Mozambique News Agency

AIM Reports

 


No.349, 7th November 2007


Contents


Do not confuse one country with a continent – President Guebuza

President Armando Guebuza on 4 November warned against the trend in some western countries to regard Africa as if it were a single nation, so that when some African leaders make mistakes, all of Africa takes the blame. Speaking at a press conference at the end of the third Africa-Germany Forum, held in the German town of Eltville, President Guebuza stressed that, just like European states, African ones have their differences and do not all face the same problems.

The trend to regard Africa as homogenous, President Guebuza said, meant some western countries were inclined to think it not worth supporting any African countries, just because one has not acted as hoped.

President Guebuza was speaking alongside host president Horst Koehler, and three other African presidents, Festus Mogae of Botswana, Umaru Yar Adua of Nigeria, and Thomas Boni Yahi of Benin.

President Guebuza praised Koehler for his defence of the position that all African countries whose leaderships are committed to governing democratically, and who have done all in their power to rescue their peoples from poverty, should be supported.

He stressed the importance of dialogue between African and European countries, and between Africa and other continents. Only thus could mutual understanding be improved, President Guebuza argued.

President Yar Adua made specific mention of the Zimbabwean crisis, declaring that holding the Europe-Africa summit scheduled for Lisbon in December could not be made conditional on Zimbabwe or its president, Robert Mugabe, not participating. That would be precisely the mistake of confusing one country with an entire continent.

President Yar Adua claimed it made no sense to threaten the summit, or to prevent President Mugabe from attending. He agreed there were aspects of President Mugabe's rule that should be condemned - but this should not be confused with a multilateral event such as the summit.

President Koehler stressed the importance of the Lisbon summit as an opportunity to draw up a platform for cooperation between the two continents.

The Africa-Germany Forum, attended by representatives of more than 45 African and German civic organisations, took place under the theme "The Challenges of Change - the African and German Response". Opening the event, President Koehler admitted that globalisation has not benefited Africa to the same extent that it has other continents.

He said that the persistence of poverty and endemic diseases in Africa could not be blamed simply on the peoples of the continent, because in recent decades they have shown great willingness and determination to climb out of the economic abyss. He was sure that Africa could have exceeded its recent annual average growth rate of five per cent, if the rest of the world had purchased African goods at fair prices, or had increased its aid to the continent.

President Koehler warned that the world is making a mistake if it fails to realise that the fate of Africans is intrinsically linked to the fate of everyone else on the planet, and that there will be no better world while 600 million Africans are left in grinding poverty.


Commission briefed on immigration

Between September 2006 and September this year, the Mozambican authorities repatriated 1,513 foreign nationals, according to Interior Minister Jose Pacheco. Speaking on 5 November, when he briefed the International Relations Commission of he country's parliament, the Assembly of the Republic, on immigration and border matters, Pacheco said this was an increase on the previous year's figures, when 888 foreigners were repatriated.

As for traffic in the other direction, Pacheco said that 21,547 Mozambican citizens had been repatriated from neighbouring countries, a decline on the previous year's figure of 25,289. The Minister added that the Mozambican police had detected over 2,200 cases of forged documents used to cross borders.

Pacheco said that, over the 12-month period, the authorities recorded over 2.6 million people crossing the borders legally - 1,548,050 Mozambicans and 839,568 foreigners. This was a very substantial decline on the 3.8 million travellers recorded the previous year.

The overwhelming bulk of these travellers (2.34 million) entered and left the country by road. 143,610 used the airports, 85,450 came in by sea and only 42,430 were passengers on international rail lines.


Chissano wins world's largest prize

Former Mozambican President, Joaquim Chissano, on 22 October won the first Mo Ibrahim Prize for Achievement in African Leadership. The announcement was made in London by the chair of the Prize Committee, former United Nations Secretary General, Kofi Annan, before an audience of diplomats, journalists and civil society representatives.

Joaquim Chissano did not attend the ceremony as he was in a remote part of southern Sudan, undertaking a task that Annan gave him - as special envoy to solve the conflict pitting the Ugandan government of President Yoweri Museveni against the rebels of the Lord's Resistance Army.

The prize for excellent leadership in Africa is the largest individual award in the world. Chissano will be given $5 million, and will receive a further $200,000 every year for the rest of his life. On top of this $200,000 will be donated annually for a decade to Chissano's public interest activities and good causes.

Annan declared, "President Chissano's achievements in bringing peace, reconciliation, stable democracy and economic progress to his country greatly impressed the committee. So, too, did his decision to step down without seeking the third term the constitution allowed".

