Friday, February 24, 2017

Amnesty International Annual Report

Resultado de imagem para Segurança moçambiqueThe  Amnesty International report on Mozambique has denounced death squads, the repression of demonstrations and inability of the Mozambican police to solve crimes, and says members of Mozambique’s Defence and Security Forces and the opposition Renamo party committed human rights abuses, including killings, torture and other ill-treatment, without any accountability.The Amnesty International 2016/2017 report on human rights was released on Tuesday 21 February, and recalls the flight of thousands of people into Malawi, adding that “people expressing dissent or criticizing human rights violations, political and military instability or the country’s hidden debts faced attacks and intimidation”.The violations included “extrajudicial executions, torture and other ill-treatment, arbitrary detention and destruction of property”, adding that “there continues to be impunity for such crimes”.
Police incapacity
Resultado de imagem para Segurança moçambiqueThe report lists a number of crimes attributed to members of the Defence and Security Forces and Renamo, for which no-one has ever been brought to justice.Among the cases cited are the murder of Jeremias Pondeca, a member of the Renamo mediation group in the peace agreement process, “by unidentified men believed to be members of a death squad composed of security agents. Those suspected of criminal responsibility for the attack had not been identified at the end of the year”.Renamo members and supporters, according to Amnesty, “plundered health facilities and carried out attacks on roads and police stations, resulting in a high number of victims among the civilian population, as well as attacking the police and armed forces”.In the human rights organization’s view, “the Government has failed to investigate and prosecute crimes against the general population committed by members and supporters of Renamo”.
Mass graves
Resultado de imagem para santungiraIn May, local and international media and civil society organizations announced the discovery of unidentified bodies in a grave in the Gorongosa region, but an investigation started in June failed to identify either the bodies or the suspects.The organization cites a United Nations analysis of human rights in Mozambique, with the government of Filipe Nyusi accepting 180 recommendations and rejecting 30 of them.“Among the rejected proposals were recommendations on ratification of the International Convention against Forced Disappearance and the Rome Statute of the ICC, as well as on freedom of expression and corporate responsibility,” Amnesty notes.
Death squads
Resultado de imagem para refugiados malawi
Resultado de imagem para refugiados malawiThat the flight of about 10,000 Mozambicans to Malawi verified by the UN High Commissioner for Refugees was not acknowledged by the Maputo government is also mentioned in the report.In the human rights chapter, Amnesty denounces “intimidation and attacks on people who express dissenting or critical opinions, including journalists and human rights defenders”.As an example, the report refers to the kidnapping of political commentator and university professor José Jaime Macuane “by unidentified men believed to be members of a death squad composed of security agents”.Amnesty International also points out that the police thretened to crack down on a planned demonstration at the end of April 2016, while in May “political parties without parliamentary representation and civil society organizations called for a peaceful demonstration to protest against the country’s hidden debts and political and military instability”, but the “Maputo City Council refused to allow the protest”.

