UNIVERSITY OF PENNSYLVANIA - AFRICAN STUDIES CENTER
MOZAMBIQUE NEWS ONLINE/MOZAMBIQUE NEWS ONLINE/MOZAMBIQUE NEWS ONLINE
Edition #14 23 January 1998
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1998: BOOM YEAR FOR INVESTMENT IN MOZAMBIQUE?
Investment in Mozambique in 1997 exceeded the initial target of two billion US dollars and the prospects for 1998, to attract similar or increase the levels of investment obtained last year seem promising.
If government approves the new steel and iron foundry project, due to be built in the southern province of Maputo, the results this year are expected to be even higher. The director of the Mozambican Center of Investment Promotion, Dr. Fernando Sumbane said that if approved the project would create 7500 new jobs. The project is also expected to have an annual income of 750 million dollars from foundry production exports.
Two big international companies have confirmed that contacts are underway with creditorsaimed at raising funds for the plant's construction. They are the American company ENRON and the South African Industrial Development Corporation, IDC. These are the two important partners in the foundry project.
Sources from the companies have said that credit agencies and investors like DUFERCO STEEL COMPANY from Switzerland and the Japanese MITSUI CONSTRUCTION are just two of the companies interested in investing in the project.
Dr. Sumbane also said that there are more projects to be approved and implemented during1998, such as one for sugar where it is expected that more than 80 million dollars will be invested. "We are also involved in final discussions on the Maputo Development Corridor and we consider that it will be possible to obtain the planned funds," Sumbane said.
During the last 10 years, Portugal has held the investment lead in Mozambique. Now it is Africa's economic giant, South Africa, which occupies this position. The ascension of South Africa to this position became reality after the agreement on the construction of the aluminum foundry project, MOZAL, worth 1.3 billion dollars. Other projects approved in 1997 were the MONDI FOREST with 86 million and the Xinavane Sugar Company rehabilitation, worth 45 million dollars.
In the meantime, the Mozambican government intends to construct a titanium foundry in the city port of Nacala, in the northern province of Nampula. The foundry will process the heavy sands extracted from Muebase in Pebane, one of the Zambezia Province districts. The government has managed to attract the South African company GENCOR and the British BILLITON as investors in this project. The three have concluded the feasibility study for the 500 million dollars project. The Nacala foundry, when fully working, will employ 1500 people.
Last year, the government earned more than 210 million dollars with privatization and it is expected that this flow will continue in 1998. Fourteen companies are in the final phases of privatization and these will possibly be concluded during the first quarter of the year with another three expected to be finalized during the latter part of the year.
1. 'NO CHOLERA IN OUR FISH': MOZAMBIQUE REACTION TO EU BAN ON IMPORTS
The European Union has decided to ban fish imports from East African countries includingMozambique, due to the cholera epidemic that is affecting Mozambique, Kenya, Uganda and Tanzania.
The decision is seen as a hasty one by the World Health Organization. "It was a hasty decision because fishing and freezing fish on the high sea do not bring a high risk of contamination," said Maria Reina from the WHO.
Mozambican authorities are very concerned about the ban because the country stands to lose a quite substantial amount of money without its exports of fish and other seafood to such countries as Portugal and Spain.
Herminio Tambe, from the Department of Fisheries at the Ministry of Agriculture and Fisheries said he considered the EU decision "a very bad one and I would prefer thatauthorities do more accurate inspections at the delivery ports, rather than to ban our fish". "Mozambican fish don't have cholera; the EU decision is a groundless one. We havemade some tests here, and no cholera was found in our fish. Another lab analysis was made in Portugal and confirmed ours," said Dr. Avertino Barreto from the Ministry of Health.
2. TROPICAL STORM HITS MOZAMBIQUE
When experts started talking about the effects of El Nino on Mozambique they forecast droughts from October/November 1997.
But the rains came in October, exactly when they should: at the beginning of the raining season. However, El Nino is now affecting Mozambique with a mixture of very hot days and heavy rain all over the country.
Hundreds of people have been displaced, both in Beira and Nampula provinces, as a result of a tropical storm which started in the Mozambique Channel this week. The storm also affected the province of Cabo Delgado. During the storms two people were electrocuted in the city of Beira in Sofala Province and an unknown number of people were killed in Milange, Zambezia Province, when the Tumbine Mountain collapsed.
Several places in the four provinces have been turned into islands without electricity or communication with the outside world, with roads cut off by the floods that resulted from the storm.
Many farmers planted their crops in areas that easily flood because of the threat of the El Nino droughts and these areas are now totally under water.
2.bMAPUTO GETS FULL FORCE OF STORM
Maputo city is facinga serious situation after the heavy rains and storms of the past couple of weeks. Hundreds of families are living out of doors after their houses were demolished in the storms. Most of the families were living in houses built in an area of town that sprung up during the civil war. Now local authorities are providing new and more safe areas for building new houses.
However, the process is not yet properly organized because not everyone affected appears on the lists of persons affected by the disaster. "I'm living in the affected area, my house didn't collapse, but in the next rains it could collapse; what am I going to do," asked one citizen.
For most ofthe families, starting their lives in the new area is not easy. Most saw their belongings disappear in the floods and say money for furniture, clothing and food is not easy to find. "We are a family of six living in a tent from the government; they gave us only this place, the tent and the shadow from this big tree. How will we survive?" asked Jose Manuel, one of the affected flood victims.