Annan also had praise for the Mozambican government's achievements in the fields of economic growth, poverty reduction and the fight against HIV/AIDS. However, he stressed "it is in his role in leading Mozambique from conflict to peace and democracy that President Chissano has made his most outstanding contribution".

He also commended Chissano for his "major contribution outside his country's borders" which included providing "a powerful voice for Africa on the international stage".

Annan stated "the Prize celebrates more than just good governance. It celebrates leadership. The ability to formulate a vision and to convince others of that vision; and the skill of giving courage to society to accept difficult changes in order to make possible a longer term aspiration for a better, fairer future".

The founder of the prize, Sudanese millionaire Mo Ibrahim, said that he was "absolutely delighted that Joaquim Chissano has been selected as the first Laureate. As a man who has reconciled a divided nation and built the foundations for a stable, democratic and prosperous future for the country, he is a role-model not just for Africa, but for the rest of the world".

President Armando Guebuza sent a message of congratulation to his predecessor, Joaquim Chissano. Guebuza told Chissano "there are no words to describe this historic and euphoric moment we are sharing with you. We feel proud of this achievement because this personal success also brings prestige to Mozambique and the Mozambican people".

Fernando Mazanga, spokesperson for the largest opposition party, Renamo, told AIM the award to Chissano was "very good". He stressed that Renamo had "no personal hostility" towards the former President. "We have political adversaries not personal ones".

Reacting to news of his award, Joaquim Chissano declared that the Mo Ibrahim prize for Achievement in African leadership that he won last week "is deserved by the entire Mozambican people". Speaking to reporters at Maputo international airport, after returning from visits to Uganda, Sudan, Burkina Faso and South Africa, Chissano said "all that I did was possible because I had the support of the Mozambican people".


Voter registration held up by "programming mistake"

The Electoral Administration Technical Secretariat (STAE), the electoral branch of the Mozambican civil service, has confirmed that all the computers used by the 3,242 voter registration brigades stopped working on 23 October.

The STAE press officer, Lucas Jose, told AIM on 2 November that this was due to a "programming mistake" made by the South African company that provided the computers. "It was a mistake made when the programme was installed in South Africa. It wasn't deliberate", said Jose.

The voter registration began on 24 September and is due to end on 22 November - but the South African company confused the dates, and so the computers believed the exercise ended on 22 October.

Jose said that when the problem was detected, the supplier quickly mobilised its technical staff to reprogramme the computers. He claimed that the work was quick, because the company has staff on hand in all the provinces to deal with computer problems, and the registration resumed later that day.

However, it was quite impossible to reach all the registration brigades in the space of a day. Even in Maputo city, the place of easiest access, there were brigades who were unable to continue their work for more than 24 hours. Elsewhere the paralysis was considerably longer. On 1 November, Radio Mozambique reported that in the southern province of Inhambane the registration had been held up for three days everywhere except in the provincial capital and the adjoining city of Maxixe.

Less than a quarter of electorate registered

As of 30 October only 2,389,700 citizens had registered according to STAE. This means that since registration began on 24 September STAE has registered only 23.5 per cent of the estimated potential electorate of 10.5 million.

STAE maintains that the initial delays have been overcome, and that all the registration brigades are now fully operational. However, it looks unlikely that by 22 November an additional 8.1 million people will be able to register.

The last time Mozambique completely re-registered its electorate was in 1999, when 7.1 million people registered, 85 per cent of the estimated potential electorate at the time. If a similar proportion of the population is to be registered there are still six and a half million people to be registered, which breaks down to each brigade registering 88 voters per day.


Angola to cancel Mozambican debt

The Angolan government has agreed to cancel part of Mozambique's $40 million debt to Angola. Angolan Foreign Minister Joao Miranda, who is accompanying President Jose Eduardo dos Santos on a 24-hour state visit to Mozambique, told reporters on 31 October that the Finance Ministers of the two countries have been instructed to harmonise the figures on the debt. An agreement will then be reached on how much Angola will write off.

After talks between delegations headed by President dos Santos and by his Mozambican counterpart Armando Guebuza, Angolan and Mozambican ministers signed nine bilateral cooperation agreements, covering the areas of energy, oil, science and technology, geology and mining, agriculture and fisheries, higher education and staff training, the mass media and territorial administration.