Maputo silence on Portuguese

Portugal’s President Marcelo Rebelo de Sousa has repeated his enquiries into the case of the Portuguese citizen missing for months in Mozambique, this time in writing, reports Portuguese newspaper Público. To the disbelief of many, this has not changed the attitude of the Mozambican authorities, the same source adds.
Resultado de imagem para nyuse  rebelo de sousaDespite the special relationship between Marcelo Rebelo de Sousa and Mozambique, his counterpart Filipe Nyusi has not deigned to respond to the Portuguese president.
For months, Portugal has been asking Maputo for information about the Portuguese citizen kidnapped in Mozambique last summer, but the only response it has obtained so far has been silence.In the face of the long and unusual silence of the Mozambican authorities, President Marcelo Rebelo de Sousa sent a letter two weeks ago to his counterpart, President Filipe Nyusi, to press Maputo and, once again, to request information about the missing man, an agricultural entrepreneur who has worked for years in Beira, in the center of the country.To the astonishment of diplomats and politicians following the case, President Nyusi has yet to respond to the letter from the Portuguese head of state – more than two weeks after it was sent.At the request of the family of the missing businessman, the case has been handled in secrecy and with great discretion. But after seven months without information, without answers, with no signs of an ongoing investigation or even the diplomatic courtesy of a response to the Lisbon requests, there is clear of a development on the Portuguese side: what began as discomfort and disillusion is giving way to disbelief and disquiet.The Portuguese contacts have been made at the highest level: the office of the Prime Minister, the Ministry of Foreign Affairs, the Attorney General’s Office and the Belém presidential palace have all made formal and informal contacts, both in writing and by telephone, direct and indirect. The result has been the same throughout: “Nothing at all,” a source close to the matter says.
Resultado de imagem para antonio costaPrime Minister António Costa has spoken with his counterpart Agostinho do Rosário about the case a few times and, at the end of last year, even offered the cooperation of the Portuguese Judicial Police in the investigation of the mysterious disappearance. But this proposal also fell on deaf eats. 
Resultado de imagem para agostinho do rosario
“There is no sign of life, there is no body, there is no openness to investigate,” another source who has followed the case for months complains.This silence is not only unusual in relations between friendly countries; as it is seen as particular odd since Mozambique was the destination for Marcelo Rebelo de Sousa’s first state visit in May, two months after taking office. In addition, Filipe Nyusi was one of the few heads of state that Marcelo invited to his investiture. Everyone still remembers the photographs taken that day on the balcony of the Belém Palace: the king of Spain, the former Brazilian president Fernando Henrique Cardoso and, at the center, smiling, President Nyusi. Marcelo’s relationship with Mozambique is special even at a private level. “It was the best period in the political life” of his father, Baltazar Rebelo de Sousa, Governor of Mozambique during the Estado Novo, the president wrote in a book he published a few years ago.Contacted on Friday morning and again on Saturday, the Mozambican ambassador to Portugal did not respond to Público’s request to comment on the issue. The Portuguese Foreign Minister, Augusto Santos Silva, made a brief statement to Publico: “There are cases in which families prefer that official exchanges be carried out discreetly and not publicly. This is one such case, and I will, of course, respect that wish. So I have nothing else to say.”
Resultado de imagem para gorongosa mapaInside and outside the ministry, however, speculation about the reason for Mozambique’s silence is deepening. One of the most plausible scenarios is Maputo wanting to protect someone at the top of its own hierarchy, in the police or the administration itself. “In Mozambique, there are no decisions taken at the intermediate level,” a deep knowledge of the country’s suggests. “It’s all at the top level.”The kidnapping of the Portuguese businessman, at the end of July 2016, is unusual in a variety of ways and does not follow the classic pattern. There was a first contact by the kidnappers but there was never a request for a ransom (as a rule, this happens in the first 48 hours, at most 72 hours after the disappearance of the victim), and the abduction did not occur in Maputo, but in Gorongoza, where Renamo has its bases.

There have been abductions in Mozambique for years and direct links between the kidnappers’ networks and the Mozambican police have been known for years. Between 2001 and 2013, there were more than 60 abductions in the country, but it was from 2011 that the problem intensified. At the end of 2013 alone, there were there 30 kidnappings in six weeks. At that time, a Maputo court sentenced three policemen to 16 years in prison for involvement in abductions, and shortly afterwards two more police officers were arrested on suspicion of the same crime. “There are police officers in court because of involvement in the kidnappings, but it’s always the small fry,” says a Portuguese businessman. “There are cases where people are kidnapped by the police and released by the police and it is clear that it is all the same people.”

