house guest had a military uniform among his belongings, he became suspicious and contacted the police. When the police searched Jelard’s belongings, they found a photograph of him in uniform and carrying a machine gun, as well as a photograph of Esperanca Uwingeneye, embracing a neighbor of Gaspar Nsengimana. There was also a note bearing the phone numbers of both Uwingeneye and Nsengimana.But by the time of the police search, Jelard had left Shabani’s house. The police are now looking for both him and Uwingeneye.Nsengimana told the “Noticias” reporter that, even before the police discovered the photographs, his son had warned him that Uwingeneye was plotting to murder him in order to obtain the fleet of buses he operates. He had no doubt that the Rwandan soldier had been hired to carry out the assassination.“In 2007 I lodged a complaint with the police, asking them to investigate reports that there was a plot to kill me”, said Nsengimana. “Unfortunately they paid no attention. Only this year have they begun to put the facts together, based on the photos they found”.


A government project for the construction of silos for storing grain in Nhamatanda, in the central Mozambican province of Sofala, has been delayed by a year.The contractor “Kanes Alfaias Agricolas” alleges that the delay comes under the category of force majeure. The company’s administrator, Joao Carlos Frade, told the Maputo daily “Noticias” that the completion of the work was scheduled for last year, but that the floods registered in that part of the province had prevented the construction of the silos.The governor of Sofala province, Carvalho Muaria, who has been visiting the districts along the Beira Corridor, which is regarded as one of the main granaries of the country, showed his displeasure at the delay, which he described as a major problem for the population. He warned that “to be honest, I must say that I am displeased with you”, and he launched an appeal that such a delay should not take place in other parts of the country. The government programme to build silos is being extended to other provinces including Zambezia and Tete in the centre of the country, and Niassa in the north.Carvalho Muaria was told by the contractor that the construction of the silos will be concluded within 45 days.The silos have the capacity to store about four thousand tonnes of grain. They will be ultra-modern with elevators, dryers and machines for pre-cleaning the grain.


Researchers have found that a bull shark, also known as a Zambezi shark, has migrated from the South Western Cape in South Africa to near the Mozambican island of Bazaruto over a period of just two months.Zambezi sharks, which can grow up to four metres in length, are perhaps best known for their ability to survive in rivers.The researchers knew little about the migration patterns of bull sharks and tagged a shark in the Breede River estuary to gain an insight. The tag is designed to fall off the shark and float to the surface, whereupon it sends data via satellite on the shark’s movements.Researchers from the South African Shark Conservancy (SASC) have been shocked at the migration pattern of the tagged shark which covered a distance of 2,000 kilometres.SASC representative Meaghen McCord lamented that “despite being listed by the IUCN as near-threatened globally, there are no existing management or conservation measures for bull sharks in South Africa or Mozambique”.McCord called for temporary protection of bull sharks until they can be studied further, pointing out that the sharks are apex predators and play a role in maintaining the ecosystem.SASC has offered an award of 150 US dollars for the return of the tag, which is believed to be floating somewhere off the coast of Mozambique.

Wednesday, May 25, 2011

Mozambique’s Minister for Women’s Affairs and Social Welfare, Yolanda Cintura, has called for the mobilization of more resources in order to take effective measures against child abuse.She made this appeal on Monday, during a meeting of advocacy and mobilization to combat violence against children.According to a press release from the Maputo office of the United Nations Children’s Fund (UNICEF), Cintura “mentioned that more resources – technical, financial and human – are needed to establish a coordinated and effective platform of action against violence and the abuse of children”.During the meeting, the Minister also spoke of the problem of trafficking in children, and the measures need to eradicate this.She urged the participants to renew their personal conviction in the fight against child abuse, and to support efforts to make Mozambique a better place for children and a country where the safety and development of children are cherished.For his part, the UNICEF representative in Mozambique, Jasper Morch, stressed the importance of preventing violence and abuse through changing social norms, and ensuring zero tolerance for abuse in schools. Other measures required include strengthening medical-legal forensic capacity, training social workers, setting up community child protection committees, continual communication for changes in behaviour towards children, and strengthening the National Council on Children’s Rights.The meeting resulted from the joint efforts of five ministries (the Ministry of Women’s Affairs and Social Welfare, Interior, Justice, Health and Education) and the Supreme Court.


Mozambique’s National Union of Journalists (SNJ) and the mobile phone company Vodacom on Tuesday launched the fourth annual edition of the journalism prizes sponsored by Vodacom.There are eight categories in which prizes can be awarded, with total prize money of 31,000 US dollars. The most prestigious is the “Aquino de Braganca” prize for investigative journalism, named after an outstanding journalist, researcher and intellectual who died with the country’s first President, Samora Machel, in a 1986 plane crash.There are also prizes for reporting, photo-reporting, sports journalism, economic journalism, and radio and television programmes.At the launch ceremony, SNJ general secretary Eduardo Constantino said the agreement between the SNJ and Vodacom initially covered just two years, and then been extended to four years.“After this, there will be a joint assessment to see whether it’s worth continuing or not”, he said. “The SNJ thinks that it is – the prizes encourage journalists, and reward good journalism”.In 2010, there were 60 entries, and Constantino hoped for more this year. He regretted that last year the great majority of entries had come from journalists living in Maputo and the neighbouring city of Matola. Constantino was sure that good journalists are also working in the other provinces.Work published or broadcast in any of the Mozambican media between 24 November 2010 and 30 August this year may be submitted. No competitor may submit more than two pieces of work.The prizes are awarded by an independent jury, and there is no appeal against its decisions. The prizes will be awarded to the winners by 24 November.

