Mozambique News Agency
President Armando Guebuza on 4 September urged the world to act now against climate changes before it is too late. Speaking in his capacity as the chairperson of the III World Conference on Climate taking place in Geneva, President Guebuza said that the fact that climate change is an obstacle to achieving the Millennium Development Goals (MDG) strengthens the need for immediate global action.
The President expressed full support for the creation of a Global Framework for Climate Services, which is the main objective of the conference, and reiterated the call for development partners to strengthen their international commitment.
'We must act now, because the damage will be enormous if we do not act today', said President Guebuza, stressing that it is a human, political and historic responsibility. He raised great concern about the thawing of the Arctic icecap, rising sea levels, and the worsening risk of unprecedented natural disasters.
President Guebuza noted that climate changes are a global phenomenon that affects everyone, and recalled the story of Rosita who was born in a tree in Gaza province during the floods that hit Mozambique in 2000. He also told the audience about Maria Jose, a young woman who gave birth to low weight triplets in the western Tete province during the 2007/2008 floods.
These floods touched the world and revealed the country's weakness in the management of disasters. This led the government to start designing prevention and mitigation strategies, transforming challenges into development opportunities.
People who lived in areas prone to floods are now living in higher ground with improved houses. The low lying areas are now used for agriculture, contributing to improved food security as part of the government’s strategy known as the Green Revolution.
To mitigate the impact of the climate changes in Mozambique the country embarked on a number of actions including tree planting in schools, the allocation financial resources to the districts for food production and job creation, and environmental education programmes.
President Guebuza warned that the search for water, fertile land and other resources due to the impact of climate change in the world might spark conflicts between nations.
United Nations Secretary General Ban-Ki-moon, who is also taking part in the conference spoke along the same lines, urging all world leaders to take urgent measures to save humankind from climate disasters.
Anibal dos Santos Junior, ('Anibalzinho'), the man who recruited and led the death squad that murdered investigative journalist Carlos Cardoso in November 2000, has been re-arrested in South Africa and transferred to Maputo City Police Command.
On 25 August the National Director of Criminal Investigation Police (PIC), Carlos Come confirmed that Anibalzinho is back in Mozambique, where he will resume his 30-year prison sentence.
Anibalzinho escaped from the cells of the Maputo City Police Command on 7 December. He had previously escaped in September 2002 and May 2004.
News about his re-arrest in Johannesburg first broke out on 21 August.
The construction of a new dam on the Zambezi river at Mphanda Nkuwa, and of a north-south power line are the priority projects for the energy sector over the next five years, according to Energy Minister Salvador Namburete.
Speaking at a meeting of the Consultative Council of his Ministry in the southern resort of Chidenguele, Namburete stressed that the two projects are interlinked.
Mozambique’s enormous hydropower potential means that it should be selling large amounts of power to other members of the Southern African Development Community (SADC). However, almost all the 2,075 megawatts generated at the existing dam on the Zambezi at Cahora Bassa are already contracted to firm buyers.
New power stations are needed and Mphanda Nkua is likely to be the first to come on stream. On current projections, about 90 per cent of the 1,500 megawatts from the new dam will be sold to South Africa, while the other 10 per cent will be consumed within Mozambique.
Since the existing power line from Cahora Bassa to the Apollo sub-station in South Africa can carry no more energy, a new line must be built. This north-south line, referred to as the “backbone” of the Mozambican electricity grid, will enable power to be transmitted directly from the Zambezi Valley to Maputo and the rest of southern Mozambique – under the current arrangements, Cahora Bassa power reaches Maputo via South Africa.
An economic study has cut the projected cost of the line by more than half. The initial forecast was that a Tete-Maputo line would cost $5 billion, but the study on technical options scaled this back to $2.4 billion.
The line will eventually have the capacity to carry 6,000 megawatts – which would allow it to carry power generated not only at Mepanda Nkuwa, but also at projected coal-fired power stations in the nearby district of Moatize, and perhaps from a second power station at Cahora Bassa, on the north bank of the river.
The first phase, involving an investment of $1.8 billion, would produce a line capable of carrying 3,100 megawatts. A second phase, with further investment of $512 million, would boost capacity by a further 2,900 megawatts.
The line already has guaranteed funding from Norway and the World Bank, and promises from the French Development Agency (AFD).
The first phase of Mphanda Nkuwa would generate 1,500 megawatts, but a second phase could push this up to 2,400 megawatts.
An environmental impact study is under way and, if favourable, this will lead to the issuing of an environmental licence, which is indispensable for work of this scale. At the same time negotiations are under way for an agreement on the sale of the power.
The cost of the dam is estimated at $2 billion, to be mobilised by the Mphanda Nkuwa Hydro-electric Company, a consortium formed by Camargo Correia of Brazil, Energia Capital (a member of the Mozambican INSITEC Group), and Mozambique’s publicly owned electricity company, EDM.
