Sunday, October 30, 2011


Residents of the northern Mozambican city of Nampula are angered at the decision of the municipal authorities to triple the rubbish collection fee, reports Thursday’s issue of the Maputo daily “Noticias”.The increase sounds exorbitant, because previously the municipality had been charging the derisory sum of ten meticais (about 37 US cents) a month for garbage collection. As from this month, the fee rises by 200 per cent to 30 meticais.Residents who spoke to “Noticias” say they were taken by surprise because the increase was not properly publicized. They also ask why they should pay anything at all given the apparent incapacity of Nampula City Council to keep the city minimally clean.“You can see it in this neighbourhood”, said a resident named Alfredo Manuelino. “These heaps or rubbish didn’t appear today. They’ve been here for a long time. But at the end of the month we’re charged 30 meticais. The City Council is swindling us”.It is hard to avoid paying the fee, since it is added onto electricity bills. The municipality says that, despite the complaints, it will not reverse its decision. “This was the decision taken by the members of the Municipal Assembly, and the money is intended to improve the regular collection of the solid waste that is produced every day in this city”, said Abdul Paulo, of the city council’s public relations office.Paulo claimed that work had been done to publicise the measure, including among the Nampula business associations, so he saw no reason for anyone to claim they were taken by surprise. But he admitted that there are indeed “serious difficulties” in collecting rubbish on time, particularly in the outlying neighbourhoods of the city.Paulo promised that better days will come. “The municipality is continuing and will continue to work to solve the problem of the accumulation of rubbish in Nampula”, he declared.

Monday, October 24, 2011


Nobody is dying of hunger in Mozambique, according to the National Director of Agriculture, Momed Vala, interviewed by AIM in the central city of Chimoio.Vala was reacting to last week’s report from the International Food Policy Research Institute (IFPRI) which described the food security situation in Mozambique as “alarming”.This classification represents an improvement on last year’s report, in which the IFPRI described the Mozambican situation as “extremely alarming”. The IFPRI reports divide countries into five categories according to their levels of hunger – these are “low”, “moderate”, “serious”, “alarming” and “extremely alarming”. These classifications are based on three indicators – the proportion of the population that is malnourished, the percentage of children under five years old who are under weight, and the infant mortality rate.Even though the report concedes that Mozambique has made significant advances in food security, Vala objected to the term “alarming”. He pointed out that there is no famine in Mozambique, and that in recent years there have been no deaths at all from hunger.“Nobody can prove that any Mozambicans have starved to death”, he said. “But I agree that we have problems of malnutrition in the countryside – on that we can speak with one voice”.In the two most populous provinces, Nampula and Zambezia, “there is nobody who does not have access to cassava to eat”, Vala said. But he admitted that cassava alone only provides carbohydrates, and if children do not eat vitamin rich foods as well, they will grow up malnourished. Vala regarded this as a problem of changing rural dietary habits. “When I came to Zambezia as provincial director of agriculture, I had to wage a titanic struggle to persuade people to eat tomatoes”, he recalled. “There was no culture of eating tomatoes, they were afraid of eating tomatoes. But today the markets are overflowing with tomatoes. It was hard work, but it was a worthwhile investment”.There have also been important dietary changes in Nampula. In the coastal districts of Angoche and Moma, people used to eat maize or cassava porridge with dried fish and nothing else. Today, however, they have learnt to add vegetable sauces, providing the meal with vitamins and other micro-nutrients.Analysts from outside often paid no attention to these changes, said Vala, but the government thought it essential to step up nutritional education, particularly in rural areas, so that people would learn how to improve their diet.Vala admitted that there are isolated cases of hunger in areas that are not appropriate for agricultural production. This was the case, for example, with the arid district of Chigubo in the southern province of Gaza.“In inhospitable areas such as Chigubo, there are always a few households who are short of food, but that’s not alarming”, said Vala. “We can walk across this entire country and we will not find any alarming situation”. The latest assessment of the government’s Food and Nutritional Security Technical Secretariat (SETSAN), made in April, was that some 300,000 Mozambicans were in a vulnerable situation.“Vulnerability is not the same thing as hunger”, said Vala. “It’s the case, for instance, of someone who hoped to harvest 20 sacks of maize, but because of pests only harvests 12 sacks. That household may have to tighten its belt, but it’s not starving”.