Friday, May 20, 2011


Inspectors from the Provincial Directorate of Mineral Resources and Energy and the Mozambican police on Tuesday seized in the northern province of Nampula, about 200 kilos of precious stones valued at 150,000 US dollars.The stones included tourmaline, morganite, fluorite and quartz, and were being stored in the neighbourhood of Muhala, in Nampula city, in the home of a Malian businessman Tairo Dialo. The weight, however, clearly includes the rock in which the stones are embedded.According to the provincial director of Mineral Resources and Energy, Moises Paulino, these precious stones from the provinces of Nampula, Cabo Delgado, Manica and Zambezia, were in transit on their way to the Asian market.Moises Paulino, cited in the Beira newspaper “Diario de Mocambique”, explained that the seizure resulted from information received from the public. He pointed out that the state loses a great deal of money through the illegal export of mineral resources.The director stated that after the arrests Diangana Mamadou, a member of the Malian community, sent a letter to the Provincial Directorate claiming ownership of the stones.Mamadou, the owner of the company Wagadou Commercial, has a license to trade in precious stones and claims that he was only storing the stones in Dialo’s house.However, the inspectors see this as just a ploy to cover up the trafficking.It was at this luxurious mansion that was seized precious stones


The 19 donors and funding agencies who provide direct support to the Mozambican state budget have concluded that the government is making sufficient progress to allow them to continue with this form of aid.This was the main conclusion announced on Thursday at the end of the annual joint review between the government and the “Programme Aid Partners” (PAPs), sometimes known as the “G-19”.This group consists of the countries and institutions that give at least some of their aid directly to the state budget. They are the European Union, 13 EU member states, Canada, Norway, Switzerland, the World Bank and the African Development Bank.Addressing the final session of the review, Planning and Development Minister Aiuba Cuereneia said that work on the review was particularly intense this year, because it coincided with the finalization of the government’s new Poverty Reduction Action Plan (PARP) for the 2011-2014 period.
PARP, Cuereneia said, “defines the promotion of inclusive economic growth and poverty reduction as the central goals of government action”.The new plan, he continued, is focused on “increasing agricultural and fisheries production and productivity; job creation; human and social development; macro-economic management and public finance; and good governance”.Cuereneia added that, despite rising international fuel and food prices, “careful macro-economic management allowed our economy to remain stable and to grow in 2010. Growth in our GDP reached 6.5 per cent, exports reached 2.2 billion US dollars, and net international reserves came to more than 1.87 million dollars, enough to cover five months of imports”.The review assesses the performance, not only of the government, but also of the PAPs. This year that assessment was done by the government, rather than by independent consultants, and showed that the donors are still missing most of the targets for aid effectiveness.There were 21 targets for the PAPs, and they only met eight of them, while there was progress in a further three. These targets concern such matters as the predictability and harmonization of aid, donor alignment with the strategies of the host country, use of the country’s own institutions and systems, and a reduction in the number of donor missions.
The meeting reported that the number of missions had dropped – from 167 in 2009 to 85 in 2010. This is still a considerable drain on government resources, since these missions, all expecting to meet senior officials up to and including ministers, were arriving at the rate of one every four days. The government had 43 targets to meet, and the PAP assessment of the government performance was that it met 20 of them, made progress in a further 15, while eight were not met at all.The weakest area remained governance. The outgoing chairperson of the PAPs, British High Commissioner Sean Cleary, said the donors regarded performance as “satisfactory in most areas, except governance”.“Good political and economic governance and the struggle against corruption are absolutely important for the development of the country and for the maintenance of budget support”, warned Cleary.Nonetheless here were some encouraging signs, such as the government’s public commitment to the Extractive Industries Transparency Initiative (EITI) and to the African Peer Review Mechanism (APRM).But the PAPs wanted to see more progress. Cleary said the key areas were a new package of legislation against corruption, which would include dealing with conflicts of interests, the declaration of assets by high ranking state officials and protection for whistle-blowers. He also wanted to see “a strategic plan to strengthen the government’s capacity to fight against corruption”.
Cleary also stressed that “greater efforts in agricultural productivity, and in job creation, and in improving the business environment are essential to guarantee inclusive and sustainable growth”.But in this area the government and the donors are singing from the same hymn sheet. “We are pleased to see that these matters have been stressed in the government’s new PARP”, said Cleary. “Implementing them will bring significant challenges, and the government can be sure of our support”.But he added that budget support “can only be justified on the basis of results. In these times of severe financial pressures, it is essential to show results to the Mozambican public, and to our publics, and to show that public funds are being used efficiently and effectively”.But this could not be guaranteed for the future – the amount of budget support for 2012 will be pledged by each of the PAPs at a ceremony on 31 May.Cuereneia added that the main impact on Mozambique of problems in the Euro zone had been a disruption in flows of capital. He said that lines of credit promised by Portugal have not been put into operation because of that country’s financial woes.


A court in central Mozambique has sentenced two Chinese citizens to lengthy prison terms, arising from a murder committed in 2009, reports the Beira daily paper “Diario de Mocambique”.The Sofala provincial court found Chen Wei guilty of the murder of a fellow Chinese citizen, Zhong Jun, whom he shot with an AK-47 assault rifle on 7 December 2009. He was sentenced to 22 years imprisonment.His co-accused, Pi Biao, was sentenced to 15 years as an accomplice, and for the illegal possession of a pistol. However, neither man was in court to hear the sentence. They both fled after the murder, and were tried in absentia.The crime took place on the premises of the Qiu Zhing Biu sawmill in Chamba, on the outskirts of Beira. Chen and Pi were arrived at the sawmill in a Toyota vehicle driven by Yun Feng Li, who was also accused of complicity in the crime. But the court found the evidence against him insufficient and he was acquitted. Unlike his fellow accused, Yun did not escape, and was thus the only one of the three in court during the trial.Chen and Pi are workers at a different Chinese concern, the Chen Chen iron foundry. The motives for their lethal attack on Zhong Jun are unclear.The court also ordered the two to pay compensation of 235,000 meticais (about 7,830 US dollars) to Zhong’s family and Ren Fei, a Chinese woman whom they injured during the attack.But nothing can be paid until the two men are located. The court has ordered their capture, but by now they could well have left the country.