Heavy sands project in production

After 20 years of prospection and tough negotiations, Mozambique's largest mining project to date is finally under way, at Topuito, in the northern coastal district of Moma. President Armando Guebuza officially inaugurated the mine on 19 October.

The mine is owned by the Irish company Kenmare Resources, and is set to become one of the world's largest suppliers of titanium ores. Titanium metal is light, strong and chemically inert. It is used in the aerospace and automobile industries.

But the main use of the titanium ores is for the production of pigment by chemical companies. Everyday items such as paints, paper and plastic depend on titanium for their colouring.

From the heavy mineral sands of Topuito, Kenmare plans to produce 800,000 tonnes of ilmenite (iron titanium oxide) and 21,000 tonnes of rutile (titanium dioxide) a year. The mine should also produce 56,000 tonnes a year of a third ore, zircon (zirconium silicate), which is used in ceramics.

Since 1987, Kenmare has spent $500 million on heavy sands prospection, and on building the Topuito infrastructures. According to Kenmare managing director, Michael Cargill, the mine will make a return on the investment "in maybe ten years".

The Topuito mine can supply six per cent of total world demand for titanium minerals. At the moment, market conditions are favourable to Kenmare since world demand is outstripping supply. Hence Kenmare intends to step up the pace of extraction, and by the end of the decade may be exporting 1.15 million tonnes of ilmenite a year.

The mine has a long lifetime. Cargill says that, at the current rate of extraction, there is 200 years worth of ores in the area covered by the Kenmare mining licence.

The mine and its associated structures provide about 400 jobs. Kenmare wants to recruit the unskilled and semi-skilled labour locally, although expatriate technical staff will still be required for many years to come, since this is the first time such a mine has been built in Mozambique.


SASOL to double Inhambane gas production

The South African petro-chemical giant Sasol is investing $250 million in a project to expand natural gas production capacity at Temane and Pande in the southern province of Inhambane. According to a Sasol representative in Mozambique, Mateus Zimba, this project, which is already under way, will double the current capacity of 122 million gigajoules per year.

Sasol believes that the Inhambane fields contain much more gas than the known reserves. Exploration is under way, to be followed by further drilling. Zimba was confident that a doubling of capacity would be achieved within three years.

This will also involve an increase in processing capacity and placing more compressors on the pipeline that carries the gas from Temane to the Sasol chemical plants at Secunda in South Africa.

About 95 per cent of the gas processed at Temane is piped to South Africa. Sasol pays the Mozambican state much less than the market price of the gas. The price for Sasol's Inhambane concession is only 67 US cents per gigajoule - just a seventh of the world market price of $4.5 a gigajoule.

But the development project is expected to provide the Mozambican state with over $900 million in fees and other rights to be paid by Sasol and other companies that directly or indirectly benefit from the gas.

Meanwhile Mozambique is developing its own domestic gas project, based on natural gas condensate from Pande and Temane, which should lead to a substantial decline in the price of domestic gas, which is currently imported.


Limpopo line operating below capacity

The recently rehabilitated Limpopo railway line, linking Maputo port to Zimbabwe, is operating far below capacity due to the serious economic crisis in Zimbabwe which has led to the collapse of Zimbabwean exports, and the inability of the country to import goods due a critical lack of foreign exchange.

According to the executive director of the southern branch of the publicly owned Mozambican ports and rail company (CFM-Sul), Joaquim Zucule, the Limpopo line handled 263,000 tonnes of cargo during the first half of this year. This is an increase when compared with the same period of 2006, but it is still nowhere near installed capacity.

Zucula said that, due to the economic crisis in Zimbabwe, there has been only one train a day circulating along the line, compared with the installed capacity of five trains a day.

CFM hopes that the amount of cargo using the line will soon rise to about one million tonnes a year, taking into account that Zimbabwe is now importing fertiliser. Zucule hoped this was "a sign that we may have large quantities of agricultural cargo coming from Zimbabwe to Maputo port in the near future".

Zucule also told AIM that CFM-Sul is to rehabilitate 670 wagons, at a cost of $31 million. The contract is to go to a foreign company, which will also be responsible for mobilising clients to use those wagons, and thus recover the money.

Currently CFM-Sul is spending about 600,000 rands ($89,000) a month in hiring wagons from the South African rail company Spoornet.

In the past, CFM-Sul was operating with a fleet of 2,200 wagons. But most of these were damaged, either during the war of destabilization, or by sabotage by people stealing metallic parts to sell as scrap. CFM-Sul is currently operating with only 600 wagons of its own.

