Tuesday, August 23, 2011


The new pharmaceutical factory which will manufacture anti-retroviral medicines is expected to start operating in 2013, according to Jose Luiz Telles, head of the Brazilian Osvaldo Cruz Foundation (FIOCRUZ), who was speaking in Maputo on Saturday.Work is underway on the construction of the new factory, which should be completed early in 2012. This will be followed by the installation of equipment.According to Jose Luiz Telles, “2013 will be a special year for Mozambicans, with the beginning of the manufacturing of anti-retroviral drugs, along with medicines to treat high blood pressure and diabetes”.The factory, which will employ 88 Mozambicans, will manufacture 20 different medicines for the treatment of a number of diseases, especially anti-retroviral drugs for people living with the HIV virus. It will reduce the country's dependence on imported drugs.This project has been under preparation since 2003, when Brazilian President Luis Inacio Lula da Silva visited Mozambique. However, it was only in 2009 that the Brazilian Senate gave the green light for the project to be implemented.Both countries are also working towards the establishment of a medicines regulatory agency, which will evaluate and certify drugs manufactured and sold in Mozambique.The new regulatory body, to be named Agencia Sanitaria Nacional, will regulate, supervise, audit and standardise medicines and related products, including foods and cosmetics, sold in the country.


The Maputo municipality on Friday signed an agreement with the Japanese International Cooperation Agency (JICA) for the financing of a study on a new road management system for the Mozambican capital, reports the daily newspaper “O Pais”.Under the agreement, signed by Maputo’s mayor David Simango and JICA’s representative Sanjo Akihito, JICA will disburse two million US dollars to cover the full cost of the study.
According to Simango, the study will design an integrated transport system, including a new mass transportation system such as an overground metro, and will look at ways to strengthen the existing efforts to decongest road traffic in Maputo.“Our goal is that the master plan should establish new routes, including motorways, to enter and leave the city. We hope to define a new hierarchy for roads, which identifies new corridors for public transport and sustainable solutions to transport problems in the medium and long term”, said Simango.The study will be carried out over a 20 month period, starting in December. It will also cover the adjacent city of Matola, and the outlying districts of Catembe and Marracuene.Speaking during the event, JICA’s Sanjo Akihito stressed that “we are aware that transport is vital for the development of any country in the world”.In July, it was announced that a network of overground metro trains and electric buses, linking the cities of Maputo and Matola and the district of Marracuene, could start operating by the end of 2013 at a cost of 955 million dollars. This was according to a feasibility study presented to the government by the Italian company SALCEF.


The method of financing public higher education institutions in Mozambique is going to be changed to reflect the real cost of educating students.Currently, the level of state support is a matter for negotiation between each institution and the Ministry of Finance, without any involvement of the Ministry of Education (MINED).However, this method of allocating finance is considered to be unsustainable because of the gap between the rate of growth of the economy and the rate of growth of the demand for higher education.According to MINED’s Director of Higher Education, Denise Malauene, the new mechanism will allocate 10 per cent of funds to meet institutional needs, 60 per cent of funds based on the number of students and the remaining 30 per cent of funds through negotiations between the institutions and the Ministry of Finance.The funding of students will be administered by the Institute for Scholarships (Instituto de Bolsas de Estudo, IBE), and will be based on need and merit.Speaking during the Ministry of Education’s Coordination Council, which was held in Niassa’s provincial capital Lichinga, Malauene said that “access to scholarships will be based on the financial situation of each student”.He added that the funding aims to encourage more student mobility in choosing institutions and study programmes. It also has the objective of improving the capacity of the higher education institutions to respond to the needs of students.The negotiated funding from the Ministry of Finance is intended to provide institutional stability, improved results and higher graduation rates.It is hoped that the institutional funding will encourage research and innovation, and improve infrastructure, good management and governance.The objective of this new funding mechanism is to promote sustainability in higher education, ensuring that it meets the needs of students, higher education institutions and society.The proposals have already been sent to the Council of Ministers (Cabinet) for analysis and approval.According to Malauene, “if approved by the Council of Ministers, the model will begin being implemented next year”. He explained that the implementation will be stretched over a five or six year period.