Several policemen and customs officers have been suspended from duty at Maputo International Airport, and are being questioned in connection with drug trafficking, according to a report in Saturday’s issue of the Maputo daily “Noticias”.The General Inspector of the Interior Ministry, Zeferino Zandamela, told the paper there were strong suspicions that these officers were involved in corrupt schemes that allowed people carrying drugs, particularly cocaine, to enter the country without being searched.The corrupt scheme is believed to have been in place for a long time. In exchange for turning a blind eye to drug trafficking, the policemen and customs officers concerned received large sums of money.They were replaced by a new team at the airport several weeks ago. Almost immediately drugs were discovered – particularly in the baggage of passengers who had come from India via Addis Ababa, and took the Ethiopian Airways flight to Maputo. Since July, drugs have been seized at the airport almost every week. The people arrested for drug trafficking have included Mozambicans, Zambians and South Africans.The police believe that cocaine was entering the country by this route regularly, but until the change of the police and customs team, the passengers carrying the drugs had been nodded through without any awkward questions being asked. Drugs carried in suitcases should be easy to detect, since all luggage of disembarking passengers must pass through scanners. Zandamela did not reveal how many policemen and customs officers had been suspended. “The most important thing is to continue the struggle against drug trafficking, rather than ask why it is only know that we are able to detect many cases in a short space of time”, he said. “It’s true that we’ve never had a situation like this before, and now we have to ascertain whether our colleagues were taking bribes to let the drugs through. The most important thing is the work we are doing now to neutralise the traffickers and prevent more drugs from entering the country”.


The district of Funhalouro, in the southern Mozambican province of Inhambane, is now receiving electricity from the national grid, based on the Cahora Bassa dam, on the Zambezi river.Funhalouro was connected to the grid last week via a 139 kilometre long medium voltage transmission line, running from Malaia, on the country’s main north-south highway, to Funhalouro town and on to the locality of Mbanguine.With Funhalouro on the grid, this leaves only Mabote and Panda districts in Inhambane still to be connected. According to Duarte Inhalo, director for the Inhambane operational area of the publicly owned electricity company, EDM, tests were undertaken on the Funhalouro line last week, with positive results. Some finishing work is now being done, after which, clients in Funhalouro town will start to receive electricity from the grid in their homes and workplaces. “We can say that Funhalouro is now linked to the national grid”, Inhalo told reporters, “but we are still working to ensure that Funhalouro receives good quality electricity”.The project to electrify Funhalouro and Mabote districts, including the construction of 22 transformer post, covering over 500 new clients, is budgeted at about 30 million US dollars.The electrification of Panda is covered by a separate project, and involves a 60 kilometre transmission line and seven new transformer posts. 620 new clients will be connected in Panda.It is expected that both Mabote and Panda will be on the national grid by the end of the year.

Monday, October 17, 2011


Mozambican authorities on Friday announced the successful completion of the first phase of the Single Citizen's Identification Number (NUIC) project, which covered 4,700 people in the southern city of Matola.The project will now be launched nationwide, and is expected to cover five million people over the next five years.NUIC is a system whereby every citizen will be identifiable with only one number for their entire life. This will end the current system whereby each document owned by the same person - identity card, passport, birth certificate, driver's licence, single tax number (NUIT), voting card, and others - has a different number.By the end of the project the authorities expect to cover the entire Mozambican population of about 20.2 million inhabitants at a cost of 40 million US dollars.According to the National Director of Registry and Notary Services, Arlindo Magaia, the registration brigades will now be deployed in Maputo, the Mozambican capital, and proceed gradually to cover the whole country.Describing the system, Magaia explained, “when a baby is born it is registered and issued with one single number to cover all documents. As well as collecting biographical data, the system also captures biometric data”.However, the project is facing a number of challenges. According to Magaia these include the lack of adequate infrastructure, electricity and internet services in some parts of the country, to carry out the process.“It is complicated, but it is a challenge worth tackling due to the importance of the registry for citizens. The plan is to register every citizen”, he said. Magaia explained that one of the advantages is that it will no longer be necessary to carry out the periodic updating of the electoral register because the Registry Office will already have all of the data.