Zucule said the Ideal would be to have at least 2,000 wagons in circulation to face an expected increased demand for cargo transport, particularly arising from economic integration within the SADC (Southern African Development Community) region.


New governors sworn in

President Guebuza on 25 October urged provincial governors to cultivate a sense of mission and of serving the citizens, by leading and accelerating reforms in the public sector.

He was speaking at the ceremony to swear in the new governors of Gaza, Manica and Cabo Delgado provinces, Raimundo Diomba, Mauricio Vieira and Eliseu Machava. Diomba was transferred from Manica to Gaza, while Vieira and Machava were previously parliamentary deputies of the ruling Frelimo Party.

He also praised the efforts made by the outgoing governors (the former governors of Gaza and Cabo Delgado, Djalma Lourenco and Lazaro Mathe) for the work they had undertaken.


Women still discriminated against in access to land

The male chauvinist model of socialization, that gives unequal roles according to gender, ensures that women remain discriminated against in terms of access to land and other natural resources. This is one of the conclusions reached by a study presented in Maputo on 19 October, on the last day of a conference to mark ten years since the passing of the Land Law, a piece of legislation which, in theory, is highly egalitarian.

The study, conducted by Sonia Seuane, of the Legal and Judicial Training Centre (CFJJ), says that, though there is no customary law to impede women from access to land, they face a reality where their rights to land are limited. The study, titled "Gender Aspects and the Impact of HIV/AIDS in the Access of Women and Children to Land and Natural Resources", found that, even under the best of hypotheses, women are given the less fertile land.

"Land is not a scarce good in Mozambique, but whenever a woman needs it she is given the least fertile plots. Otherwise, she must travel long distances to find arable and financially accessible land", said Seuane, adding that fertile plots near women's homes are precisely those that many of them cannot afford.

The Mozambican Constitution establishes that land is state property, which cannot be sold or otherwise alienated. But there are people who, through the transmission of land tenure titles, illegally charge large sums for a piece of land.

The study also found that, regardless of matrilineal or patrilineal lineage, access to land and other natural resources is granted by the husband or by the family. This, in the event of the death of her husband, or her separation or expulsion from the family, a woman loses all her rights to land and other properties that she helped acquire.

"The lack of formal education and, consequently, the lack of a source of income to guarantee economic independence, worsens the unequal social position of women", concluded the study.

From its conclusions, the study recommends that programmes should be promoted to solve the problem of gender imbalances, with the participation of the district governments, the local structures, and men, disseminating messages of emancipation and promotion of women's rights.

Another recommendation is for the use of local languages in publicising women's and children's rights and the Land Law, facilitating the activities of paralegal staff as intermediaries between the community and the judiciary, and establish an articulation between paralegals and district structures to denounce any cases of violation of women's and children's rights.


Migrant workers provide 7.4 per cent of GDP

A study published by the International Fund for Agricultural Development (IFAD) has calculated that last year migrant workers sent $565 million back to Mozambique. This figure represents 7.4 per cent of the country's Gross Domestic Product (GDP).

The study, "Sending money home: Worldwide remittance flows to developing countries", calculates that 150 million migrants sent home over $300 billion to their families in developing countries in 2006. In comparison, donor nations provided $104 billion in aid to developing countries last year.

Migrant remittances also surpassed foreign direct investment in developing countries, which last year totalled around $167 billion, according to the Institute of International Finance.

These remittances make up an important flow of foreign currency to most countries and it is calculated that these reach households totalling about ten per cent of the world's population. According to the report, "the importance of remittances to poverty alleviation is obvious, but the potential multiplier effect on economic growth and investment is also significant".

The effect of remittances is a major factor in African economies. Sub-Saharan Africa has over 30 million people in the Diaspora. However, this is predominantly intra-regional (such as the migration of Mozambican workers to South Africa). Some African countries are heavily reliant on these remittances: Lesotho receives 24.1 per cent of its GDP in remittances; Mozambique receives 7.4 per cent; closely followed by Zimbabwe with 7.2 per cent.

According to Kevin Cleaver, IFAD's Assistant President, "one of our priorities is to improve poor people's options by finding ways to cut transaction costs and link remittances to other financial services such as savings, investments and loans".

IFAD is part of the United Nations. It is an international financial institution set up to tackle poverty and hunger in rural areas of developing countries. Globally, its low-interest loans and grants support 191 rural poverty eradication programs and projects totalling $6.6 billion.



 

This is a condensed version of the AIM daily news service - for details contact aim@aim.org.mz

 


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