Mozambican President Armando Guebuza declared on Monday that his government is paying special attention to issues related to land management.President Guebuza, speaking in Maputo at the opening session of the Council of Ministers (Cabinet), said that “one of the questions that have been at the centre of our preoccupations is land management. Under the direction of President Samora Machel, we had the sensitivity, proactivity and vision to produce the current legal framework governing the right to use of land”.The President said that land should be preserved, enhanced and utilised, and the law should be applied scrupulously “even by those who, in contact with local authorities, seek to imply that they are powerful or sent by someone with a lot of power”.He said that the government’s message is that it is necessary to avoid land conflict for this and future generations.


The number of deaths in road accidents in Mozambique rose to 46 last week, compared with 41 in the same week last year, according to figures given in the weekly update from the Mozambican police.Speaking to reporters on Tuesday, police spokesperson Raul Freia lamented that the number of road accidents rose from 68 to 77, and that the number of people seriously injured increased to 86 compared with only 38 in the same period last year. Minor injuries jumped from 38 to 67.The accidents were caused by excessive speed, dangerous overtaking, pulling out in front of other cars and the careless crossing of roads by pedestrians.Freia pointed out that more than half of all vehicle accidents involved people being run over.Freia urged drivers to be “guided by the elementary rules of the Highway Code” and for parents to educate their children how to cross the road safely.During the week, the police stopped 22,100 vehicles and fined 3,300 drivers. A total of 541 driving licences were confiscated, of which 491 were seized for driving over the speed limit and the rest for driving whilst intoxicated.


Mozambique's Minister of Health, Alexandre Manguele, announced on Monday that the government is to distribute 50 new ambulances across the country.The minister, who is on a working visit to the northern province of Cabo Delgado, said that the ambulances will be fitted with speed limiting devices set at a maximum of 90 kilometres per hour.According to Manguele, studies carried by the Ministry have shown that excessive speed was the major cause of road accidents involving ambulances.Manguele also urged the management of health units to organise monthly meetings with local citizens to assess the performance of the health sector in each region.These meetings, explained Manguele, should be used to critically examine the provision of health services and as a platform for people to praise good performance and denounce misconduct.


Mozambican Prime Minister, Aires Ali, on Friday laid the first stone for the construction of a new gas-fired power station in the district of Ressano Garcia, in the border with South Africa. For the construction of the new plant the company “Gigawatt-Mozambique”, owner of the project, is investing about 230 million U.S. dollars to generate 100 megawatts of electricity as from 2013. Gigawatt-Mozambique is 40 per cent owned by the South African company Gigajoule, which is also the foreign investor in the Matola Gas Company (MGC), which distributes natural gas to companies in the Matola and Boane region, including to Mozambique’s largest factory, the Mozal aluminium smelter.The Mozambican private investors in MGC hold the other 60 per cent of Gigawatt. The largest of these is the company Intelec, with 26 per cent.Speaking during the event, Aires Ali said that the power station should meet the demand of electricity in Mozambique in the near future, since consumption has been seen a significant growth over the last few years due to the increase in the number of consumers across the country.“The completion of this project will allow to create additional capacity for power generation to meet the growing needs of the population, as well as attract new projects for this region of the country”, said the Prime Minister. He added that this project means added value to the project of natural gas from Pande and Temane, as well as represents a substantial contribution in diversifying country’s energy matrix.For his turn Energy Minister, Salvador Namburete, explained that the 100 megawatts to be generated at Ressao Garcia will add to the electricity already available in the country, and managed by the publicly owned company Electricidade de Mocambique (EDM).The natural gas is a Mozambican resource – but currently 97 per cent of the gas extracted from the Pande and Temane fields in the southern province of Inhambane is exported to South Africa. Under the agreement between the Mozambican government and the South African petro-chemical giant Sasol, part of the gas is paid to Mozambique as a royalty – but so far Mozambique has only been able to use 40 per cent of the royalty gas.Meanwhile, there a number of projects for power generation in the pipeline, including the Mpanda Nkuwa dam, on the Zambezi river, about 60 kilometres downstream from the existing Cahora Bassa dam, and a new coal-fired power plant to be built by the Brazilian giant Vale, both in the western province of Tete.


