Mozambique News Agency
President Armando Guebuza, on the 39th anniversary of the country’s independence in 25 June 1975, urged all Mozambicans to be confident in their own capacities and to advance towards the eradication of poverty.
After laying a wreath at Maputo’s Monument to the Mozambican Heroes, President Guebuza stressed that celebrations of the anniversary express a commitment to strengthening the unity of all Mozambicans, so that peace and development may be secured, and at an ever more rapid pace.
Peace, he added, would only be possible through stepping up dialogue among all Mozambicans. “We should not lose hope, much less lose our convictions”, said President Guebuza. “We choose dialogue as the means to allow people to become aware of their responsibilities. Hence we believe that by continuing the debate we shall strengthen peace for all Mozambicans”.
He was confident, not only that peace can be restored, but also that poverty can be reduced as the country steps up its development.
Contingents from both the ruling Frelimo Party and the opposition Mozambique Democratic movement (MDM) were present at the Heroes’ Monument, waving their party flags, and showing that on such basic issues as defending the country’s independence, they are in agreement. However, the country’s largest opposition party Renamo boycotted the anniversary celebrations.
Later in the day, President Guebuza decorated several individuals and institutions for their role in fighting for the liberation of Mozambique from Portuguese colonial rule, in implementing the 1992 peace agreement, and in creating an environment favourable for economic and social development.
Four former heads of state were granted the title of honorary citizen of Mozambique for their role in supporting the liberation struggle. Only one of them – Kenneth Kaunda of Zambia- was still alive to receive the honour. It was granted posthumously to the former presidents of Tanzania, Botswana and Algeria, respectively Julius Nyerere, Seretse Khama and Ahmed Ben Bella.
Also honoured were an Italian and a Belgian citizen, Dina Forti and Paulette Pierson-Mathy, who played leading roles in building solidarity movements with Frelimo in their countries, during the liberation struggle.
President Guebuza also awarded honorary citizenship to the three Italian citizens who mediated the peace agreement between the government and Renamo, Mario Raffaelli, Andrea Riccardo and Matteo Zuppi, and to the head of the United Nations peace keeping mission in Mozambique, between 1992 and 1994, Aldo Ajello.
Ninety per cent of Mozambique’s 128 districts are now free of land mines, declared President Guebuza on 23 June.
Opening the third review conference of the Ottawa Convention banning the use, stockpiling, production and transfer of anti-personnel mines, President Guebuza was optimistic that Mozambique can become the first of the five most heavily mined countries in the world to complete demining and be declared free of mines.
He noted that, when the first conference on land mines was held in Maputo, in 1999, only 45 states were party to the Ottawa Convention, but today that number has risen to 161. “This is a victory for the promotion of international humanitarian law”, declared the President.
In some parts of the world, accession to the Ottawa Convention is universal. Thus every state in sub-Saharan Africa has acceded to or ratified the treaty, and the same is true of the European Union. Every Latin American country except Cuba is a member of the Convention.
The countries which manufacture land mines – United States, Russia and China – have not signed the Convention, nor has India, Pakistan, or most of the Middle East.
Jody Williams, the founding coordinator of the International Campaign to Ban Landmines (ICBL), work for which she won the 1997 Nobel Peace Prize, told the conference that the Ottawa Convention showed that “when we work together, we can change the world”.
But, although there were now 161 states party to the convention, and although the number of land mine incidents had fallen dramatically, there was still a great deal of work to be done to end the scourge of land mines.
In remarks clearly addressed to countries which have not joined the convention, Williams said “land mines are always a bad idea. The people who suffer the most are civilians”.
The conference documentation notes there is “widespread agreement that the use of anti-personnel mines is unacceptable and that its disastrous humanitarian and socio-economic consequences should be ended forever. For this reason, we will spare no effort to continue promoting universal adherence to the Convention”.
At the first conference in Maputo in 1999, the document adds, “the clearance of all mined areas was a distant prospect and perhaps, to some, unachievable. Today almost 30 states have completed this effort, which proves completion of our mine clearance obligations is within reach”.
The Mozambican government on 24 June approved its Natural Gas Master Plan, which aims to maximise the benefits that the country can gain from this natural resource.
After the document had been approved at the weekly meeting of the Council of Ministers (Cabinet), the Minister of Mineral Resources, Esperanca Bias, told reporters “this is a detailed road map for taking strategic, political and institutional decisions, on the basis of which investments in this area can be designed and implemented in this area in a coordinated manner”.
The plan, she explained, envisages the construction of a gas pipeline from Palma, in the northern province of Cabo Delgado, where huge deposits of natural gas have been discovered offshore, to Maputo. The pipeline would be over 2,000 kilometres long. At points along its route there would be branches to feed gas to various industrial projects.
