Mozambique News Agency


No.277, 7th June 2004


Contents


Anibalzinho recaptured in Canada

The fugitive murderer Anibal dos Santos Junior ("Anibalzinho") has been re-arrested in Canada, and efforts are underway to repatriate him to Mozambique, where he was imprisoned for the killing of the country's top investigative journalist, Carlos Cardoso, on 22 November 2000.

Anibalzinho had been serving a prison sentence of 28 and a half years for that crime, but mysteriously disappeared from the Maputo top security prison on 9 May. Although the general commander of the Mozambican police, Miguel dos Santos, confidently told reporters that the fugitive was still somewhere inside Mozambique, Anibalzinho was caught by the Canadian police on 24 May at Toronto International Airport.

The Mozambican government is seeking his extradition - but there is no extradition treaty between Mozambique and Canada. In a further complication, Anibalzinho has applied for refugee status. Since a Canadian judge must look at this application, it seems likely to delay Anibalzinho's extradition back to Mozambique.

Meanwhile another of Cardoso's murderers is being sued for a debt of 500 million meticais ($210,000). Momade Assife Abdul Satar ("Nini") is said to have borrowed this sum from businessman Jose Apolinario last year. At the time both men were incarcerated in the top security jail - Satar serving his 24 year sentence for the murder of Cardoso, and Apolinario awaiting trial for trafficking in luxury cars (he was later acquitted).

Satar told Apolinario he needed the money to pay for unexplained "expenses" he was incurring in the jail. Although he knew he was dealing with a convicted murderer, and although Satar's entire record is such as to make any honest businessman shun any dealings with him, Apolinario lent him the money.

When the time came for repayment, one of Satar's sisters, Rachida, gave Apolinario a cheque for 500 million meticais. But it bounced, and so Apolinario made a complaint to the Criminal Investigation Police (PIC).

"I've tried to contact Nini several times through intermediaries, but he won't pay any attention to me. I need the money he borrowed", Apolinario told the newspaper "Zambeze".

When the paper contacted Rachida Satar, she said the debt had already been paid off. She would give no details, on the grounds that these were "private matters". "It's a matter between my brother, myself and Apolinario, and we've already reached an understanding, so I have nothing more to tell you", she said.


BHP-Billiton support for malaria initiative

The giant metals company BHP-Billiton, the major shareholder in the MOZAL aluminium smelter on the outskirts of Maputo, on 2 June pledged $750,000 to the Medicines for Malaria Venture (MMV), to continue efforts to develop new anti-malarial drugs.

The Chief Executive Office of the Swiss-based MMV, Chris Hentschel, said that BHP-Billiton was only the second major company to grant financial support - the first was the oil corporation Exxon-Mobil.

The purpose of the MMV is to develop new affordable drugs, particularly to protect children from the scourge of malaria. The best-known anti-malarials, such as chloroquine are increasingly ineffective because of widespread resistance by the malaria parasite. Yet for decades the major pharmaceutical companies have done little or no research into anti-malarial drugs. In 30 years, MMV, points out, "only three anti-malarials were developed, and they were all prophylactics designed for the military and the wealthy traveller, not the rural poor".

"MMV was established in response to the failure of the market system to provide the required incentives for malaria research and development", said the MMV release.

Apart from the human cost, malaria is estimated to cost African economies more than $12 billion in lost GDP every year, and developing countries are spending up to 40% of their public health budget on malaria.

Hentschel said that MMV is now participating in 21 projects - some advanced enough to run clinical trials, others at much earlier stages. He doubted that any new anti-malarial would be available until at least 2007.

The cost for malarial treatment with the most effective of the current drugs, Artemisinin, is $2.4 per person, said Hentschel. MMV hoped that its research will lead to a drug whereby a course of anti-malaria will cost at most one dollar.

BHP-Billiton spokesman Andrew van den Bergh stressed that malaria is a company concern because of the impact it had on absenteeism and low productivity. "Malaria is a key obstacle to economic development", he declared. He continued that "Success is more than just profit. Success is when your community gives you a licence to operate". In Mozambican that meant addressing problems such as malaria.