Mozambique’s tourism industry earned about 741 million U.S. dollars in revenues in 2010, up from 616 million US dollars in the previous year, according to National Director of Tourism, Martinho Muatxiwa. Tourism investment in the country has seen a remarkable increase in recent years, with the same trend in the number of international visitors, which is attributed to initiatives carried out by the Mozambican authorities. Cited by the daily paper “Noticias”, Muatxiwa explained that Mozambique boasts a positive image which is a magnet for foreign investors and tourists. “There is huge potential to further increase tourism revenues because the volume of investments is continuously growing”, he said.The choice of Mozambique as a prime destination for tourism investments is partly due to incentives granted by Mozambican authorities provided in the country’s Tourism Law and Code of Fiscal Benefits, which include a number of facilities to investors, regardless of their origin.“The Ministry of Tourism can accommodate all types of investors provided that projects are designed taking into account country’s legislation. Also, foreigners are allowed to invest in the country without having to team up with Mozambican nationals. However, priority should be given to local residents in terms of job opportunities”, explained Muatxiwa.According to official figures, there are 10.779 rooms and 37,550 beds across the country, with the tourism sector employing about 40,000 workers.

Wednesday, August 17, 2011

Remains of a sinful relationship

The Mozambican government is engaged with the Angolan authorities to establish the reasons behind the deportation of two Mozambican journalists, who were barred from entering the country, said Deputy Foreign Minister, Henrique Banze, in Maputo on Tuesday. Banze, who was speaking to reporters shortly after the meeting of the Council of Ministers (Cabinet), explained that this is an issue between States and as such there is a need to ensure that common interests are safeguarded. The Government will announce its position once in possession of the facts happened on the ground. On Thursday last week, Angolan immigration authorities (EMS) at the Luanda International Airport barred two Mozambican journalists from entering the country, despite in possession of passports with valid entry visas issued by the Angolan Embassy in Maputo. The journalists in question are Joana Macie, from the daily paper “Noticias”, and Manuel Lourenco Cossa, from the independent weekly “Magazine”, who had been invited to attend a gender and economy conference hosted by the Angolan Journalists Training Centre (CEFOJOR).Joana Macie is also a former journalist of Mozambique News Agency.Both were sent back to Maputo with no explanation, much less allowed to collect their own luggage.Meanwhile, both journalists are still waiting anxiously for their luggage which they were forced to live behind at Luanda Airport. Also, they demand a solution for their passports, which were invalidated when the Angolan immigration authorities used red ink to cancel their entry visas. In a related development, the Mozambique’s chapter of the Media Institute of Southern Africa (MISA-Mocambique) expressed its concern and disbelief with the incident. MISA-Mozambique cites testimony of both journalists, saying that they were threatened by the Angolan authorities, and escorted at gun point to board the plane to return to Johannesburg. 'MISA-Mozambique expresses its solidarity with journalists Joana Macie and Manuel Cossa, and pledges to launch an investigation to establish the real causes behind the extreme measures taken by the Angolan authorities,' said MISA-Mocambique in a statement, cited by the daily paper “Noticias”.(Samora Machel/FRELIMO - Jonas Savimbi/UNITA)

Tuesday, August 16, 2011


Mozambican farmers have barely used a 25 million U.S. dollars credit line opened at the “Standard Bank” by both the government and the Alliance for a Green Revolution in Africa (AGRA). The credit line was opened in June 2010 to boost country’s agricultural sector. This facility has a 2.5 million US dollars guarantee fund supported by the Mozambican government and AGRA, thus farmers are not required to present collateral to access to credit. However, since its inception, this fund has financed only four initiatives totalling about two million US dollars.“So far we have only executed eight percent of the credit, which is very low,” admitted Marcelino Botao, Agro-business manager at the Standard Bank, one of the largest commercial banks in the country.According to Botao, the money was made available late last year, and that could explain the low demand for loans, along with problems faced by farmers to submit the required documentation, including business plans.Problems associated with documentation led to the rejection of 23 projects. Meanwhile, another 12 projects are under review, and if approved they will be implemented in the southern province of Maputo, Manica and Tete both in the central region of the country, totalling eight million US dollars.To address problems faced by farmers in preparing their projects, Standard Bank says it is working with AGRA to help farmers to improve their business plans.To that end, a team of service providers will be established to assist farmers. “Now there are five Mozambican companies funded by AGRA to assist farmers who are willing to submit bankable business plans and thus reduce the rate of rejections”, explained Botao.Interestingly, there are few projects for food production and processing, tough that was one of the objectives when this credit line was opened. Indeed, only one of the four projects now funded was designed to grow food crops such as maize, beans and sesame in the northern province of Nampula.In a relate development, president of AGRA, Namanga Ngongi, urged African governments to create adequate conditions and favourable environment for financial institutions to invest in agriculture, despite the risks involved. Currently, African farmers face serious difficulties in accessing bank loans.According Ngongi, across the African continent, where nearly 80 percent of the population depend on agriculture, only two percent of bank loans are granted to the agricultural sector.