“Through this master plan, the government intends to maximise benefits from the gas, not only through the revenue from sales, but also as a factor for the industrial development of Mozambique”, she said.
The Council of Ministers also approved the terms and conditions for authorising concession contracts for two hydro-electric undertakings in the Zambezi Valley.
One of the proposed new dams on the Zambezi is at Boroma, in Changara district, in Tete province, and will generate 215 megawatts. The second is further downstream at the Lupata Gorge, generally regarded as the boundary between the middle and the lower Zambezi, and could generate 600 megawatts.
Mozambique’s National Hydrocarbon Company (ENH) and Royal Dutch Shell signed in Maputo on 24 June a memorandum of understanding to carry out a study for a GTL (gas-to-liquid) project, and the development of hydrocarbon exploration activities in Mozambique.
The memorandum was signed by the Chairperson of the ENH Board of Directors, Nelson Ocuane, and by Edward Daniels, the Shell Executive Vice President for Downstream Technology. It was witnessed by Mozambique’s Minister of Mineral Resources, Esperanca Bias.
The partnership will begin with the viability study to identify the potential for a GTL factory. This will form the basis for the development of other areas, including the supply of associated gas and infrastructures, as well as joint negotiations to acquire hydrocarbon exploration rights.
Speaking immediately after signing the memorandum, Ocuane said the agreement is part of ENH’s efforts to become a prominent and integrated hydrocarbon company, operating in Mozambique and in other countries.
For his part, Daniels said he hoped that Shell will work together with ENH to study opportunities for further development and diversification of the gas industry in Mozambique.
This memorandum of understanding was preceded by an agreement for a joint study to identify areas of high hydrocarbon potential in Mozambique. In future the two companies may acquire joint rights in the hydrocarbon area.
Shell states that it is a world leader in GTL technology, with more than 40 years of experience in this field. It built the first commercial GTL plant in Malaysia in 1993, and in 2011 it began production in the largest GTL plant in the world, in Qatar, in partnership with Qatar Petroleum.
ENH intends to expand its distribution of natural gas in the southern province of Inhambane, by establishing 500 new connections, bringing the total number of consumers of gas in this region to 1,131.
According to ENH, this project is budgeted at US$450,000, and seeks to expand the gas distribution network to more consumers in Vilanculo, Inhassoro and Govuro districts in the north of the province. Work should begin within weeks, and will be concluded in 120 days.
ENH says the project hopes to reduce the cost of a gas connection for households. Currently the cost varies between $1,000 and $3,000, depending on the distance of the household from the gas pipeline.
ENH says that, on average, a household spends about 450 meticais ($ 15) a month on piped gas. To get the same amount of energy from charcoal would cost 600 meticais, from firewood between 500 and 750 meticais, and from butane cooking gas 750 meticais.
Further advantages of piped natural gas is that is available 24 hours a day, it is safe and clean, and it makes a major contribution to the environment by replacing wood fuel and thus reducing deforestation.
The ENH gas distribution network in northern Inhambane dates back to 1992 with the construction of a pipeline 103 kilometres long. Today the network is 326 kilometres long, including connections from the gas processing plant at Temane to Vilanculo and the Bazaruto archipelago, and a second branch to Inhassoro and to Nova Mambone.
Currently this ENH network supplies 631 consumers – 590 homes, 39 commercial premises, and two electricity distribution company – the national company, EDM, and Elgas, which has the contract to supply electricity to the Bazaruto islands.
The Canadian-based oil and gas company Wentworth Resources has announced that drilling operations have begun at the Tembo-1 well in the Rovuma Onshore concession in the northern Mozambican province of Cabo Delgado.
Wentworth is one of the minority shareholders in this well. The operator is the American company Anadarko, with a 35.7 per cent stake. Wentworth has 11.59 per cent, PTTEP of Thailand 10 per cent and Mauel et Prom of France 27.71 per cent. The remaining 15 per cent is held by Mozambique’s own National Hydrocarbon Company (ENH).
Wentworth says that the “Tembo-1 well is targeting mid-Cretaceous sands with secondary targets in the upper Jurassic”.
The huge deposits of natural gas discovered by Anadarko and the Italian energy company ENI off shore in the Rovuma basin are in much younger sands, from Eocene and Oligocene periods. The Jurassic and Cretaceous periods are both divisions of the Mesozoic era, and since the great majority of oil discoveries (about 70 per cent) have been in sands of Mesozoic age, Tembo-1 is perhaps more likely to strike oil than any of the offshore wells.
Two earlier wells were drilled in the offshore concession, including the Mocimboa-1 well which did find oil, but not in commercially viable amounts. Mocimboa-1 is about 17 kilometres northeast of Tembo-1.
According to Wentworth, Tembo-1 is the first of two Rovuma onshore wells in which the company plans to participate over the next six months.