Van den Bergh said that MOZAL has run an extremely successful anti-malarial campaign - resulting in a 73 percent decline in malaria, with fatalities dropping by 88 percent.


President Chissano stresses business partnership

The business community has "a critical role to play" in the African development agenda, President Joaquim Chissano declared on 2 June. Speaking at the first plenary session of the African Economic Summit in Maputo, he said that, "by entering into partnerships with governments, businesses can contribute to efforts towards poverty alleviation and the promotion of social and economic well-being".

"The energy and ingenuity that drive business can bring added and desired synergies to the daunting tasks undertaken by governments to promote sustained development", he added.

The responsibility of African governments, he argued, was "to build the necessary institutional capacity to enable Africa to respond to present challenges in an effective, efficient and coordinated way". President Chissano listed those challenges as unemployment, poverty, good governance, peace and stability, sound economic management, and the spread of endemic diseases such as AIDS, malaria and tuberculosis.

Turning to Mozambique's transition from war to peace, President Chissano said "we solved the conflict through dialogue, introducing democratic forms of government, and promoting a culture of peace, reconciliation, forgiveness and tolerance".

Peace brought the stability that allowed Mozambique "to resume our development plans", the President said. "The desirable development interventions are those that aim at helping people realise their human potential and reduce insecurity. They are those that increase opportunities and guarantee that the benefits enjoyed by the current generation are sustained. We believe this is the most efficient way to fight poverty".

The challenge at the core of the government's programme, President Chissano believed was "how to sustain broad-based, private sector-led growth, while ensuring that its benefits reach the poor".

"Private sector investment will need to stimulate rural development and increase employment opportunities throughout the country", he said. "This requires maintaining prudent economic management, strengthening the financial sector, building and maintaining key infrastructure, and improving the legal and regulatory framework, which is supportive of private sector development, through increased decentralisation and improved capacity." Sustained efforts were also needed on the social side "to ensure the people's access to basic health and education services".

He added that, since 80 percent of the labour force works in agriculture, forestry and fishing, an effective poverty reduction strategy "must focus on increasing agricultural incomes, particularly in the short term. But in the medium to long term, it was industrial development that would be crucial. Mozambique could not limit itself to producing primary products. Manufacturing was key - but "it cannot be limited to highly capital-intensive enclave activities, which create few jobs and benefit few people".

President Chissano insisted that "fostering labour-intensive manufactured exports is a key element in Mozambique's growth and poverty reduction strategy".

Norway demands donor reform

Speaking at the final session of the summit on 4 June , Norway's Minister of International Development, Hilde Johnson, stated that it is not only African governments that need to reform - so do donors. She warned against forms of "aid" that merely create jobs for Europeans, and even attacked what she called "the donor circus".

Johnson stated that the way in which donor countries and agencies deluged African governments with different tender requirements, demands for reports, and constant visits by delegations, was "a catastrophe". She gave the example that a few years ago the Tanzanian Finance Ministry faced demands for 10,000 separate reports a year, and there were visits by 2,000 missions a year.

Johnson said that Norway and "like-minded donors" were trying to cut through all of this, and provide aid in a more rational way. These donors were reaching agreement on more harmonised methods of working, yet there was still no agreement on a standardised tender procedure.

15 donors were now working together in Mozambique, she said, and there were similar advances in Tanzania and Zambia. But the donors should not try to take over the development process. "We need ownership and leadership from national governments", Johnson stressed.

Her agenda for reform also included reforming international finance institutions, and a fairer trade systems Within Africa, she urged, governments should "keep their own house in order", through legal reform and anti-corruption measures. African governments should not abdicate from their role as regulators. In essential services, they had an important role to play in pricing, she said, so that such services benefit the poor.