Mozambican authorities have sacked 34 prison guards for accepting briberies and helping 74 inmates to escape. Eduardo Mussanhane, Director General of Prisons, on Wednesday announced this figures at the opening session of the VII Coordinating Council of the Justice Ministry, in the district of Boane, in the province of Maputo, reports the daily paper “Noticias”.He added that the prison guards faced disciplinary action and criminal charges, and most have been sacked or removed from their positions. According to Mussanhane, the authorities have recaptured 50 inmates from January 2010 to date, while three were killed during an exchange of fire with the police after refusing orders to surrender. The rest remain at large. The operations to recapture the escapees were carried out by the prison guard, in coordination with the Police and other relevant authorities. With 21 escapees, the prison of Nampula, in the northern region of Mozambique tops he list followed by Manica, Gaza, Maputo and Zambezia. Last week, said Mussanhane, the authorities foiled a scheme to release three prisoners from the Maximum Security Prison in Maputo, commonly known as “BO”. He said the prison guards connected with the case have been identified, and disciplinary proceedings and criminal charges have been initiated, which eventually may lead to their expulsion. Questioned about the systematic escapes of inmates from the prison system, Justice Minister, Benvinda Levi explained that it is due to weaknesses in the security system and poor training of prison guards. As for infrastructures, Benvinda Levi said that more than half of the country’s 128 districts do not have secure prison facilities to accommodate inmates. To overcome the problem, the government is upgrading and building new facilities. However, financial constraints are still one of the major problems. Participants of the 3-day meeting will take stock of activities carried out in 2010 and first half of 2011, as well as discuss the activities for the second half of 2011 and 2012.


The group “China Kingho” announced in Beijing on Wednesday that it will finance the construction of a new railway line linking the town of Moatize, in the western Mozambican province of Tete to the port of Beira in central province of Sofala.The new line will pass through the town of Chimoio, capital of the central province of Manica. China Kingho also plans to develop the port of Beira. This was announced by Huo Qinghua, chairman of the group China Kingho, during an audience with the visiting Mozambican President, Armando Guebuza.On Wednesday, the both governments signed a memorandum of understanding for the implementation of both projects. Huo also told that China Kingho last April handed over to the Mozambican government pre-feasibility studies concerning those projects. In July 2010, the group signed a memorandum of cooperation with the Mozambican government for mining development, construction of new infrastructures, agricultural development, education support, among others. The initial investment is budgeted at 20 million US dollars. On Wednesday, before heading to the city of Shenzhen, President Guebuza met with the management of the state owned “Exim Bank”. During the meeting he asked the bank management to continue financing projects already submitted by Mozambique to China based on concessional and commercial loans, the latter to be developed through Public-Private Partnership. Exim Bank is the largest partner of Mozambique for financial cooperation with China, and the largest creditor in terms of concessional loans provided by the Chinese government to Mozambique.Later on Wednesday Guebuza visited the Chinese city of Shenzhen to attend the opening ceremony of the XXVI Summer Universiade, at the invitation of his Chinese counterpart Hu Jintao, President Guebuza is on six-day state visit to China started on Tuesday.