Thursday, May 19, 2011


There are 3.8 million farms in Mozambique, the vast majority of which are less than ten hectares in size, according to the preliminary results from the Agricultural and Livestock Survey (CAP) undertaken in 2009-10.The National Statistics Institute (INE) released the results on Wednesday.The INE gives the total number of farms in the country as 3,827,754. Of these 3,801,259 (99.6 per cent) are classified as “small”, covering less than 10 hectares. Just 841 are considered “large” covering 50 hectares or more, and 25,654 fall between these limits and are considered as “medium”.The survey found that the total area under cultivation was 5,632,787 hectares. Of this figure, 5,428,571 hectares (96.4 per cent) are on small farms, 130,651 hectares on medium sized farms, and 73,565 hectares are on the handful of large farms.A significant number of farms are tiny. 44,142 cover less than 0.1 hectares, and 381,298 are half a hectare or less in size.
The households that own the farms, the INE says, account for 75.1 per cent of the total number of households in the country. 27.4 of the households running farms are headed by women. As for the main food crops, 69 per cent of the farms grow maize, 63 per cent grow cassava, 14 per cent grow rice, and 39 per cent grow groundnuts.The most commonly cultivated cash crop is sesame. 7.43 per cent of farms grow sesame. It is followed by sugar cane (5.92 per cent), tobacco (2.91 per cent) and cotton (2.21 per cent). Over 80 per cent of the farms grow no cash crops at all.The most important tree crops are cashew nuts and copra. 1.38 million farms (36 per cent) have cashew trees on their land, and the total number of cashew trees in the country is put at 38.2 million.871,498 farms (23 per cent) have coconut palms. There are 24.3 million of these palm trees, overwhelmingly in just two provinces – 16.3 million in Inhambane and 4.5 million in Zambezia.As for livestock, the survey found that there are 1.3 million head of cattle in the country, 3.9 million goats, 1.3 million pigs and 23.9 million chickens. Cattle farmers are a small minority of the rural population – cattle were only found on 5.4 per cent of farms.The survey found that the agricultural techniques used on the great majority of farms are rudimentary. Only 5.3 per cent of farms use irrigation, 3.8 per cent use fertilizers and 2.5 per cent use pesticides.Mechanisation scarcely exists. Only 1.6 per cent of farms reported the use of tractors and 1.8 per cent the use of ploughs.The most common form of transport is the bicycle. 1.23 million farms (32.2 per cent) had bicycles.


The construction of an international airport in the northern Mozambican port of Nacala will create a total of 700 jobs, according to the official government spokesperson, Deputy Justice Minister Alberto Nkutumula.The new airport is the modernization of what was once the Nacala military air base. The work includes the construction of passenger and cargo terminals, and a new control tower, and resurfacing the runway.Of the 700 workers involved in the construction phase only 50 will foreigners. They will be from Brazil, the partner country in implementing the project. Once construction is complete the airport will need 100 employees for its normal operations.The decision to go ahead with the airport is the result of a contract signed in April in the Brazilian city of Rio de Janeiro between the Mozambican government and the Brazilian Development Bank (BNDES). It is hoped that the airport will be completed by February 2013.Nkutumula told reporters that the Council of Ministers (Cabinet) on Tuesday approved a resolution that ratified the contract for financing the construction of Nacala International Airport.He said that the government’s expectation is that the airport, budgeted at 80 million US dollars, will boost development in Nampula province and throughout the north of the country.The airport will have the capacity to handle between 500,000 and 600,000 passengers a year, and receive class D aircraft, such as Boeing 757s and 767s.


Deputies from Mozambique’s main opposition party, the former rebel movement Renamo, all walked out of the country’s parliament, the Assembly of the Republic, on Wednesday morning, because an item that was not to their liking had been placed on the agenda.This was the second day running that the Renamo deputies had boycotted the Assembly. On Tuesday, they walked out rather than listen to a report from the ad-hoc commission charged with drawing up constitutional amendments, because Renamo does not want to change the constitution.On Wednesday, they refused to take part in a debate on a government bill on public-private partnerships, large scale projects and business concessions. At the start of the day’s session, Renamo demanded that the bill be withdrawn because it claimed there had not been enough time to study it.The Renamo motion for withdrawal was defeated, with 167 deputies from the majority Frelimo Party voting against, and 41 Renamo deputies in favour. The six deputies present from the Mozambique Democratic Movement (MDM) abstained.Renamo deputy Anselmo Vitor claimed that the bill had not been discussed in the Assembly’s specialized commissions – but this was clearly untrue, since opinions from four of the commissions were circulated, all approving the bill and suggesting that it be approved, with amendments, by the plenaryThe opinion from the Legal and Constitutional Affairs was signed by its three Renamo members, although in the Commission they argued that the bill was “very complex and technical” and that more time was required to consider it.In the Plan and Budget Commission, the Commission on Agriculture, Rural Development, Economic Activities and Services, and the Commission on Public Administration, the Renamo members were present when the bill was discussed, but took no part in the discussion and refused to sign the opinions.After their motion to withdraw the bill was defeated, Renamo remained in the chamber for the first item on the agenda, a government bill on rights for veterans. But when Finance Minister Manuel Chang took the rostrum to introduce the bill on public-private partnerships, large scale projects and business concessions, the Renamo group walked out en masse.
The Mozambican Council of Ministers (Cabinet) on Tuesday approved the Strategy for the Development of New and Renewable Energy, with the objective of creating conditions for communities living far away from the national grid to access energy resources.The strategy is due to be implemented over the 15 year period 2011-2025, and will regulate and put into operation the use of renewable sources for the generation of electricity. Energy Minister Salvador Namburete told reporters after the meeting that among the various renewable energy technologies contemplated in the strategy are solar-powered photovoltaic systems for lighting, water pumping or heating. Other technologies are wind generators, geothermal systems and biomass from organic material such as sugar cane. The strategy also covers power generation from the sea, which looks at wave and tidal energy, and temperature variations in the ocean.“This element is, from the technological point of view, still very expensive. But because the strategy covers a 15 year period we do not know what will happen over time” said Namburete, noting that a look at the advances in technology over the last few years shows that costs could fall and become affordable for the country.Much of the development of these types of energy, according to the minister, will be outside the grid (which is based on power from the Cahora Bassa dam on the Zambezi), and will consist of isolated systems that will be able to provide energy to villages. One such initiative is being developed throughout the country by the National Energy Fund (FUNAE) which seeks to provide 2.1 million Mozambicans with energy from photovoltaic units (solar panels).The development strategy outside the grid could be implemented through small hydro-electric generators. In Manica and Niassa provinces there are mini and micro hydro generation systems using simple technology which are easy to use and maintain.According to Namburete, the isolated systems will be developed by private companies using cost recovery models. He pointed out that in some cases the cost of producing energy will be slightly higher than the national electricity tariff, but an effort will be made to approach the cost of what is provided by the national grid.It would certainly be much cheaper than the obvious alternative – which is firewood and charcoal – especially if environmental costs are factored in.