Host President Joaquim Chissano backed Johnson up, and joked that she had made his speech for him. But asked about the lessons that could be learnt from Mozambique's success, he warned against any generalisations. Mozambique had started "from a very specific situation", he said, and he did not believe that other countries could necessarily learn from what had happened in Mozambique.

The world had "admired our capacity to change", he said - but what had driven his government forward was a desire to improve the living standards of ordinary Mozambicans. "Our policies are people-oriented", he stressed. "We take our inspiration from the people". Behind the government's actions lay the objective "of uplifting the living standards of the people".

Presentations had been made on various sectors - energy, infrastructure, transport - but "the challenge is to have people working together in coordination", said President Chissano. "It's a challenge about how everything fits together. Leadership is about bringing together all these aspects".

The three-day summit, organised by the Swiss-based World Economic Forum, was attended by 700 participants from 48 countries.


Luabo sugar factory may reopen

The Luabo sugar mill, in the central province of Zambezia, may be rehabilitated soon, pending on the conclusion of negotiations between the governments of Mozambique and Mauritius, reports "Noticias" on 31 May.

Agriculture Minister Helder Muteia told reporters on 28 May that alongside the production of sugar, the Luabo complex will also produce rice and raise cattle. Speaking during the visit of Mauritius Prime Minister Paul Berenger to the Marromeu sugar factory, in Sofala province, Muteia said that after a number of studies, the Sena Company, which owns the Marromeu plant, is seriously considering rehabilitating the Luabo complex.

That work would include the complete refurbishment of all infrastructures, including houses and health units, at a cost of between $60 and $80 million.

The majority shareholders in the Sena company are Mauritian concerns, and they financed the rehabilitation of the Marromeu plantation and mill, at a cost of $130 million. Marromeu is currently the largest sugar factory in the country, and it is expected to produce about 90,000 tonnes of sugar this year.

Marromeu is on the south bank of the Zambezi river, and Luabo is on the north bank. Both factories were comprehensively sabotaged in attacks by the apartheid-backed Renamo rebels in the mid-1980s.

Speaking of the Buzi sugar mill, also in Sofala, Muteia said that an agreement has been reached between a Mozambican group and South African investors to set up a consortium to restore that unit. They are to meet with the government to establish a work plan and define priorities.

Over 17,000 employed in sugar sector

The four sugar factories currently operating in Mozambique are employing about 17,130 workers, 2,245 of whom are women, according to figures released by the National Sugar Directorate.

These figures include those directly employed at the mills, and those working for other companies related to the sector, who are involved in planting, cutting, and transporting the sugar cane. The National Sugar Directorate indicates that 65 per cent of this workforce are employed in the complexes of Marromeu (6,725 workers - 39 per cent), and Mafambisse (4,488 - 26 per cent), both in the central province of Sofala. The remaining 35 per cent are in the complexes of Xinavane and Maragra, in Maputo province.

The two Sofala mills are not reliant on independent suppliers of cane, but obtain all the cane they process from their own plantations.

This year's harvest and processing campaign, launched late last month, is expected to produce about 253,000 tonnes of sugar, which represents a 20 per cent increase over last year's figure. This growth is despite some setbacks in cane production in all complexes, either because the independent suppliers failed to meet the targets in planting, or because irregular rainfall led to lower production than expected.


President challenges private sector to use Temane gas

President Joaquim Chissano has challenged national and foreign business people to strive to identify and carry out projects using the natural gas from Temane, in the southern province of Inhambane. President Chissano was speaking as he and his South African counterpart Thabo Mbeki on 1 June inaugurated the gas treatment centre at Temane gas, and the pipeline that carries the natural gas to the Secunda petrochemical complex in South Africa.

President Chissano described the inauguration as a landmark in the victory of the peoples of Mozambique and South Africa in the fight against the now defunct apartheid regime in South Africa. The company that has built the treatment centre and pipeline, SASOL, is at the cutting edge of South African industry - but in the past it was an apartheid showpiece, with its oil- from-coal technology, used by the racist regime to circumvent sanctions.