Wells are being dug in the new settlement area to provide water but the health authorities say that the cholera epidemic could became worse in the coming days due to the rains. In fact, this week's figures of people admitted to the cholera sections in the Maputo hospitals has increased to 200 people with statistics showing that about 8 500 people have already been struck by cholera since the beginning of the epidemic.
3. MOZAMBICANS FACE HARDSHIP IN NEIGHBOURING COUNTRIES
The situation of Mozambican immigrants in neighbouring countries worsens daily. This week, two Mozambicans were beaten to death in South Africa and their bodies burnt, by a crowd in a Johannesburg township, because they were suspected of taking part in an armed assault. "We are concerned with this situation, and deputies of our parliament have already put theproblem to the government," said Dr. Leonardo Simao, Mozambique's Minister of Foreign Affairs.
Mr. Simao said that the problem, however, was a complex one." Economic migration affects all SADC countries. We ourselves have our own illegal immigrants from different parts ofAfrica." He also said that it was not possible to solve the problem through police action. "Development is the solution; if one's own country is developed, nobody will need to migrate."
4. LOCAL ELECTIONS HOT UP RENAMO/FRELIMO ANIMOSITY
The first national local elections scheduled for 28-30 May this year is already hotting up for the different participating parties.
Afonso Dlakama, Renamo's leader, has been saying that he is sure that his party will win the local elections. "If we don't win it will be clear that there is a fraud," said Dlakama. To sustain his declarations Dlakama said that during the electoral census Frelimo, through the Electoral Committee (STAE), used fraud in order to avoid the registration of thousands of voters for Renamo.
Renamo also accused Frelimo of trying to destroy Renamo's Protection Force, composed of 150 bodyguards, based in Maringwe, Dlakama's former stronghold. "Government wants my bodyguards integrated into the National Police. But at the same time, they are firing teachers and other professionals from government jobs, just because they are Renamo members," said Dlakama.
This declaration from the Renamo leader led to an embarrassing discussion through the media between Frelimo and Renamo. Manuel Tome, Frelimo's general secretary said that it was not true that Renamo members were losing their jobs in the government departments challenging Dlakama to present real cases. Dlakama retorted by saying that he was not going to discuss the matter with 'young boys or babies'. Manuel Tome is 46 years old and not one of the old guard of Frelimo.
5. 'UNITY BRINGS STRENGTH': COALITIONS FOR THE MAY LOCAL ELECTIONS
Before the May local elections, most of the political parties in Mozambique seem to have heard about the saying: 'unity brings strength' because they all seem to be considering coalitions. The Renamo leader, Alfonso Dlakama, admitted to this very thing this week when he said that he had partners but he did not want to disclose the names because "I'm afraid Frelimo could corrupt them".
The idea is to join Renamo with Fumo (D. Arouca), Monamo (M. Dias) and PCN (L. Simango). Mr. Arouca of Fumo recently announced the coalition, which does not include Renamo. Dr. Arouca said his party accepted the idea of coalition because the other parties involved have the same political agenda. Another coalition may came from one already existing, that of Uniao Democratica UD with five parties not represented in parliament. The only opposition party not talking about coalition is Pademo of Wheia Ripoua. Ripoua, a man with his eye on the job of mayor of Maputo, put it this way: "Pademo has a coalition with the people".
6.CENTRAL BANK TAKES ON NEW TECHNOLOGY
The Central Bank of Mozambique (BM), is about to start modernization of its national financial system in order to face the introduction of new technologies in the country.
According to a spokesman at the 22nd consultative meeting of BM, the national financial market is entering a new and dynamic era with the privatization of some of the country's banks. "Sometimes such privatizations are made to favour institutions which have highly developed financial systems, " said Mr. Adelino Pimpao.
The Central Bank Governor, Adriano Maleane, at the opening of the consultative meeting, said that the financial systems on the African countries are very dynamic and that the role the Central Bank would play in this dynamic would be an important and necessary one.
7. FIFTY FAMILIES BENEFIT FROM HOUSING FUND
As a result of the Housing Promotion Fund, fifty families this week received their new homes. The houses have been build for people who signed up for the project and will pay for their houses, including the accrued interest, over a twenty-five year period. The houses will cost each family about $10,000.
"I'm very happy to receive my house via this system, because I could not build a good house like this on my own salary," said one of the beneficiaries to the scheme.
Mozambique has not previously had a project for social housing, this being the first one that has been provided with government support allowing loans to people to buy their own homes.
8. SCHOLARSHIPS FOR MAPUTO STREET CHILDREN
The Rotaract Club of Maputo has provided 21 scholarships to street children. The children to benefit from the initiative are from very poor families in one of the Maputo neighbourhoods.
Some of the parents who went to witness their children's registration at the Communitarian School expressed their happiness and the sentiment that their children not previously having had the opportunity to go to school was not by choice but due to lack of money.
The Communitarian School charges a monthly fee of 50 000Mt, too much for most families with a breadwinner only earning a minimum wage of 300 000mt.
From: AfricaNN@inform-bbs.dk (Africa_news Network), AfricaNN@inform-bbs.dk Date: Sat, 24 Jan 1998 07:45:52 +0100 Subject: MOZAMBIQUE NEWS ONLINE #14 Message-ID: <firstname.lastname@example.org>
Editor: Ali B. Ali-Dinar
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