Construction should begin in January 2011, with the start of the commercial operation of Mphanda Nkuwa forecast for 2015.
Namburete also revealed that he has received a letter from the company Ayr-Petro-Nacala, assuring him it had not abandoned its plan to build an oil refinery at Nacala on the northern Mozambican coast.
It had been feared that the international financial crisis had killed off the project. But Ayr-Petro-Nacala (in which the majority shareholder is the US company Ayr Logistics) told the Minister it was looking for “new partnerships” to implement the project.
“Maybe with the signs of revival in the world economy this project will gain impetus again”, said Namburete. “But it’s not been dropped, and we continue to receive correspondence from the investors”.
Plans for a second oil refinery, this time in the far south of the country, are also still alive. The company Oilmoz has, however, switched the location for its refinery from Matutuine, south of Maputo city, to Marracuene district, some 30 kilometres north of the capital.
The switch is because of other projects planned for Matutuine, including a new port at Ponta Dobela, and a major eco-tourism venture.
The Oilmoz refinery would entail an investment of $8.4 billion. Viability studies will be undertaken by the international consultancy company PriceWaterhouseCoopers, and by the Mozambican publicly owned fuel company, Petromoc.
The Ministry of Energy has concluded the development of a draft policy on the development of renewable energies.
According to Joao de Lima, head of the Renewable Energy Department, in the Ministry’s National Directorate of Energy, the policy is intended to promote the use of new, renewable and clean sources of energy, and to accelerate investment in the sector. “This policy is framed in the context of national, regional and international policies, with the aim of providing good quality energy at accessible prices”, he said.
Among the “new” and “renewable” sources of energy are biomass, hydro-electricity, and solar, wind, geothermal and wave power. Mozambique has the potential to develop all of these.
Mozambican rivers, for example, could produce 15,000 megawatts of power, if further dams are built. Currently, the country only has one large dam, at Cahora Bassa, on the Zambezi, which can produce 2,075 megawatts. A second power station at Cahora Bassa, on the north bank of the river, could add a further 1,500 megawatts, and a new dam planned at Mphanda Nkuwa, 60 kilometres downstream from Cahora Bassa, could also produce 1,500 megawatts.
There are several mini-hydropower schemes that can each generate up to 15 megawatts, and provide power for small communities. It is estimated that there are between 60 and 100 other regions in Mozambique where such small hydropower stations could be built.
The Mozambican climate means that there is abundant potential for solar power. Average solar radiation levels in Mozambique are 5.2 kilowatts per hour per square metre, a figure regarded as extremely high. This level of solar radiation is fairly constant throughout the year.
Currently the government’s Energy Fund (FUNAE) is undertaking a rural electrification project based on solar panels. The project also covers the electrification of schools and health units.
FUNAE is working with the Indian company Central Electronics Ltd (CEL) to build a factory that will produce solar panels. The factory will be built in one of the districts of Maputo province, and will be funded by the Indian government, but the exact sums involved are not yet known.
On 8 August President, Armando Guebuza inaugurated at Rocha Beach, Inhambane province, the country’s first fourth generation wind turbine.
The project cost $2.5 million and the turbine will generate 300 kilowatts (KW) of electricity to supply the local tourism industry and 1,200 consumers.
”Mozambique is changing. Tomorrow will certainly be better than today. Thanks to the wind, many Mozambicans will be able to study at night. This turbine will change our life”, said President Guebuza to the population of Salela neighbourhood, where the wind farm was installed.
According to President Guebuza, “until recently the wind seemed to be useless, but today we can generate clean energy without polluting our environment”.
On the occasion, the President told the residents to protect these investments, explaining that, otherwise standards of living will go backwards.
Speaking to AIM, energy Minister Salvador Namburete explained that another 66 wind turbines could be built, with a total installed capacity of 20 megawatts.
The regions surrounding the town of Maxixe, in the province of Inhambane and the beach area of Ponta do Ouro, in the district Matutuíne, in the southern region of Mozambique, are among regions that have already been chosen to host similar projects.
Currently, the Government is negotiating with the two mobile phone operators in Mozambique for the installation of wind speed meters on the top of their antennas to assess the wind power potential, mainly along the Mozambican coast and highlands of the interior regions.
The project is owned by consortium made up of 'Power Adventure', 'Palm Tree Power' and 'OKhela' involving Mozambican, South African and American companies.
The current international economic crisis has led to the reduction of Mozambican exports, and a worsening trade deficit. According to the latest statistics in the first quarter of 2009 the volume of exports fell 36 per cent if compared with the same period last year. In the first quarter of this year exports reached only $347.6 million compared with $543.1 million last year.