President Chissano stated that "besides transforming a resource that has long lain idle into useful wealth, this infrastructure will encourage more investments in hydrocarbon prospection and research, because it will reduce significantly the marketing risk". He reiterated that this undertaking opens a new era in the country, that of the use of a national fuel, which could save millions of dollars and will render the country's industries more competitive.

The President said that the government wants to see Mozambicans use natural gas in their daily lives at work and at home, and use products made of this resource, or use natural gas in transport, as happens in other countries. The government has granted a concession for the supply of gas to the industrial city of Matola, and the building of a branch from the main pipeline, from the border town of Ressano Garcia to Matola, is due to start before the end of this year. This is to serve a number of industries in the Matola area, including the MOZAL aluminium smelter.

In partnership between the government and the private sector, Temane gas is already providing energy for the towns of Vilankulo, Inhassoro, and Nova Mambone, in Inhambane province, and Machanga, in Sofala. The electricity now used on the tourist islands of Bazaruto and Magaruque also comes from the Temane gas.

For his part, President Mbeki praised Mozambique's support in the fight against apartheid, and stressed that common development projects are the result of confidence in the future, a confidence built up during the anti-apartheid struggle. He said that this undertaking is an example for those who are sceptical about the better Africa, "in which we believe". "Things are changing for the better. A better Africa will happen", Mbeki said.

The inauguration ceremony was also attended by Swazi Prime Minister Absolom Dlamini, representing King Mswati III, and the Angolan government was represented by the country's deputy oil minister.


Arab Bank finances road sector

The Arab Bank for Development in Africa (BADEA) is to contribute $10.9 million to finance the rehabilitation of roads in Maputo city and the tarring of the road linking the administrative post of Chissano and the town of Chibuto, in the southern Gaza province. To that effect, the Mozambican government signed two agreements with BADEA in Maputo on 31 May.

The programme to rehabilitate the Maputo roads is budgeted at $20 million, $10 million being granted by BADEA, and the remainder by the Kuwait Fund.

The rest of the BADEA money is to be added to the $15.2 million already available to upgrade the Chissano-Chibuto road. This road was used as alternative to link the southern and northern regions of the country, following the floods that destroyed a long stretch of the main north-south highway in Gaza in 2000.

Under the terms of the agreements, signed by Prime Minister Luisa Diogo and BADEA general director Medhat Lotfy, the money will be made available after the ratification of the documents by the Mozambican government and the signed of contracts for the work.

Cooperation between Mozambique and BADEA dates back to the country's independence, in 1975, and covers areas such as infrastructures, agriculture, energy, and the country's Action Plan for the Reduction of Absolute Poverty (PARPA).


Tourism in Limpopo Park to start this year

The Tourism Ministry has pre-selected four tourism operators for the Limpopo National Park, in the southern province of Gaza, and soon will decide on the final winner, who should start working before the end of this year, reports "Noticias" on 24 May.

Tourism Minister Fernando Sumbana said that a final report on the selection of the company that will run the park is to be published soon. He said that launching tourism there will go in parallel with other activities, such as the completion of the necessary master plan and the resettling of peasant farmers who live in the Shinguedzi river basin.

About 2,000 wild animals have been introduced into the park from South Africa, as part of the restocking plan, and more are to be brought in during the winter season.

Sumbana said that his ministry will award the running of the park to the company offering most advantages in technical and financial terms. "What we are going to do is to work in a clearly identified area, so not to create any pressure, neither on the wild life nor on the local residents", he said.

He added that "the idea is to create routes so that some tourists may start visiting the area and which will earn some money for the undertaking, even before infrastructures are set up. We feel that there is much demand, because many people want to follow up the evolution of the park".

Sumbana explained that these first visitors will draw the attention of the rest of the world to the park's potential. The money thus collected will be used to develop the park, rendering it sustainable, and will also benefit the local communities.

The main routes will be along the Limpopo and the Elephants rivers, and the main entry will be through the Girionde border post, currently under construction.

The idea is to develop a low density but highly profitable tourism. Sumbana said that the private sector is being invited to play a role in selling the park's image in the country and abroad.