The Mozambican parliament, the Assembly of the Republic, on Wednesday passed a bill granting rights to veterans of both the national liberation struggle against Portuguese colonial rule, and of the 16 year war of destabilisation waged by Ian Smith’s Rhodesia and apartheid South Africa against Mozambique.The bill enshrines rights already granted to veterans of the anti-colonial struggle under previous legislation, and for the first time grants bonuses to demobilized soldiers who fought on both sides in the war of destabilisation.Veterans of the liberation struggle are entitled to a “participation bonus” varying in accordance to the military position they held in the war, and in addition to the statutory minimum wage in the public administration. Those who were wounded in the struggle for independence are also entitled to an invalidity pension.These veterans who benefit from a military retirement pension must choose between the pension and the participation bonus.Demobilised soldiers who fought in the post independence war, both in the government army, the FAM/FPLM, and for the apartheid-backed Renamo rebels, will receive a “social re-insertion bonus”, if they spent at least three years in the army.Former FAM/FPLM members who spent at least ten years in the army are entitled to a military pension, under the same rules as are applied to the current Mozambican armed forces (FADM).Veterans from both wars and their dependents are entitled to medical care, fully or partially free of charge, in military health units or in the national health service. The exact terms of this right will be regulated later. Disabled veterans are entitled to wheelchairs or artificial limbs paid for by the state, and the state must provide housing for severely disabled veterans.The state will also subsidise veterans’ funerals, and provide them with free or subsidised public transport. The state must also give priority to veterans’ children in access to education and to scholarships.Renamo deputies attacked the bill as “discriminatory, unconstitutional and unjust” because it grants more rights to veterans of the liberation struggle than to demobilized soldiers of the post-independence war.The group from the majority Frelimo Party on the Assembly’s Constitutional and Legal Affairs Commission pointed out that what would really be unjust is “putting on the same pedestal those who are considered veterans because they defended sovereignty and democracy, and those who dedicated their lives to the national liberation struggle. For you cannot defend sovereignty and democracy in a country which does not exist”.Without the sacrifice made by the guerrillas who fought against Portuguese colonialism, there would never have been an independent Mozambique, Frelimo said. “It would be simply irreverent for legislators to wipe out the existence of veterans of the liberation struggle and legislate for them to be treated the same as others”, the Frelimo deputies argued.
Renamo also protested against the clause limiting the “social reinsertion bonus” to people who had spent at least three years in the army. It did not want that clause to apply to the Renamo demobilised, who should be paid regardless of how much time they had spent as Renamo fighters.For the government, the Minister of Veterans’ Affairs, Mateus Kida, pointed out that the government was excluding its own conscript soldiers who had only spent two years in uniform from the concept of veteran. It would be grossly unfair to pay a bonus to Renamo fighters who had spent two years or less in the war, while nothing was paid to conscripts demobilised after two years.Kida said the “Social Reinsertion Bonus” was designed particularly for those who did not qualify for military pensions. That applied particularly to the Renamo demobilized who could not claim pensions because they had never paid contributions into any pension fund.
The Minister was surprised to find Renamo deputies objecting to a clause which said that time spent in the ranks of either army could only be counted as from the supposed veteran’s 14th birthday. By demanding that this clause be dropped, Renamo was admitting that it had recruited into its ranks children even younger than 14 – something which it had previously always denied.
Two of the Renamo speakers in the debate, Leopoldo Ernesto and Anselmo Vitor, were careful to restrict their complaints to the allegedly discriminatory and unconstitutional nature of the bill, and not to attack the national liberation struggle.With Armindo Milaco, however, the Renamo mask dropped and he launched a bitter attack on the veterans of the independence war. “Those who came from Nachingwea (Frelimo’s main training camp in southern Tanzanian during the anti-colonial war) destroyed this country”, he claimed. “They brought communism, they brought re-education camps, they brought public executions”.Milaco’s tirade was cut short, because he ran out of time, and his microphone was switched off.
When the bill was put to a vote, it passed its first reading by 175 votes to 44. All the deputies present from Frelimo and the Mozambique Democratic Movement (MDM) voted in favour, and all those from Renamo against.


Mozambique and China signed on Monday, in Maputo, a memorandum of understanding whereby they will take joint measures to facilitate cooperation and exchange of experiences, and the technical training of Mozambican sports leaders. The memorandum, initialed by the Mozambican Minister of Youth and Sports, Pedrito Caetano, and the Vice-President of the Chinese Olympic Committee, Yu Zaiqing, should enable the technical training of Mozambicans in soccer, basketball and martial arts. Speaking at the ceremony, Caetano said that based on this memorandum, Mozambican athletes will train in high performance Chinese centres.“This will bring added value to the country because we will include the activities that we intend to accomplish in a joint annual plan”, said Caetano. Also under this memorandum, China will provide technical support and equipment for the All-Africa Games to be held in Maputo in September. To this end, according to Caetano, the Chinese authorities will be given a list of equipment and materials needed.The cooperation relationship between Mozambique and China dates from the time of Mozambique’s liberation struggle and in recent years has been extended to the sports area, said the Minister, stressing the Chinese role in building the new national sports stadium, inaugurated by President Armando Guebuza on 23 April.For his part, Yu Zaiqinq said that in the signed memorandum there are agreed principles and disciplines covered in the sports cooperation area which will allow a new era of communications and exchange of experiences between both parties.Yu explained that this initiative is in response to a visit that Caetano made to China in March during which the parties agreed to further enhance cooperation and communication in sports.


Parliamentary deputies of Mozambique’s main opposition party, the former rebel movement Renamo, on Tuesday boycotted the country’s parliament, the Assembly of the Republic, rather than listen to a report from the ad-hoc committee set up to consider amendments to the constitution.The commission was set up last year, but Renamo refused to appoint the three members to which it is entitled. Currently, the commission consists of 16 deputies from the majority Frelimo Party, and one from the Mozambique Democratic Movement (MDM). Renamo protested, accurately enough, that Frelimo has not indicated which parts of the constitution it wishes to amend. It also complained at the budget for the commission of 20 million meticais (about 656,000 US dollars), which it argued could be better spent on other tasks.Thus when the commission chairperson, Eduardo Mulembue, began delivering his report, all Renamo deputies present walked out of the chamber, thus ensuring that only Frelimo and the MDM would take part in the brief debate.Mulembue said that to date the Commission has only held two meetings, largely because of lengthy delays in publishing the resolutions that established it and appointed its chairperson in the official gazette, the “Boletim da Republica”. Such delays are habitual, and are beyond the control of the Assembly or its commissions.The Commission has only discussed its calendar and its internal organisation and methodology – as a result, there is still no clarity as to which parts of the constitution will be amended.For the rest of this year, Mulembue said, the Commission would publicly launch the revision of the constitution and ask for proposed amendments, not only from the three parliamentary parties, but from all other private and public bodies and from individuals. After these proposals are received, the commission would start drafting a law to overhaul the constitution.The programme outlined by Mulembue also includes study visits by Commission members to South Africa and Tanzania.Mulembue hoped that Renamo would rethink its position and would appoint its members to the commission. His words were echoed by the Assembly’s chairperson, Veronica Macamo, who hoped that amendments to the constitution could be adopted by consensus (although Frelimo’s overwhelming majority in the Assembly allows it to pass amendments without Renamo votes).For the MDM, Alcinda da Conceicao said the lack of clarity about what was to be amended was “problematic”. Nonetheless, the MDM was committed to taking part “because we are in favour of inclusion and the debate of ideas. We are against excluding ourselves”. Last year fears were expressed that Frelimo wanted to amend the current constitutional restriction on presidential terms of office. The constitution states that no citizen may hold more than two consecutive terms as President of the Republic.Frelimo has insisted that it is not attempting to secure a third term for the current President, Armando Guebuza, and Guebuza himself has repeatedly stated that he is not interested in a third term.Frelimo has also said that it merely wishes to improve the constitution along its current lines, and does not intend to make radical changes.