The Mozambican government is mobilizing funding to organize by-elections following the resignation of Arnaldo Maloa e Sadique Yacub, Mayors of Cuamba and Pemba municipalities, in the northern province of Niassa and Cabo Delgado. José Tsamba, deputy Minister of State Administration, is quoted by the daily paper “Diario de Mocambique” as saying earlier this week in Maputo that “after the resignation of these Mayors there is nothing left other then to seek funding to organize by-elections, as stated by the law”. He was unable to disclose the sum required to organize these by-lections. On the 1 August, the then mayor of Cuamba submitted his resignation letter. He was later followed by Sadique Yacub, and both are accused of mismanagement, corruption and ignoring party hierarchy.Arnaldo Maloa is also accused of arrogance and abuse of power and turning a deaf ear to the recommendations made by his party (Frelimo) and failure to implement its manifesto for the 2008 municipal elections. Meanwhile, Sadique Yacub’s problems started just after his election in 2008. Few months after his election clashes began to emerge between him and party members. One group even sent a letter to the party’s President, Armando Guebuza, denouncing Yacub’s poor performance and relationships with the structures of the party.Also there are indications that Pio Matos, mayor of Quelimane, capital of the central province of Zambezia, is about to announce his resignation for the same reasons. For some time now, Pio Matos and his staff have been at loggerheads with the members of the Municipal Assembly, who accuse his leadership for systematic delays in payment of their allowances and other perks. Earlier this week, the daily paper o “O Pais” reported that the ruling Frelimo asked five Mayors to submit their resignation letters within the next few days. These include Jorge Macuacua, Mayor of Chokwe and Alberto Chicuamba, Mayor of Manhiça from the southern provinces of Gaza and Maputo respectively. Calls for their resignation follow a recent report compiled by a special team mandated by Frelimo’s Political Commission to establish on the ground veracity of the facts denounced by local residents.Arnaldo Maloa was the first to heed the calls, and on 1st August submitted his letter of resignation to the Municipal Assembly of Cuamba, Niassa second largest town.Meanwhile, they will be temporarily replaced by the chairpersons of the Municipal Assemblies, while by-elections are being organized.

Thursday, August 4, 2011


A Japanese company, Sojitz Corporation, has established a subsidiary in Mozambique to process and export woodchips, the raw material in the manufacturing of paper. It plans to invest 10 million US dollars in building a wood processing factory at Maputo port.Sojitz Maputo Cellulose Limitada (SOMACEL) intends to open its woodchip factory this year, which will be capable of supplying 200,000 BDT (bone dry tonnes) of woodchips to Japan annually.SOMACEL will use the Maputo Corridor to import logs from South Africa and Swaziland.This is Sojitz’s first woodchip manufacturing business in Africa, and is in response to a growing demand for the raw material in China and other Asian countries.Sojitz has invested heavily in securing its supply of timber elsewhere. In Vietnam the company has supported the creation of 46,000 hectares of forest by providing finance to farmers and supplying free saplings. It intends to follow a similar path in southern Africa.


Mozambique’s Ministry of Labour is urging coal mining companies operating in the central province of Tete to hire Mozambican miners who have lost their jobs in neighbouring South Africa.The Minister of Labour, Helena Taipo, pointed out during a visit to Tete last week that mining companies operating in the Moatize coal basin will require a skilled labour force when they begin large-scale production next year.“We are working with the coal mining companies to find a framework for hiring Mozambican workers with extensive experience in the mines of South Africa”, said the Minister.It is estimated that just over 40,000 Mozambicans work in South African mines. Many miners become unemployed at the end of their contracts.Taipo headed a delegation from the Ministry of Labour that visited a number of companies based in Tete city and in the mining district of Moatize.Discussions took place on the need to establish a healthy working environment in order to avoid labour disputes. This issue was raised in response to a strike by 1,500 workers from “Mozambique Leaf Tobacco” in Tete city on 9 to 11 July. Workers were demanding better salaries, transportation and other benefits.The minister advised foreign investors to strictly adhere to international labour standards, particularly concerning social responsibility programmes.The minister welcomed the large number of new jobs created in the province, which totalled more than 14,000 in the first six months of the year.Taipo stated that this figure is very encouraging, especially since most of the mining projects are still in the early stages of their implementation.The minister expressed her satisfaction that 8,000 of the province's new jobs went to Tete residents, while 4,000 went to Mozambicans from other provinces, and the rest was brought in from abroad.
The government is encouraging technical and professional training schools to improve the skills of the Mozambican labour force. It is requiring that mining companies fund training centres to improve the skills of the country’s workforce, which in turn will reduce unemployment.