The bridge across the Zambezi River, linking the provinces of Sofala and Zambezia, and named after President Armando Guebuza, has raised 132 million meticais (around US$4.3 million) in tolls since it was inaugurated in August 2009.
During this period over 540,000 vehicles crossed the bridge - both domestic traffic and vehicles heading to or from landlocked countries such as Malawi and Zambia.
According to the Sofala delegate of the National Road Fund, Francisco Danca, an average of 300 vehicles a day use the bridge.
Revenue from the bridge tolls was around two million meticais a month between 2009 and 2013, but last year there was a significant increase in traffic, particularly in holiday periods, leading the average monthly revenue to reach three million meticais.
Regarded as one of the most modern bridges in Africa, the bridge over the Zambezi is 2,376 metres long and 16 metres wide. It has two carriageways and footpaths on either side. The bridge was built by a consortium formed by the Portuguese companies Mota-Engil and Soares da Costa, for a total cost of €80 million (about $109 million).
The bridge is a key link in Mozambique’s main north-south highway. Before it was built vehicles crossing the river depended on an unreliable ferry service.
The National Council of Mozambique’s largest opposition party Renamo, meeting in the central city of Beira, on 23 June elected the party’s leader, Afonso Dhlakama, as its candidate in the presidential elections scheduled for 15 October.
The election was unanimous and by acclamation – although Dhlakama himself was not present. Other candidates could have competed for the post, but none did so.
Dhlakama is still living in a Renamo base on the slopes of the Gorongosa mountain range, and claims he cannot leave until he receives “security guarantees”. The government says it has already given such guarantees, and that no harm will come to Dhlakama if he moves to Maputo, Beira or anywhere else in the country.
Cited in the newsheet “Mediafax”, the chairperson of the National Council, parliamentarian Jose Manteigas, accused the government of harassing Dhlakama, and claimed the country would only return to normal if the harassment stopped.
The argument that the government and the ruling Frelimo Party are to blame for the current politico-military tensions was echoed repeatedly by other speakers. “It is Frelimo that is most guilty for what is happening in Mozambique, and there is proof of this”, declared Gania Mussagy.
Mozambique and Vietnam have signed a protocol on education to increase the exchange of students and teachers.
According to the official Vietnamese news agency VNA, the protocol was signed in Hanoi on 23 June by Mozambican Education Minister Augusto Jone and his Vietnamese counterpart Pham Vu Luan.
Under the protocol, ten students from Vietnam and a similar number from Mozambique will receive scholarships to study in the other country.
In 2008 the two countries signed an agreement establishing an exchange programme. Currently, sixteen Mozambican students are studying in Vietnam, mostly in agriculture. Meanwhile, 25 Vietnamese students have been studying Portuguese in Mozambique.
In addition, Mozambique has sent a Portuguese language teacher to Vietnam, whilst eight Vietnamese educational specialists have travelled to Mozambique.
Augusto Jone arrived in Vietnam on 21 June and has visited the Agriculture Academy, the Electric Power University, the Hanoi Industrial College for Textiles, Garments and Fashion, and Hanoi Medical University.
Foreign Minister Oldemiro Baloi on 18 June invited German businesses to invest in Mozambique.
He was speaking in Berlin at the opening of a Round Table on Business and Investment Opportunities in Mozambique, held as part of Baloi’s three day official visit to Germany at the invitation of his German counterpart, Frank-Walter Steinmer.
About 20 representatives of major German companies, including Siemens, Lufthansa and Gauff, attended the round table.
In his speech, Baloi recalled that in recent years Mozambique’s gross domestic product has grown at an average annual rate of 7.5 per cent. Forecasts for 2014 are that growth will reach 8.3 per cent.
“I would like to invite all German business people to visit Mozambique, our pearl of the Indian Ocean, to explore the multiple opportunities our country has to offer”, said Baloi. “They cannot all be listed in a simple seminar such as this”.
He stressed that Mozambique is the second most successful country in Africa in attracting foreign investment, behind only Kenya. According to the Africa Attractiveness Survey 2014, the previous year Mozambique had an increase of 33 per cent in attracting foreign direct investment, beaten by Kenya’s 40 per cent, but well ahead of Nigeria (19 per cent) and South Africa (17 per cent).
On 17 June Baloi met with Steinmer, and stated that the purposes of his visit are “to strengthen friendship and cooperation between Mozambique and Germany, and make efforts to raise economic cooperation to the same level as our political relations”.
He said that German cooperation with Mozambique rests on four areas – German direct financial support for the Mozambican state budget, and German assistance to education, decentralisation and the private sector. Baloi stressed that German commitment to Mozambique is growing.
Steinmeir promised Baloi that he will soon visit Mozambique, to demonstrate German interest in promoting investment by German companies in Mozambique, and his government’s commitment to strengthen partnerships with the Southern African Development Community (SADC).