Saturday, May 14, 2011


The Mozambican parliament, the Assembly of the Republic, on Friday passed unanimously the first reading of a government bill setting out the basic rules for extradition.Mozambique has ratified the conventions on extradition of both the Southern African Development Community (SADC), and of the Community of Portuguese Speaking Countries (CPLP), but until now has not had a legal framework for dealing with requests for extradition from other states.The bill states that extradition may only occur if the crime allegedly committed by the person concerned is also a crime under Mozambican law, and is punishable by a prison term of not less than a year. Extradition may be granted both for purposes of bringing the fugitive to trial, and for carrying out prison terms ordered by courts in cases where the criminal has been tried in absentia or has escapedThe bill forbids extradition in cases of political or military offences, or where the person extradited may face the death penalty or life imprisonment. Furthermore there can be no extradition, if there are grounds for believing that the alleged criminal may be subjected to torture or to other forms of inhuman, degrading or cruel treatment, or if he or she is being persecuted for reasons of race, religion, sex, ethnicity or nationality. Mozambicans may not be extradited from Mozambique to other countries (unless they acquired Mozambican citizenship after their alleged crimes were committed).Extradition requests will be treated as a matter of urgency. The request will first by analysed by the government, but the final decision is in the hands of the courts.“We live in a world increasingly open to the mobility of persons and property”, said Justice Minister Bemvinda Levi, introducing the bill. “Under these conditions citizens who have committed crimes also move from one state to another. This justifies the approval of this bill, which will be a cornerstone in cooperation with other states in the field of criminal law”.When the bill becomes law “We shall have a fundamental instrument for regulating cases in which we are requested to hand over individuals who have committed crimes in other states”, said Levi. “We shall be giving a signal that Mozambique is not a refuge for foreign citizens trying to escape from justice”.Although the bill was passed unanimously, it come under criticism from the Assembly’s Legal and Constitutional Affairs Commission because it only deals with extradition from Mozambique, and not with any requests for extradition that the Mozambican authorities may make of other states.Amendments to the pill proposed by the Commission will be considered during its second reading, probably next week.


The Confederation of Mozambican Business Associations (CTA) has queried the feasibility of the government’s latest measures to alleviate the cost of living for the poorest strata of urban society.The most significant of these measures are the provision of a basket of subsidised foodstuffs for anyone with a monthly income of less than 2,500 meticais (82 US dollars), and subsidised transport passes for workers and students.Since the food basket is supposed to be introduced in June, the government has about a fortnight left to register the estimated 1.8 million people eligible in Maputo and the other ten provincial capitals. The CTA, in a document cited in Thursday’s issue of the independent daily “O Pais”, warns that this deadline is impossible, and will overload the municipal authorities, diverting them from other activities. The CTA fears that the cost of the registration will be greater than the cost of the food subsidy itself.One of the requirements for beneficiaries of the food basket is that they should each have a tax number (NUIT). Most of the urban poor pay no tax and have no tax number, and the CTA argues that it will be impossible to allocate a NUIT to 1.8 million people in 15 days.The CTA suggests replacing the NUIT with the identity card of the beneficiaries. However, not everyone has an identity card – and it takes longer to acquire an identity card, which is a biometric document, requiring a photograph and fingerprints, than it does to allocate a NUIT, which is simply a number.The government manual for implementing the food basket mentions fixing maximum profit margins for the shops that will sell the subsidised food. The CTA is opposed to anything that smacks of administrative prices. It makes the unsubstantiated claim that “administrative prices immediately affect market balance, which always provokes a reduction in supply and pushes transactions onto the black market”.“Controlling profit margins or prices is a well-known impossibility in Mozambique”, the CTA claims.It also suggests that the subsidy – the difference between the reference price of the food basket and its market price – should be paid to the shops involved via a commercial bank. This would be “rapid, efficient and secure, with reduced logistical costs and ease in controlling the disbursements made by the state to the shops”.The CTA also objects to the government proposal that employers should pay 25 per cent of the subsidised transport pass, since no agreement has been reached about how this money would be paid. Even if this contribution can be deducted against corporation tax, it will still be an additional cost for companies – for they would have to pay the 25 per cent at once, and only recover it after the end of the fiscal year.In any case, the CTA argues, few companies have any profit at the end of the financial year, and so will not pay corporation tax. Thus it would be impossible for companies to recover their contribution to the transport subsidy from deductions against taxes paid. If the transport subsidy merely adds to employers’ costs, this would simply push prices up, the CTA claims.