French confidence still high in Mozambique

Resultado de imagem para Bruno Clerc“We’re starting to see a few positive signs,” French ambassador to Mozambique Bruno Clerc noted at a cocktail dinner held yesterday at the Résidence de France and organized by the European Business Club (EBC) in Maputo. The diplomat said that he felt somewhat “reassured” by recent measures taken by the Mozambican authorities to curb the current economic and financial crisis that has been stifling the country for almost two years.Mozambique’s economic growth slowed to 3.3 percent in 2016 (a 15-year low) after growing more than 6.5 percent the previous year. Its currency, the metical, has lost more than 140 percent of its value against the dollar since October 2014. The government said last month that it would unable to honor its commitments to repay bondholders following a scandal over undisclosed debts of more than US$2 billion not approved by parliament.
Last December, the central bank of Mozambique decided to increase its main benchmark interest rates by 150 basis points to 9.75 percent, in order to offer the metical some support. It also introduced a new interest rate for the interbank money market, with effect from 15 April, called the monetary policy rate. “It is still too early to appreciate the impact that those measures will have on the Mozambican economy in 2017”, Clerc said in an exclusive interview for Club of Mozambique. “However we are confident that 2018 will show some tangible signs of recovery.”In its most recent forecasts, the Economist Intelligence Unit (EIU) expects significant private investments in the construction and services sectors from 2018 on, while mega gas projects in the northern part of the country are expected to start next year. Economists anticipate that Mozambique will grow at an average rate of 5.1 percent between 2018 and 2021, a number still below the 7.5 percent recorded between 2005 and 2015.
Resultado de imagem para rating on Mozambique’sAfter having maintained its SD (Selective Default) rating on Mozambique’s currency, S&P Global Ratings explains that the development of large coal and natural gas fields will be key for medium-term economic growth. “Much of the rail track to new coal deposits has been laid (previously a key constraint to exports), which should support higher coal production over 2017-2020, provided international prices do not fall steeply,” the rating agency wrote in a report published two weeks ago.However, French interests in Mozambique go beyond the mere commodity sector. Testing, inspection and certification specialist Bureau Veritas has a strong presence in Mozambique – in seven locations, according to the Mining Review, while Seagram’s gin, Havana Club rum and Chivas Regal Scotch producer Pernod Ricard established itself here in 2015, the same year the multinational banking and financial services company Société Générale opened an office in Maputo.France-Mozambique Business Club’s (FBC) General Manager Audrey Gortana Vallet notes that about a hundred French companies and subsidiaries are currently operating in Mozambique, employing a significant number of employees. “Around 10,000”, Vallet says. “These companies operate in the transport, logistics, energy, construction, services, electrical equipment and primary sectors,” the FBC chairwoman adds.
The FBC was founded in 2015 and offers various services to French companies already established in Mozambique as well as to those eager to expand into this southern African market. It was recently appointed to the rotating presidency of the EBC for 2017, and Vallet will now succeed Club of Mozambique’s president and Swiss investor Adrian Frey as chairman of the EBC.There is still plenty of room left for French companies, as the French presence in Mozambique remains very low compared, for example, to the Portuguese’s. “There are only 743 French citizens living in Mozambique,” confirms Yanis Bouchard Pereira, Economic Cooperation Officer at the Club Export Reunion and member of the French-Mozambique Club, who also attended the cocktail dinner.
Resultado de imagem para Yanis Bouchard PereiraAsked what the main benefits that French businesses could offer Mozambique were, Clerc stressed technological transfer. “Offering professional and technical training for local employees, thus promoting the emergence of new skills, is at the core of French investment philosophy,” he says.While this may translate into higher prices for the services and goods provided by those companies such an approach is far more beneficial for the country in the long term. A training program in the field of labor inspection in the mining sector, which will provide increased safety for Mozambican workers, is currently taking place with French assistance.Launched in 2015, the EBC is a joint initiative of the European business chambers to promote business and investments in Mozambique. Its members consist of business clubs and economic and trade offices from various embassies, including Switzerland, Italy, Germany, Netherlands, Finland, Spain, Portugal and United Kingdom.
Representing about 600 European companies, the EBC aims to extend the local business network, not only with the objective of helping those intent on establishing their own businesses, but also with that of partnering with existing local operators. The mutual interactions of its members form a communication platform through which they can develop collective responses to various challenges.
The platform is also the main communication medium between EBC representatives and the Mozambican government. The FBC’s new chairman will address the task of organizing all the EBC held during her mandate. “While it is true that members may be competitors, the EBC allows them to join forces on common projects, where each is complementary to the other,” the French ambassador explains. “As such, the club creates a win-win situation for all participants.”The cocktail dinner was sponsored by international audit and consulting group Mazars, the global logistical leader DHL, Société Générale and Pernod Ricard among others. All participants at the evening contributed to a fundraising program in support of two charity projects: the ‘Wamina Girl” project, which helps young Mozambican girls in the management of their menstrual cycle, and non-governmental organization ASAS’s Alulamile Orphanage project, which finances the construction of bathrooms and toilets.