The Standing Commission of the Assembly of the Republic, the governing body of Mozambique’s parliament, on Tuesday adopted a set of austerity measures to cut spending. These include cuts to a number of benefits granted to parliamentary deputies and their staff.Speaking to reporters, the Standing Commission spokesperson, Mateus Katupha, said that these measures include cuts to the fuel allowance given to the chairpersons and rapporteurs of select committees, which will drop from 60 litres to 45 litres per week.
The Assembly is being asked to reduce the level of its participation in international forums. Deputies will also be required to travel in economy class instead of business class on domestic flights.Katupha told reporters that “in the next session of the Standing Commission we will give a detailed analysis of the level of savings”. He added that the three parliamentary parties - Frelimo, Renamo and the Mozambique Democratic Movement (MDM) - agree that these measures should be supported by all deputies.This is not the first set of austerity measures adopted by the Assembly. In April, members of the Standing Committee turned down the offer of brand new Mercedes Benz cars.All 17 members of the Standing Commission were entitled to receive a new Mercedes to replace the current fleet made up of Peugeots. However, Standing Commission member Manuel Tome told reporters at the time that “we have decided to continue using our current cars, because we think it’s our duty to contribute to spending cuts”.In the last few months the Mozambican government has adopted a set of measures to cut spending and address the high cost of living in the country caused by rising prices in the international market.


Mozambican President Armando Guebuza declared on Wednesday that the country must change the current situation where children go hungry, live without shelter or clothes, and have no access to school or a source of drinking water.The President stressed that “Mozambique’s children are our treasure and guarantee our continuity as a people and a nation”.The President was speaking in Maputo at the Third Children’s Parliament, which has been sitting since Tuesday.He told the 114 children attending the session that there are still young people who are deprived of the chance to give their opinions or to live with their families in a harmonious environment.Listening to the President were senior political figures, including former president Joaquim Chissano, veteran of the liberation struggle Marcelino dos Santos, and Prime Minister Aires Ali.President Guebuza argued that society cannot rest while there are still children who are victims of violence, including sexual abuse, within the family, in school and in the community.He pledged that “the Mozambican nation has listened to your voices. The government will respond to the central issues that you have put to us”.The President said that some of the issues raised showed a high level of maturity. He gave the example of their concern about the policy of automatic approval, where children move from primary to secondary school even if they are unable to read or write.The child parliamentarians also argued that large class sizes reduce the quality of education provided.President Guebuza said that he was encouraged by the fact that the Children’s Parliament had shown the ability to analyse and approve many issues within the limited time available, which they presented very clearly.He said that “this shows that the children of Mozambique are very concerned about themselves and the nation”.The Third Children’s Parliament produced 14 recommendations on problems that the delegates want tackled.


Mozambique’s Minister of Mineral Resources, Esperanca Bias, on Wednesday said that since January 2010 about 7.5 tonnes of various minerals have been seized by the authorities. Many fines have also been imposed for breaches of mining legislation.Bias stated that measures are being taken to strengthen the capacity of the ministry to intervene to prevent illegal mining and environmental damage.Esperanca Bias was speaking at a session of her ministry’s Coordinating Council, held at the Pequenos Libombos resort, 40 kilometres west of Maputo.She said that efforts to tackle illegal mining and the trafficking of its products have been stepped up through improved inspection and monitoring at national level.In particular, action has been increased in the provinces of Cabo Delgado, Nampula, Zambezia, Manica, Tete and Maputo.According to the minister, the three-day meeting will review the ministry’s activities since July 2010 and actions that will be undertaken during the rest of this year.The ministry will look at the best way to carry out the government programme to develop the economy and fight poverty.Bias outlined the major mining projects on the horizon, and mentioned the exploration work currently taking place on heavy mineral sands at Jangamo and Xai Xai, in Inhambane and Gaza provinces.She pointed out that the heavy sands project at Moma, in Nampula province, is expected to complete its expansion by the end of next year. This will increase its capacity to mine ilmenite from the currently level of 800,000 tonnes to 1.2 million tonnes per year.The minister added that a licence has recently been awarded for the mining of heavy mineral sands at Angoche, in Nampula province. The mine is expected to produce 57,550 tonnes of ilmenite and 29,500 tonnes of zircon per year, and employ 835 workers.She also pointed out that there have been encouraging results from prospecting for base metals and precious metals in the provinces of Tete, Manica, Sofala, Niassa and Cabo Delgado. Among the metals found are gold, copper, zinc, nickel, vanadium and silver.In particular, considerable amounts of nickel have been found in Mwirite, in Cabo Delgado province, and prospecting is continuing to see if this is economically viable to mine.