The Mozambican cashew sector showed its continuing recovery by marketing 112,000 tonnes of cashew nuts in the 2010-2011 campaign, much higher than anything in the previous three decades, according to the Director of the Mozambican Cashew Institute (INCAJU), Filomena Maiopue.In the 1970s, Mozambique was the largest producer of cashew nuts, and the amount marketed once reached 216,000 tonnes. But the producing areas were badly hit in the 1980s, both by the war of destabilisation and by fungal infestations and insect pests. The stock of cashew trees was also ageing, and so production declined in both quantity and quality.Attempts to revive the cashew processing industry in the 1990s were sabotaged by the World Bank, which threatened to cancel loans to Mozambique, unless the government stopped subsidies to the cashew industry. The major beneficiary of the World Bank policy was the Indian cashew industry, since the great bulk of unprocessed Mozambican nuts were exported to India.But there is now a considerable recovery based on small scale processing factories, mostly in the north of this country, and on improved treatment of the trees, including with spraying against fungus infestations.“Over the last five years, the average amount of cashew nuts marketed has fluctuated between 70,000 and 90,000 tonnes. But this year’s figure of 112,000 tonnes is a great victory for the country, since it is the highest figure attained since independence”, said Maiopue, cited in the Beira daily paper “Diario de Mocambique”.This figure refers to cashew nuts sold on the formal circuits. Cashews kept back by farmers for their own consumption, and those sold on the informal market are not included – the real figure for cashew production is thus considerably higher.As for the processing industry, Maiopue said that the installed capacity has risen from a low point of 3,750 tonnes a year in 2001/2002 to the current figure of 38,400 tonnes a year. There are now 29 processing plants, though some of them are currently closed.These factories employ over 8,000 workers. Maiopue said that the large, mechanized factories that dominated the industry before the World Bank diktat, employed, at their height, 12,000 workers.About 50 per cent of cashew production is concentrated in the northern province of Nampula, followed by Zambezia in the centre of the country and Inhambane in the south.“But Inhambane is increasing its production considerably”, said Maiopue, “and in the next campaign we expect it to overtake Zambezia”.

Wednesday, May 11, 2011


President Armando Guebuza on Tuesday appealed to Mozambicans not to allow war to return to the country, stressing that “war is something evil that feeds on blood and perpetuates suffering”.He was speaking at a rally in the locality of Nhamapaza, in Maringue district, on the second day of his “open and inclusive presidency” in the central province of Sofala.His words had particular impact because Maringue was at the heart of the apartheid war against Mozambique. From 1986 until the end of the war in 1992 this district housed the headquarters of the apartheid-sponsored rebel movement Renamo. To this day there are still a couple of hundred of Renamo fighters in Maringue who, in violation of the 1992 peace agreement, were never demobilized.Mozambicans are well aware of the evils that war unleashes, Guebuza said. “We cannot allow war to return”, he declared. “Today, because we are at peace, we can move around and work at will”.  The echoes of war in Maringue could be heard in the remarks made by local residents who spoke at the rally, and protested that their district still contained armed Renamo gangs. One of them told Guebuza “here in Maringue there are still armed men in the bush who prevent us from working the land”.Others said the continued presence of armed gangs brought the name of Maringue into disrepute, and makes it difficult to heal the wounds left by the war of destabilisation.“We are being dragged through the mud by these armed men”, said one speaker. “Wherever we go, when we say that we come from Maringue, we are confused with these men”.Renamo calls these armed men its “Presidential Guard”. It claims that they are bodyguards of its leader, Afonso Dhlakama, and that the peace agreement allows such a force. In fact, the clause in the agreement allowing Renamo leaders to have their own security, which would be treated on a par with the state police, expired when the first multi-party elections were held in 1994.Guebuza also told his audience that rises in the world market price of liquid fuels was among the factors driving price rises in Mozambique. There was little Mozambique could do about this, since it was not an oil producerHe urged Mozambicans to step up their own production to minimise the impact of international crisis. “We have to resort to what we produce rather than wait for what comes from far away”, he said.He pointed out that parts of the country enjoy the right conditions to produce wheat, which would reduce the need for imported wheat. Furthermore local crops such as cassava and sweet potato could replace bread made from wheat flour.


The US-based company APR Energy announced on Tuesday that the Brazilian mining giant Vale has awarded it a contract to provide electricity to Vale’s mine at Moatize, in the central Mozambican province of Tete, which began operation on Monday.APR Energy will be responsible for installing and commissioning a diesel generator capable of providing 10 megawatts of electricity.According to the Chief Executive Officer of APR Energy, John Campion, “this award represents an important step for APR Energy’s growth and our expanding presence in the commercial mining sector. It shows how well APR Energy’s power solutions can meet the specific needs of the mining and industrial sector”. “We appreciate Vale’s confidence in us”, he added, “and we look forward to building upon our relationship with them and growing our involvement in the commercial mining industry”.In its initial phase, the Moatize mine will produce about 11 million tonnes of coking and thermal coal a year. This is projected to double, to 22 million tonnes, in the second phase.Vale-Mozambique employs about 8,000 workers, and the company has so far invested about two billion US dollars in Mozambique. Over the next five years a further four billion dollars will be invested.


The final testing of the new water supply system for the cities of Maputo and Matola is due to begin in September, according to a note from the Mozambican government’s Water Supply Investment and Assets Fund (FIPAG).Work on the project is now in its final phase, and over the coming weekend at the new water treatment station on the Umbeluzi River, in Boane district, new electrical equipment and pumps will be connected to improve the provision of water to Maputo, Matola and Boane.The note explained that the water pipelines will be cut to permit the linking of the pipes to the new distribution centres and the replacement of two sections of obsolete pipework.As a result, there will be severe restrictions on the supply of water to Maputo and Matola between Friday and Sunday.The project includes the expansion of the water treatment station at Umbeluzi, the construction of new pipelines from Umbeluzi to Matola along with improvements to the existing pipework, and the construction of new distribution centres at Tsalala, Boane, Katembe, Belo Horizonte and Matola Rio.It also consists of the expansion of about 580 kilometres of the distribution network as well as the strengthening and replacement of the network in the district of Ka Mubukwana, in Maputo.The increase in water supply works also aim to meet the needs of industrial and commercial development in the Maputo metropolitan area.The entire project, budgeted at 95 million euros (about 136 million US dollars), will increase the production and transport of treated water from the Umbeluzi River, reduce water losses, and rehabilitate and expand the water distribution network.By the end of this year, the percentage of people living in Maputo, Matola and Boane with access to safe drinking water should rise from the current 40 per cent to 73 per cent. In absolute terms, that means that the number of people with access to clean water will rise from 670,000 to 1.5 million.Consumers will also enjoy water supply 24 hours a day, rather than the current 12 hours. Before the start of the project, half of all the treated water distributed in Maputo, Matola and Boane was lost in leaks. FIPAG hopes that the project will reduce the level of losses to 25 per cent.Of the 95 million euros invested in the project, 13.8 per cent comes from the Mozambican state budget. The rest is provided by the European Investment Bank (EIB), the European Union, the French Development Agency, and the Dutch government.