Facilitates granting of visas

The government of Mozambique has approved a regulation to facilitate the granting of entry visas to foreign nationals engaged in investment activities, thus contributing to improving the business climate, the deputy minister of Culture and Tourism said on Tuesday in Maputo.
Resultado de imagem para matemoQuoted by Mozambican news agency AIM, Ana Comoana said the approved document reduces the minimum amount to grant the Investment Activity visa from US50 million to US$500,000.“If the amount required is high there will be few people who will invest in Mozambique but if it is smaller it is likely that in return the number of investors will increase,” she said. Comoana said after the meeting of the Council of Ministers that the regulations also intend to facilitate the movement of foreign tourists in the country, using the border visa, valid for 30 days with the right to two entries.The deputy minister of Culture and Tourism said that to date the border visa was reserved for natural foreign citizens of a country that did not have diplomatic representation in Mozambique.The approved regulation makes it possible to “stimulate tourism to Mozambique and as a result, also encourages investment in the tourism sector, which will have to respond to this increase in visits,” she said, cited by news agency AIM.The deputy minister of Culture and Tourism said that 1.6 million tourists are expected to visit Mozambique in 2017.

Economic Freedom Index alongside all Portuguese

With the exception of Guinea-Bissau, which rose 26 positions to 119th place in a ranking of about 180 economies analysed, all Portuguese-speaking countries slid downwards in the 2017 Economic Freedom Index.This year’s ranking establishes the following hierarchy in the Portuguese-speaking world: Cape Verde (116th), Guinea-Bissau (119th), Sao Tome and Principe (124th), Brazil (140th), Mozambique (158th), Angola (165th) and East Timor (173rd).
Resultado de imagem para mapa mundop luso
Portugal dropped 13 places to 77th place. Macao, where Portuguese is one of the official languages, along with Chinese, achieved the best ranking among Portuguese-speaking territories at 32nd, an improvement over its 37th place in 2016. Macao has an assessment of 70.7 in the degree of economic freedom, better than the world average of 60.9 points. Index of Economic Freedom classifies countries in five categories: “free” (80 to 100 points), “mostly free” (70 to 79.9), “moderately free” (60 to 69.9), “mostly unfree” (50 to 59.9) and “repressed” (40 to 49.9).
Most Portuguese-speaking countries – Cape Verde, Guinea Bissau, Sao Tome and Principe and Brazil – are classified “mostly unfree”, while Mozambique, Angola and Timor-Leste are listed as “repressed.”Despite Guinea-Bissau’s rise in the ranking from 145th (2016) to 119th position, the Economic Freedom Index 2017 states that “limited attempts at structural reform have led to unbalanced progress in economic development”, and says the dynamism of the private sector remains constrained.Cape Verde – with 56.9 points, 9.6 lower than in 2016 – registered the biggest decline among Portuguese-speaking countries, slipping from 57th to 116th place in the classification.“Cape Verde has benefited from the maintenance of moderate monetary stability and a relatively high market opening that has facilitated external trade and investment,” says the report, which also notes the benefits to the economy of a “sound and transparent legal framework”.However, “Cape Verde’s institutional strong points, including judicial independence and government transparency, are not accompanied by a commitment to sound management of public finances,” the report qualifies.“With public debt reaching 100 percent or more of GDP, reducing the chronic deficit needs to be the priority” in Cape Verde, it adds.Brazil has fallen from 122nd position (2016) to 140th. “The political crisis, coupled with declining prices, has contributed to a strong contraction in the economy that has affected consumer and investor confidence,” the Heritage Foundation report says.It adds that “the fiscal sector has been seriously compromised” by a combination of factors such as “high inflation, political paralysis and increased budget deficits that have increased the burden of public debt”.
Resultado de imagem para mapa mundop lusoIn Mozambique ( a 3.3 drop against last year), the report notes that “reforms to encourage development” have been undertaken, “although progress has been very gradual”, and remarks that “private sector involvement in the economy is substantial, but privatization of state-owned enterprises has slowed down”.In Angola, “natural wealth has helped attract foreign direct investment and facilitate a decade of remarkable economic growth,” the Economic Freedom Index says. “But the economy has recently suffered a major structural shock as a result of falling oil prices, and oil revenues are uncertain,” the document adds, noting that “monopolies and quasi-monopolies continue to dominate the main sectors”.With 46.3 points, Timor-Leste maintained its worst ranking among Portuguese-speaking countries (173rd), down six positions compared to last year (167th).The report points out that, despite “progress in stability since independence in 2002, structural and institutional weaknesses continue to constrain East Timor’s economic freedom” and that “political instability continues to hamper lasting economic development”.Behind Timor-Leste come only Equatorial Guinea (174th), Zimbabwe (175th), Eritrea (176th), Republic of Congo (177th), Cuba (178th), Venezuela (179th) and North Korea (180th).