The Limpopo National Park is also Mozambique's contribution to the Greater Limpopo Transfrontier Park, an undertaking that also includes South Africa's Kruger National Park, and the Gonorezhou park in Zimbabwe.


Agriculture to yield over two million tonnes

Mozambique is set to harvest over two million tonnes of the main crops in the present campaign, which is the target set by the National Agricultural Development Programme (PROAGRI), reports "Noticias" on 24 May.

Deputy Agriculture Minister Joao Carrilho said that production of grain and vegetables was up by ten per cent, and that of root crops has increased by five per cent. Speaking in Namaacha, near the border with Swaziland, during an interval in a national meeting on micro-finance, Carrilho said that one of the major challenges his ministry is facing is to improve the marketing of agricultural products, which implies not only access to micro-credit, but also the existence of banking institutions in the rural areas.

As for micro-credit institutions, the meeting learnt that there are currently at least 30 of them country wide, but they are established almost exclusively in the urban areas.

So far, these institutions are serving about 52,000 people, to whom they have loaned the equivalent of about $8 million. Carrilho hopes to increase to about 120,000 the number of beneficiaries of micro-credit by the end of next year.

The challenge is to attract the savings held in rural areas, where farmers tend to keep their money at home, thanks to the lack of banking institutions.

On this issue, the deputy governor of the Bank of Mozambique, Ernesto Gove, said that rural savings will gain a new impetus with the implementation of a law, recently approved by the Assembly of the Republic, the Mozambican parliament, for the extension of micro-credit institutions to the rural areas.


New cotton prices fixed

Mozambique's National Prices and Wages Commission published on 2 June the new prices of raw cotton for the present harvest, which will begin within the next few days.

The commission's decision was that companies must pay the producers a minimum price of 5,000 meticais (about 20 US cents) a kilo for first class cotton. This is an increase of 31.6 per cent, compared with last year's price of 3,800 meticais. A kilo of second class cotton is to cost 3,500 meticais, compared with 3,000 meticais in the last harvest.

The commission took the decision during a meeting in Maputo on 1 June to harmonise the proposals tabled by the associations of peasant producers and the buying companies, during their recent meeting in the northern province of Nampula (the country's main cotton growing region), where they failed to reach agreement.

Disputes over cotton prices between the peasants and the companies during the last few years were due to the sharp drop in the price of cotton on the world market.

However, there has been a tendency towards recovery since late last year, which allowed the buying companies to offer the peasants better than the minimum price. Late in the 2003 harvest, companies were buying raw cotton at 4,000 meticais a kilo, rather than the official price of 3,800.

Mozambique is hoping to harvest between 70,000 and 80,000 tonnes of first class cotton in the present campaign.


New bond issue

The Mozambican government is once more turning to domestic debt to raise funds, by issuing high interest bearing treasury bonds. The chairperson of the Mozambican Stock Exchange (BVM), Jussub Nurmamade, told AIM on 27 May that the government has issued 2.5 million treasury bonds, each with a face value of 100,000 meticais. The total issue thus amounts to 250 billion meticais (equivalent to $10 million).

The bonds became available on 17 May, and will be sold to the public until 3 June. Interest is paid on the bonds every six months, and they mature in five years. The interest payments are exempt from income tax.

The interest for the first payment (due on 8 December) is set at 15 per cent. For future payments the interest rate is variable, and will be indexed to the average of the rates used in the previous six sessions of the Bank of Mozambique's transactions of its own short term bonds, to which a margin of one per cent will be added.

Investors are promised that the interest on the Treasury Bonds will always be higher than the interest offered by any commercial bank on deposit accounts.

The bonds will be sold to the public via the commercial banks, and any that are not purchased will be taken up by the banks.

Nurmamade said nine of the 12 banks invited to bid had made offers in total amounting to 1,410 billion meticais - over five times the total value of the bonds. But the banks will only be able to buy whatever is left over after the period of sale to the public.


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