The owner of an illegal pharmacy in the town of Dondo, in the central Mozambican province of Sofala, was arrested on Monday and found to be in possession of medicines that can only be distributed by the national health system.The detention of Araujo Peixe Almoco took place on the orders of the Central Office for the Fight Against Corruption (GCCC), and the arresting officers found large quantities of medicines including the anti-retroviral drugs used to prolong the lives of HIV-positive people.Pedro Chivando, of the Sofala branch of the GCCC, told the Beira dailypaper “Diario de Mocambique” that the GCCC had received a tip off about the illegal pharmacy through its hotline which was set up so that citizens can denounce illegal activities.“When we received the information, we initiated a primary investigation to confirm the existence of the illegal clinic. And when we apprehended the owner we found, apart from the illegal health unit, an enormous quantity of medicines, some of which are missing from the State pharmacies”, said Chivando.It is thought that the medicines that are for the exclusive use of the national health system could have been diverted from public health units.Last week the provincial head of the Sofala medical services, Custodio Cruz, said that health units in Beira are facing a crisis because of a shortage of medicines, particularly anti-retrovirals and antibiotics.


Workers of a sugar company that closed down in 1994 on Monday told Mozambican President Armando Guebuza that they have been waiting for their redundancy pay since 1994.The workers took the opportunity of Guebuza’s visit to Buzi district, in the central province of Sofala, as part of his “open and inclusive presidency”, to complain that they were thrown out of work 17 years ago and have never received the compensation to which they were entitled.The Buzi Company was not officially declared bankrupt. It simply closed its doors and told its work force of 2,592 to “await new instructions”, which were never forthcoming.“Since then we were never called back to work, and much less did we receive any compensation”, said one of the former Buzi Company workers, Bernardo Mapasse, at a rally addressed by Guebuza. “We have presented the problem to many official bodies, including the Assembly of the Republic (the Mozambican parliament), but nothing happens”.All the assets of the Buzi Company were purchased in 2004 by a successful sugar company, Maragra, in which the main shareholder is the South African concern Illovo.The relaunched Buzi Company started producing ethyl alcohol in 2006, and plans to resume sugar production in 2014. Currently it grows cane on a fairly small area, which is sold to the functioning sugar mill in Marromeu district. The current Buzi Company activities only employ a small number of people.At the rally, Buzi residents also asked for more wells to be drilled, so that they would not be obliged to take their water from the crocodile-infested Buzi river. They called for grater efficiency in the local health centre, and requested a mobile phone mast in Bandua locality. The also complained that corrupt officials extort money from people who request a new identity card.Guebuza declared that many of the problems the country faces derive from poverty. “We must continue fighting against poverty because it prevents Mozambicans from fully exploiting the resources we possess”, he said.“Here we have the sugar mill that isn’t working. Here we have the Buzi river and crossing it is a problem”, added Guebuza. He was referring to the difficulties faced by the sole ferry over the river. Guebuza said he could give no immediate answer to the questions raised at the rally, but he promised that they would all receive attention from the government.


Workers of a sugar company that closed down in 1994 on Monday told Mozambican President Armando Guebuza that they have been waiting for their redundancy pay since 1994.The workers took the opportunity of Guebuza’s visit to Buzi district, in the central province of Sofala, as part of his “open and inclusive presidency”, to complain that they were thrown out of work 17 years ago and have never received the compensation to which they were entitled.The Buzi Company was not officially declared bankrupt. It simply closed its doors and told its work force of 2,592 to “await new instructions”, which were never forthcoming.“Since then we were never called back to work, and much less did we receive any compensation”, said one of the former Buzi Company workers, Bernardo Mapasse, at a rally addressed by Guebuza. “We have presented the problem to many official bodies, including the Assembly of the Republic (the Mozambican parliament), but nothing happens”.All the assets of the Buzi Company were purchased in 2004 by a successful sugar company, Maragra, in which the main shareholder is the South African concern Illovo.
The relaunched Buzi Company started producing ethyl alcohol in 2006, and plans to resume sugar production in 2014. Currently it grows cane on a fairly small area, which is sold to the functioning sugar mill in Marromeu district. The current Buzi Company activities only employ a small number of people.At the rally, Buzi residents also asked for more wells to be drilled, so that they would not be obliged to take their water from the crocodile-infested Buzi river. They called for grater efficiency in the local health centre, and requested a mobile phone mast in Bandua locality. The also complained that corrupt officials extort money from people who request a new identity card.Guebuza declared that many of the problems the country faces derive from poverty. “We must continue fighting against poverty because it prevents Mozambicans from fully exploiting the resources we possess”, he said.“Here we have the sugar mill that isn’t working. Here we have the Buzi river and crossing it is a problem”, added Guebuza. He was referring to the difficulties faced by the sole ferry over the river. Guebuza said he could give no immediate answer to the questions raised at the rally, but he promised that they would all receive attention from the government.


A preliminary environmental impact assessment suggests that taking coal down the Zambezi river in barges will cause no significant environmental damage, reports Tuesday’s issue of the independent daily “O Pais”.
A major problem for companies investing in the Moatize coal basin in the central Mozambican province of Tete is that the Sena railway line, from Moatize to the port of Beira, cannot handle the vast amounts of coal that will be produced in a few years time.Currently the railway, recently rebuilt after it was completely destroyed by the apartheid backed Renamo rebels during the war of destabilisation, can handle around five million tonnes of cargo a year. A further upgrade, including doubling the track in places, could raise this to 12 million tonnes a year. But just one mine, that opened by the Brazilian mining giant Vale, expects to be exporting 22 million tonnes of coal a year in its second phase. By 2013, the Australian company Riversdale Mining (recently taken over by Rio Tinto) experts to be exporting five million tonnes a year from its Benga mine, adjacent to the Vale mine. A second proposed Riversdale mine, known as the “Zambeze Project”, has even larger coal reserves, and many other companies are queuing up to open mines in Tete. The Moatize area has been described as the largest unexploited coal basin in the world.Give the constraints of the Sena line, companies are seeking alternatives. Vale favours a new railway from Moatize to the northern port of Nacala, which would run across southern Malawi. Riversdale has been looking into the possibility of using barges to take the coal to Chinde at the mouth of the Zambezi. It could then be transshipped onto larger. ocean-going vessels, or taken down the coast to the new coal terminal under construction at Beira.The use of the Zambezi requires an environmental impact study before the government will give it the green light. The preliminary study, ordered by Riversdale, indicates that nothing seriously damaging to the aquatic environment is expected from the transport of coal.The most serious accident would be a spill of fuel, but adequate mitigation measures can reduce the likelihood of any such spill – these include the use of double-sheathed pipes to transfer fuel, and of valves that automatically shut the operation down if any fuel is lost.It is possible that some coal will be lost at sea in the transfer from barges to other ships. This would change the texture of the sea bed somewhat, but the study regards such impacts as negligible.The amount of coal dust generated when loading and unloading the barges depends on the methods used, and the study believes that the impact could be kept to a minimum.A more serious problem lies with the dredging of sections of the river to allow the barges to pass. This could reduce the amount of sediment carried by the Zambezi, and which ends up deposited on the beaches of central Mozambique. The study describes this as “a relative erosion” of the beaches, but regards this as an impact of only “moderate significance”.This study is limited to the transport of coal down the river, and thus says nothing about the Malawian proposal to use the Zambezi and its tributary, the Shire, for carrying Malawian imports and exports between the Indian Ocean and the river port of Nsanje.