Nyusi launches integrated rural development

Foto de Filipe Nyusi.Mozambican President Filipe Nyusi declared on Friday that “Sustenta” (Sustain”), the government’s integrated agriculture and natural resource project, is unequivocal proof that rural development is at the centre of the government’s activity.Speaking in Ribaue district, in the northern province of Nampula, at the official launch of “Sustenta”, Nyusi stressed that his government is committed to creating equal opportunities for all Mozambicans.Budgeted at the equivalent of 231 million US dollars, “Sustenta” is financed by the World Bank.“Our common dream of gradually creating equal opportunities for all Mozambicans is becoming a reality”, said the President. “We are placing the rural areas as the starting point and the destination for the development of all of Mozambique”.He stressed that change produces results which are only consolidated over time. “Today we are facing a change in the way we look at rural development, introducing an integrated model which brings together peasant farmers, the private sector and the banks”, said Nyusi.“Starting from the rural areas we want to produce commercial farmers for Mozambique – those who are going to develop our country. We want to create a middle class based on the countryside”, he added.
Resultado de imagem para zambezia nampulaResultado de imagem para projecto sustentaNyusi said “Sustenta” does not replace existing programmes such as the District Development Fund (FDD), or the National Agricultural Development Programme (ProAgri). “Sustenta” was being created “to strengthen the will to speed up rural development”.

One of the specificities of the new project is the access to financial services that will be granted to peasant farmers, small scale emerging commercial farmers and small and medium agricultural companies.Nyusi said that access to finance is a fundamental factor for development. “Naturally the criteria will be well established and strictly applied”, he promised.The World Bank Director for Mozambique, Mark Lundell, said the Bank has followed the experiences of other countries who have managed to improve the living conditions of the rural population through good management of natural resources.The dream of reducing rural poverty and improving the environment can only be achieved by the government adopting a coherent and long term strategy, he added.“This transformation cannot be achieved from one day to the next”, said Lundell. “But counties such as Brazil and China show that it is possible”.“Sustenta” will have a direct impact on the lives of over 125,000 rural households (over 700,000 people) who rely on agriculture for their livelihoods. “It’s still not very much, but we have to start somewhere”, said Nyusi.

Temane–Maputo power line close to becoming reality

Imagem relacionadaGiven that the technical, economic and environmental studies of the projects have been completed, strategic partners such as EDM, HCB, SASOL, ENH, INP and financial institutions led by the World Bank and the African Development Bank will meet in Maputo today and tomorrow to discuss aspects related to the structuring of the project to produce electricity from natural gas in Temane, Inhambane province, known as the Temane 400 MW Project, and the associated high voltage power transmission line.In January 2016, the government of Mozambique allocated natural gas for the development of the Temane thermal power station project. The meeting will discuss the development of the initiative, evaluate possible financing, analyze the final design of the project, note risk areas for possible mitigation strategies and define an action plan for the structuring until funding is closed.Sitting at the table will be the key players in the development of the initiative: Electricidade de Moçambique, Cahora Bassa Hydroelectric, the National Hydrocarbons Company, Sasol, the National Petroleum Institute and representatives of the World Bank, African Development Bank, Norway, the German bank KFW, and French agencies AFD and Japan’s JICA.According to the agenda, the meeting will be opened by the Minister of Mineral Resources and Energy, Dr. Leticia Klemens, while the Chairman of the Board of EDM, Dr. Mateus Magala, will chair it.The 400 MW project will play a decisive role in the security of electricity supply in the country and the consolidation of exports in the region.