Wednesday, October 12, 2011

The President of the ruling Frelimo party, Armando Guebuza, has warned that the discovery of new opportunities and development potential from the land and subsoil must not erode self-esteem and the culture of work.Guebuza, who is also President of Mozambique, was speaking on Sunday in the city of Matola to three thousand activists who were attending the closing ceremony of the three-day Frelimo national cadre conference.President Guebuza pointed out that in the euphoria caused by the good news coming from the development of the country’s natural resources “we may be lead to think that the resources extracted from the land, such as wood and agro-produce, and from the subsoil, such as coal and natural gas, are going to give us the income we need to live”.However, the President reminded those attending the conference that development is gained by work and not just given to outstretched hands.He also warned of the danger of impatience arising from the time gap between the revelation of a discovery and its effective exploitation, which is “not a few days”.According to President Guebuza, there are still some who believe that the exploitation of such resources will bring jobs to all Mozambicans. However, he stressed “this cannot be true, and never has been true anywhere in the world”.The President also warned of the danger that these discoveries could eat away at the main achievement of Mozambique over the last fifty years: national unity.He pointed out that the revenues from these resources must serve the development of all of Mozambique and not just the localities, districts or provinces in which they were discovered.However, President Guebuza recognised that without doubt the local community hosting a particular project must benefit. He stressed that “they should feel that such a project contributes to improving their social conditions, generates jobs and creates business opportunities”.Reflecting on the cadre conference, President Guebuza welcomed the fact that it was characterised by frank, open and inclusive debates.The main task of the conference was to discuss and feedback on the report of the preparatory office for the 10th Frelimo Congress. The Congress will be held in the city of Pemba, capital of the northern province of Cabo Delgado, from 23 to 28 September 2012.


The Aga Khan Foundation is to build a new education academy in the city of Matola in southern Mozambique at a cost of 50 million US dollars. The academy will have the facilities to accommodate 400 students from first to twelfth grade.The project was announced by Education Minister Zeferino Martins on Friday in Maputo, shortly after his arrival home from a working visit to Kenya.Martins noted that “the education academy will focus on teaching talented young entrepreneurs, concentrating on entrepreneurial values, leadership and knowledge. This institution will be open to students from low, middle and high income families. However, destitute students or those with few resources will be admitted on special criteria yet to be defined”.The academy will follow the curriculum of the International Baccalaureate.Martins was in Kenya at the invitation of the Aga Khan Foundation. During his visit he made a tour of an Aga Khan education academy with similar features to those that will be built in Matola.

Sunday, October 9, 2011


The Mozambican government has authorised the implementation of a forestry project in the central province of Zambezia budgeted at 101.4 million US dollars.The project, “Tectona Forest of Zambezia” will occupy an area of 19,540 hectares covering the districts of Gurue, Namarroi, Milange and Morrumbala.The project was approved by the Council of Ministers (Cabinet) at its meeting on Thursday in Maputo.According to the government spokesperson, Deputy Justice Minister Alberto Nkutumula, the project will reforest the area, manage the resources, and process and sell the teak (Tectona grandis). He pointed out that the project will also deal in the sale of the native species messassa (Brachystegia spiciformis).The project is backed by Swedish, Norwegian and North American investors who own 90 per cent of the company. Ten per cent of the company is owned by the Diocese of Niassa.Of the total amount to be invested, 71 million dollars will be spent on the plantation, 20.3 million dollars on the wood processing facilities and 10.1 million dollars on infrastructure.The investment will take place over a 12 year period, with spending in the first decade concentrated on planting trees. Marketing is expected to only begin after 12 years.It is planned that 70 per cent of the processed wood will be exported. It is forecast that annual revenue after 20 years will be 50 million dollars, rising to 112 million dollars after 35 years.The project will create 1,105 direct jobs, of which only five will be filled by foreigners. On top of this, three thousand seasonal jobs will be created.Other benefits include the building of social infrastructure such as boreholes, health posts, schools, improved access roads, support for the agricultural sector, and housing for workers.The Council of Ministers also approved a new regulation on the employment of foreign citizens in the petroleum and mining sectors, and ratified a credit agreement with the Export-Import Bank of India.The 13 million dollar loan from the Exim Bank will be used for financing the construction of a solar panel factory at the industrial park at Beluluane in Maputo province. The loan is based on concessional terms with repayments to be spread over 20 years with a five year grace period.