Friday, May 6, 2011


The World Bank Chief Economist, Justin Lin, believes that Mozambique has the potential to achieve an average economic growth rate of 10 per cent within the next 10 years and become a middle income country, reports the daily newspaper “Noticias”.Delivering a lecture in Maputo on Wednesday entitled “New Structural Economics”, Justin Lin advised countries across the world to exploit their own comparative advantage to develop their economies.Justin Lin said that Mozambique enjoys remarkable comparative advantages with agricultural potential, abundant labour and mineral resources.Addressing the issue of agriculture, the World Bank Chief Economist said that he believes that over the next few years the Mozambican government can support technological innovation by improving irrigation schemes and other agricultural inputs to boost economic growth and contribute to poverty reduction.Justin Lin also said that with the proposed new approach, the government could stimulate the conditions for labour intensive production, which would lead to job creation. In turn this could encourage labour to migrate from agriculture to the manufacturing sector leading to incoming generation.“Mozambique also has a comparative advantage in terms of mineral resources and developing these industries would generate huge income for the country”, he stressed.Justin Lin emphasised that should this wealth be used sensibly it could improve the business environment and boost investment in manufacturing, education and health.The event was organised by the Finance Ministry, the Planning and Development Ministry, the World Bank in Mozambique, and the World Institute for Development Economics Research of the United Nations University (UNU-WIDER).


Mozambican President Armando Guebuza on Wednesday declared that he had found “a lot of sympathy” for Mozambique from potential investors he had met at the meeting of the World Economic Forum for Africa in Cape Town.Speaking to the Mozambican reporters who accompanied him to South Africa, Guebuza said he had been particularly interested in debates around agriculture “to see if we can gain from the experience of others, and win more sustainable investment for Mozambique”.Guebuza stressed that the role of peasant farmers is crucial. “They must not be marginalized, since they are part of the solution”, he said, “We must increase the productivity of peasant agriculture, and ensure a shift from subsistence agriculture to agriculture that produces a surplus, and participates in the monetarised economy”.He agreed that the poor state of roads into key production areas in rural Mozambique, and the lack of bank credit for farmers were crucial obstacles that must be solved.As for promoting “green growth”, the theme of a panel discussion the Mozambican leader participated in, Guebuza stressed “we must look for the most accessible forms of energy”. In much of the country, that meant power from the Cahora Bassa dam on the Zambezi, and that electricity would be transmitted wherever possible, notably along the new power line to be built from the Zambezi Valley to Maputo.“But that will not reach all the population who need power”, Guebuza acknowledged. “We have to use other, renewable sources, such as solar and wind power”.Among the business leaders who sought meetings with Guebuza were two executives from Hewlett-Packard – the Senior Vice President for Market Growth, Brian Humphries, and the Executive Director for the Middle East, Mediterranean and Africa, Santiago Cortes. Guebuza described Hewlett-Packard as one of the leading companies in the world for new technologies. The two executives “wanted to know what we think they could do” – and so the President invited them to visit Mozambique and invest in the country.As many Mozambican institutions have discovered to their cost, much of the equipment sold as Hewlett-Pasckard in Mozambique is in fact counterfeit. Unscrupulous retailers sell pirated goods, and Guebuza was sure that, if Hewlett-Packard invests in Mozambique, “they will be interested in helping the government in the fight against piracy”.Guebuza also received the Libyan ambassador to South Africa. The Mozambican authorities, he said, wanted to hear about the Libyan crisis “from all sources”. He was, however, convinced that “there must be a negotiated solution, reached through dialogue”.

Monday, May 2, 2011


Accusations of corruption by the ruling party in Mozambique, FRELIMO, complaints to the Head of State, Armando Guebuza, and demands for fair wages today marked the parade of Mozambican workers on the occasion of International Day of Workers.And 20 000 and 35 000 workers, according estimates of the Organization of Mozambican Workers, marched today from some of the main avenues of Maputo to the Square of Workers in the downtown of the capital, main stage in Mozambique of the celebrations of International Day  Workers. Standardized with t-shirts with inscriptions alluding the date and shawls (fabric used by African women to cover the waist and legs), the workers waved banners, posters and badges with complaints about poor working conditions, corruption charges to the ruling party and direct complaints to the Head of State Armando Guebuza, and the Minister of Labour, Helena Taipo absent from the ceremony. "FRELIMO return the money he stole from '` madjermanes, "read an enormous banner that former Mozambican workers in the former GDR.A phrase is a way of expressing dissatisfaction with the fact that the Mozambican government had allegedly not paid all the compensation channeled by Germany arising from rescission of Workers. Service workers cleaning the city of Maputo opted for a direct demand to the Head of State reminding him, "Guebuza, the people are hungry." The alleged indifference of the Mozambican authorities in relation to poor working conditions was also reported during the parade, in which employees of Banco Comercial de Investimentos (BCI) of the Portuguese group Caixa Geral de Depósitos accuse the government of "knowledge workers' problems, but prefer to sit on top." Speaking to the press, the spokesman of the Organization of Mozambican Workers (OTM), Mazoio Francisco, described the anniversary as "a day of party, but also a day of life. "" Through these messages and signs, the workers show the expectations of seeing their wages improved living conditions and improved their working conditions improved, "emphasized the Mazoio. Francisco its predecessors, the current head of the Mozambican state has never in 12 years as chairman, participated in the ceremonies of the International Workers Day, a move seen as a way to avoid exposing the President to demonstrations that each passing year has been marked by posts.Num more hostile to the parades of May 1, the former head of state of Mozambique Joaquim Chissano was insulted in broad square Workers Tribune by former workers in the former East Germany, and the Chairman responded at the time also in terms interpreted as insulting by some analysts.