Police expel 796 illegal miners

The Mozambican police have removed 796 illegal miners from the Namanhumbir area, in the northern province of Cabo Delgado, reports Friday’s issue of the Maputo daily “Noticias”.Namanhumbir is the site of major deposits of rubies and other precious stones. It is estimated to hold 40 per cent of the world’s rubies. The ruby concession covers 33,600 hectares, and is operated by Montepuez Ruby Mining (MRM), which holds a 25 year mining licence granted by the Mozambican government. MRM is a partnership between the British company Gemfields (with a 75 per cent stake), and the Mozambican company Mwiriti.
Resultado de imagem para namanhumbir mozambique
Ever since the deposit was discovered in 2009, illegal miners have descended on Montepuez, not only from other parts of Mozambique, but from the rest of Africa.According to the head of the department for the protection of natural resources and the environment, in the Cabo Delgado police command, Abdul Chaguro, of the 796 illegal miners removed from Namanhumbir, 205 are natives of Montepuez district, while 346 came from elsewhere in Mozambique, and have been sent back to their provinces of origin.
The rest were foreigners. Chaguro said 169 were Tanzanians, while the others came from Guinea-Conakry, Mali, Rwanda, the Democratic Republic of Congo, Senegal, Somalia and Thailand. There was even one Belgian among those detained.
He told reporters that some of the Tanzanians have already been repatriated, and preparations are under way to deport the other foreigners. Some of the foreigners had entry visas, but in some cases these had expired. Some had residence permits – but which allowed them to live in a different area. Most of the Tanzanians, however, had no documents at all.Chaguro said there was one case in which a policeman was accused of seizing goods belonging to a miner: these were returned to their rightful owner. Two members of the local community police council were detained for trying to steal chairs and a generator from the tent of another foreigner.

Chaguro said the miners had been given a deadline to leave Namanhumbir voluntarily, and the police only moved in after they ignored the deadline. No-one was killed or injured in the police operation.He promised that, in the near future, the crackdown against illegal mining will be expanded to other areas of the country.

Forjaz exhibition at Camões

Resultado de imagem para José Manuel Forjaz maputoAn exhibition called ‘Projects on Paper – Unbuilt Works’ by architect José Manuel Forjaz and his team opens at the Camões Portuguese Cultural Center in Maputo on February 22, and will showcase forty unbuilt projects.Covering a 50-year time-frame, Projects on Paper begins with work conceived for the Agricultural Cooperative at Granja de Mourão (Alentejo, Portugal, 1961/62) and ends with the National Gallery of Arts (Maputo, 2015), revealing for the first time projects designed for various locations in countries from Mozambique to Portugal and from Angola to Japan, among others. The 40 projects are grouped into four themes: plans, squares and monuments; public equipment; residential architecture and competitions. “We have produced hundreds of projects and we have always tried to commit to them an equal degree of interest, effort, pains-taking and commitment. (…) As a whole [the unbuilt projects] represent a significant proportion of all the work done and, in many cases, have a unique and particular value in the sense that they reflect the search for new technical, spatial or formal solutions.“We believe that, by showing them, these projects can have some educational value in what they reflect and how they demonstrate the effort of a work team and a life dedicated to architecture.
”Projects on Paper is part of the ‘Thinking the City’ curatorial line developed by the Camões Portuguese Cultural Center in Maputo, where the exhibition ‘Oscilações’ by the Portuguese architect Eduardo Souto de Moura was presented in Maputo in September 2015 and, in November 2014, the photography exhibition ‘Interior Landscapes’ by Filipe Branquinho.In the year in which Maputo celebrates its 130th anniversary and the Eduardo Mondlane University’s Faculty of Architecture and Physical Planning its 30th, ‘Projectos em Papel’ is also an invitation to reflect on the space we live in and what we anticipate for the future, an open discussion on which is planned for March.The exhibition Projects on Paper has a Portuguese/English catalog with texts by João Paulo Borges Coelho and António Cabrita and graphic design by Anima Studio.The exhibition will be shown at the Camões Center in Maputo between February 22 and March 24. It will then move to the Camões Center Beira from April 26 to June 2. The exhibition is supported by BCI, Kioske Digital and Tropigália.