During the visit Baloi also met with the executive chairperson of the company Merck Pharma, Stefan Oschman who guaranteed that his company can make the factory producing anti-retroviral drugs in the southern city of Matola a going concern, and will also be committed to the struggle against malaria in Mozambique.
The WorldWide Fund for Nature (WWF) has called for urgent international action in the wake of new statistics on elephant poaching in Mozambique.
According to an aerial survey commissioned by WWF-Mozambique, up to 900 elephants died in the north of the county over a three year period. The survey of the Quirimbas National Park found that between 480 and 900 elephants died in the area between 2011 and 2013.
From the air the researchers saw that almost half the elephants sighted were carcasses. According to Anabela Rodriguez, Country Director of WWF-Mozambique, “the elephant deaths are probably due to illegal hunting and the losses are likely to be devastating to the population”.
In April the Mozambican parliament, the Assembly of the Republic, passed a bill dramatically increasing the penalties for poaching, particularly of endangered species, such as rhinoceros or elephants.
The law proposes prison sentences of between eight and 12 years for people who kill, without a licence, any protected species, or who use banned fishing gear, such as explosives or toxic substances. The same penalty will apply to people who set forests or woodlands on fire (poachers often use fire to drive animals into the open).
Anybody using illegal firearms or snares, even if they do not catch protected species, faces two years imprisonment.
Those found guilty of the illegal exploitation, storage, transport or sale of protected species will be fined between 50 and 1,000 times the minimum monthly national wage in force in the public administration (between $4,425 and $88,500).
Mozambican civil society organisations on 16 June praised President Armando Guebuza for exercising his veto against bills passed by the Assembly of the Republic which would have increased the pension rights and other privileges of former parliamentary deputies and former heads of state.
After a storm of protest against the two bills, including a street demonstration in Maputo, President Guebuza refused to promulgate the two bills.
Representing the same civil society bodies that had organised the Maputo demonstration, Benilde Nhalivilo, executive director of the Community Radios Forum (FORCOM), told the press “the President of the Republic knew how to listen to and take into consideration the voices of citizens who, individually and collectively, opposed these laws, and showed, through technical analyses, that they would be exaggerated and unsustainable”.
Nhalivilo also praised Daviz Simango, leader of the Mozambique Democratic Movement (MDM), who admitted that the vote by the MDM parliamentary group in favour of increased privileges for deputies was “a serious mistake” and made a public apology.
“We would also like to salute the press, civil society organisations and all those who, in various ways, peacefully expressed their opinion about this legislation”, she added.
The Mozambican government on 10 June approved a National Development Strategy (ENDE) to guide the country’s development over the next 20 years. It is based on the UN Millennium Development Goals, the Strategic Indicative Plan of SADC, and Mozambique’s Agenda 2025.
Deputy Minister of Planning and Development, Amelia Nakare, told reporters that ENDE is an integrated development approach which will, through a series of pillars and strategies, establish priorities for development.
She added, “fundamentally, it presents the continuing need for the development of human capital. This is an indispensable factor for national development”.
Nakare also stressed the importance of territorial planning and organisation, which will make it possible to outline the priorities for investment, particularly in infrastructures. “We must know very clearly what to build and where and when to build it”, she said. “And for this to happen efficiently, considering that resources are scarce, the government must plan carefully”.
A further pillar of the strategy is institutional coordination. “Knowing that the implementation of any policy flows from correct and appropriate coordination, the government thinks that at the level of all institutions, and not just those of the state, it is necessary to make the effort to guarantee ever greater coordination”, Nakare said.
Based on these pillars, the government intends to establish strategies in the social, economic and infrastructure areas, so as to guarantee a business environment that helps attract investments, with the perspective of exploiting Mozambique’s natural resources in a sustainable manner.
The Mozambican government plans to lease stretches of the country’s trunk road network to private operators by the end of the year, the Minister of Public Works, Cadmiel Muthemba, announced on 6 June at the end of a meeting of the Coordinating Council of his Ministry.
The country only has one toll road – the Maputo-South Africa motorway, operated by the South African company Trans Africa Concessions (TRAC).
The government plans for private operators to erect toll gates on several major roads, including the north-south highway from Marracuene, just outside Maputo, to Lindela in Inhambane province; from Nampula city to Nacala; and from Vanduzi to Changara, between Manica and Tete provinces.
Muthemba said that over the past five years 1,500 kilometres of road had been paved, and there had been annual routine maintenance of 19,000 kilometres.
Despite this, he said, the road sector faced difficulties which could only be overcome with the involvement of private business.
He wanted to develop public-private partnerships, but with the exclusive participation of Mozambican rather than foreign companies, and based on the concept of “user pays” – that is, toll roads.
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