The port of Beira, in the central province of Sofala, is expecting to double the cargo it handles within the next four years.Last year, according to the daily newspaper “Noticias”, the port handled 1.29 million tonnes of cargo. In the first half of 2011 it has handled 720,000 tonnes and projections indicate that by the end of the year the total will reach 1.4 million tonnes. The port dealt with over 105,000 containers last year and more than 67,000 in the first half of 2011.These figures do not include coal from Moatize in the western province of Tete, which in September began being exported through a dedicated terminal. The port is expecting to handle over six million tonnes of coal per year.In July the authorities completed the emergency dredging of the port’s access channel. As a result, the port can now receive ships up to Panamax size (60,000 tonnes) 24 hours a day.According to a source in Cornelder Mocambique, which manages the port, after finishing the dredging the port managers designed a master plan to take into account the increased shipping capacity and the growth in cargo that will flow through the Sena and Machipanda railway lines.“Now we are planning to invest in a new dock, a fertilizer terminal, and sugar and tobacco warehouses (which are almost completed). We will separate cargo and container terminals, so that each has an independent access route to avoid congestion”, said the source.The source added that a public tender is to be launched soon for the acquisition of two container cranes, which are expected to be delivered by the end of 2012.Cornelder Mocambique is also working to attract cargo from the Democratic Republic of Congo and Zambia.

Thursday, October 6, 2011


The ruling Frelimo party has completed the list of its candidates who will contest by-elections scheduled for 7 December in the municipalities of Cuamba, Pemba and Quelimane, in Mozambique.This follows the nominations of Vicente Lourenco and Tagir Assamo Carimo, who will stand for the ruling Frelimo in the municipalities of Cuamba and Pemba, both in the northern provinces of Niassa and Cabo Delgado respectively.Lourenco Abubacar Bico, the third candidate, was nominated on Monday to contest in the municipality of Quelimane, capital city of the central province of Zambezia.Three by-elections have been triggered by the resignations of the mayors of Quelimane, Pemba and Cuamba (Pio Matos, Sidique Yacub and Arnaldo Maloa). They had been elected on the Frelimo ticket in 2008, and it has been reported that Frelimo, dissatisfied with their performance, requested their resignations (though the three men themselves cite personal reasons).In Cuamba, Vicente Lourenco will face Maria Moreno, candidate for Mozambique Democratic Movement (MDM), the second largest opposition party in the country. For his part, Tagir Carimo will face in Pemba the MDM candidate Assamo Tique.As for the city of Quelimane, the ruling Frelimo party candidate Lourenco Abubacar Bico, will contest the election with his rival from MDM, Manuel de Araujo. Afonso Dhlakama, leader of the largest opposition party Renamo, has announced that his party is boycotting the by-elections.Therefore, MDM candidates are likely to be the most serious opposition faced by the ruling Frelimo party, which holds a comfortable majority in the municipal assemblies in all three


Dutch Agriculture and Foreign Trade Minister, Henk Bleker, on Wednesday reiterated the support of his government to Mozambique by disbursing funds for country’s State Budget, and also by increasing the number of Dutch companies investing in the domestic market.Speaking to reporters shortly after visiting a small water supply system in the outlying neighbourhood of Albasini, in Maputo, Bleker pledged that his country would continue to disburse annually 15 million Euros to support Mozambique’s State Budget.The system is one part of a larger project, which includes 16 small water supply systems, developed in the district of Boane and in the cities of Maputo and Matola, co-funded by the European Investment Bank, European Union, the Netherlands through ORET programme, the French Development Agency and Government of Mozambique.The systems are fed by small boreholes with capacity ranging from 13 to 31 cubic meters per hour and will supply about 100,000 people, an investment worth about 4.1 million US dollars.Bleker, who was on a two-day visit to Mozambique, started on Tuesday, expressed his satisfaction with developments on the ground to provide water to residents in suburban areas.'Access to clean water is important for health and sanitation. Indeed, availability of water in homes impacts on communities’ economic development, because people no longer need to travel long distances in search of water and, therefore, devote most time to develop other important activities that may help to improve their lives,' he said. As for cooperation between both countries, Bleker said that 'we will continue the existing cooperation between the Netherlands and Mozambique. We will continue to disburse annually 15 million Euros for the State Budget”. “We also agreed with the government that Dutch private companies, in partnership with Mozambicans, would explore investment opportunities in Mozambique. Therefore, we will continue to support Mozambique not only with funding but also through the participation of Dutch companies, 'he added. The Minister took the opportunity to say that he hoped the Mozambican government would respect both foreign and private investors, particularly those from the Netherlands. In his visit to Mozambique, Bleker was accompanied by a delegation of businesspeople who have shown interest in the areas of water supply systems, water management, agriculture, among others.On Tuesday, Bleker and his delegation met Industry and Trade Minister, Armando Inroga, and a group of Mozambican business people, to explore investment opportunities in the country.