The National Director of literacy and adult education Ernesto Muianga has announced that the illiteracy rate, currently running at 51.9 per cent, is to drop to 30 per cent by 2012.
In 2003, it was estimated that 60 per cent of the Mozambican population could not read or write. However, the Ministry of Education and Culture estimates that by the end of this year the illiteracy rate will be 43 per cent.
Reducing the illiteracy rate to below half of their population in every country is a goal established by the United Nations in its Literacy Decade in 2003, and Muianga says that Mozambique is in a position to meet this goal.
Four high ranking officials of the Provincial Planning and Finances Directorate in the western Tete province were arrested on 24 August, accused of stealing 144 million meticais (about $5.4 million) from state coffers. Among the accused is the former director of the institution, Jose Joao.
Planning and Development Minister Aiuba Cuereneia, visiting Tete province, confirmed these arrests. Giving no further details, Cuereneia said that there are strong indications that the four accused have been stealing public property, hence their preventive arrest, while investigations proceed.
The spokesperson of the attorney's office in Tete, Bernardo Duce, said that the theft was uncovered during an audit by the Administrative Tribunal in 2007. The audit also detected other irregularities in the use of public property.
Deputy Education Minister Luis Covane on 25 August announced that cereal production reached 2.6 million tonnes in the 2008/2009 farming season, a growth of 14.1 per cent compared with the previous year. The government has therefore decided to raise its target to 3.9 million tonnes of cereals for the next farming season (2009/2010), a further growth of 18.2 percent.
According to Covane, during the 2008/2009 season the country also produced 430.600 tonnes of legumes, and 9.2 million tonnes of root vegetables - an increase of 7.9 and 8.2 per cent respectively compared to the previous season.
Covane explained that these increases were due to a number of initiatives, such as strengthening the network of agricultural extensionists, the expansion of productive areas, the early provision of seeds, and the promotion of draft animal power for farming.
He stressed that during the season 2008/2009 the area under rice cultivation increased from 3,000 to 6,000 hectares in the Chokwe Irrigation Scheme, in the southern province of Gaza.
'We established a new credit line of 75 million meticais (about $2.82 million) for farmers and we also provided 4.8 thousand tonnes of seeds at half price for 52,000 farmers,' he added.
As for wheat, current projections point to a harvest of 13,000 tonnes up from 6,000 tonnes harvested in the 2007/2008 farming season.
Covane noted that despite growth in cereal production, much still needs to be done to meet the targets set in Mozambique’s Food Production Action Plan covering the period 2008-2011. The Government’s strategy is to eliminate the need to import rice and potatoes, and slash imports of wheat.
Current statistics show that that the country only generates a surplus in two staples, maize and cassava. There is an annual surplus of around 75,000 tonnes of maize and 819,000 tonnes of cassava. But there is an annual deficit of 316,000 tonnes of rice, 467,000 tonnes of wheat, 169,300 tonnes of potatoes, 24,000 tonnes of chicken and 54,000 tonnes of fisheries produce. The government also hopes to greatly increase the country’s maize surplus, and by 2011 there should be a surplus of 329,000 tonnes of maize available for export.
On 14 August the $30 million Bela Vista-Rice Project was launched in Maputo by the consortium formed by Libya Africa Investment Portfolio (LAP) and the Mozambican company Ubuntu SA.
According to Filipe Gago, LAP’s representative, the project is to be implemented within the next five years, and initially rice will be grown in an area of nine thousand hectares, with an expected annual harvest of 40,000 tonnes of rice. In the third year of operation the owners believe that they will be able to meet at least 20 per cent of Mozambique’s needs.
A $40 million project to promote rural markets was launched on 17 August in Pemba, Cabo Delgado province, to boost access and participation of small scale farmers in the agricultural trade and value chain.
The program will be implemented over a seven-year period, funded by the International Fund for Agricultural Development ($31 million), in partnership with the Alliance for a Green Revolution in Africa ($3.5 million), and the Mozambican government ($3.1 million).
The project will be implemented in Cabo Delgado, Niassa, Nampula and Zambezia, benefiting about 20,000 small farmers organised in associations.
Mozambique’s tourism industry earned $190 million in 2008 - a doubling of revenue collected in 2004.
Tourism Minister Fernando Sumbana Junior released these figures during the seventh meeting of the Coordination Council.
The increase in revenue was largely due to the revitalisation and modernisation of existing national parks and reserves and improvements to the business environment that has attracted foreign investment in the tourism sector. Sumbana said that there had been a massive increase in the number of visitors to the national parks and reserves, reaching about 1.5 million tourists to Mozambique by the end of last year, up from 950,000 in 2005. Currently the tourism sector employs about 40,000 workers, of which over half are female.
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