The Texas-based Anadarko Petroleum Corporation on Wednesday announced that it has found natural gas in “an excellent-quality reservoir” at the Camarao well in Offshore Area 1 of the Rovuma Basin.The company has therefore increased its estimated reserves in Offshore Area 1 to at least 10 trillion cubic feet of gas. In August the company announced that it had estimated reserves of 6 trillion cubic feet of gas.According to Anadarko’s vice-president, Bob Daniels, “our successful drilling programme in offshore Mozambique continues to expand the already world-class resource potential of this frontier basin”.He added that “we are optimistic that our current resource estimates will increase, as we still have significant exploration and appraisal work ahead of us”.Daniels pointed out that “we are mobilising a second deepwater drillship to the Rovuma Basin to accelerate the campaign, which includes an extensive reservoir testing program and up to seven exploration/appraisal wells over the next 12 months'.In August Anadarko awarded a contract to KBR to design a liquefied natural gas (LNG) plant for Mozambique, which will be used to assess whether a LNG facility would be viable.John Peffer, the Managing Director of Anadarko’s Mozambican operations, told AIM in June that he regards LNG as the only viable option. Only a LNG facility can provide the economies of scale that would make it economical to exploit gas fields that are under 1,500 metres of water and 40 kilometres out to sea.By the end of 2013, Anadarko investment in the Rovuma Basin will have reached three billion US dollars. If it goes ahead with the LNG plant, total investment could reach 18 billion dollars by 2018, the earliest feasible date for starting production.Anadarko is the operator of Offshore Area 1 and holds a 36.5 per cent share of the fields. Its co-owners are Mitsui of Japan (20 per cent), BPRL Ventures and Videocon (both of India, with 10 per cent each) and Cove Energy of Britain (8.5 per cent). The Mozambican government is represented by Empresa Nacional de Hidrocarbonetos which holds a 15 per cent interest in the fields.


Mozambique’s first lady, Maria da Luz Guebuza, is due to address the final review meeting of the “Vision 2010 Initiative”, currently under way in the Malian capital, Bamako.During the event Maria Guebuza will share Mozambique’s experiences and successes in the fight against maternal and neonatal mortality.Launched in 2001 in Bamako by a group of eight First Ladies from western and central Africa, Vision 2010 is an initiative aimed at reducing maternal and neonatal mortality in their countries by two thirds by 2010.The initiative, which now involves 15 First Ladies, will hear a detailed account from Maria Guebuza of the steps Mozambique is taking to reduce maternal and neonatal mortality.Maria Guebuza was invited to the meeting because of Mozambique’s success in improving the health care of women and children.Mouzinho Saide, National Director of Public Health at Mozambique’s Ministry of Health, pointed out that the meeting seeks to raise awareness among African leaders on matters related to maternal and neonatal care in the continent. In Mozambique, maternal mortality is still high, with 408 women per 100,000 live births dying due to complications during delivery. However, this is a considerable improvement compared with the 1990s when the maternal mortality rate was 1,600 per 100 000 live births. As for neonatal mortality, it fell from 59 per 1000 live births to 37 per thousand live births in 2008.The First Lady is leading an initiative to cut the number of babies that die within the first week of their life. This initiative covers several simultaneous actions, including the Presidential Women's Health and Children Initiative, which was launched in 2008 and seeks to raise the awareness of community and religious leaders, and to mobilise resources from the public and private sector.As a result, Saide believes that Mozambique is in a better position to reach the Millennium Development Goals (MDGs) by 2015.