Internationally mediated talks to end the war waged by the opposition
party Renamo resumed on 12 September, but there were no signs of
progress. The talks, beginning in a Maputo hotel in the late afternoon,
lasted for about four hours, but the government and Renamo delegations
did not sit at the same table. Instead, the mediators met with each
When the coordinator of the mediating team, the Italian Mario
Raffaelli, met with reporters, he merely said there had been “an
initial discussion” with the two sides.
“I have nothing to say”, he added. The mediators would work with the
two sides, but he could not say when the next meeting would be held.
Raffaelli refused to take any questions from the reporters.
The mediators are attempting to arrange a cessation of hostilities, but
Renamo has not budged from its position in August that the government
must withdraw its forces from the Gorongosa mountain range, near the
bush camp where Renamo leader Afonso Dhlakama has his headquarters.
Renamo was not offering to withdraw its own forces from anywhere, and
the government pointed out that it had the responsibility to protect
the population of Gorongosa from Renamo attacks.
Renamo did not even accept the mediators’ proposal for a demilitarised
corridor in Sofala province, which would allow the mediators access to
Dhlakama’s camp. To date, there have been no face-to-face meetings
between Dhlakama and the mediators.
There were changes in the government delegation for the talks.
President Filipe Nyusi has withdrawn from the government team the two
parliamentarians Edmundo Galiza-Matos Junior (spokesperson for the
parliamentary group of the ruling Frelimo Party) and Antonio Hama Thai
(who is also a former chief of staff of the armed forces). Nyusi has
replaced them with two jurists, Antonio Boene and Eduardo Chiziane.
The Mozambican police are stepping up their patrols on the road from
Cuamba to Marrupa, following the appearance of Renamo gunmen on the
road on 11 September, reports the Maputo daily newspaper “Noticias”.
According to the spokesperson for the Niassa Provincial Police Command,
Alves Mathe, the purpose of the increased security is to guarantee
freedom of movement, and ensure the protection of travellers and their
Renamo set up a road block on this highway. It stopped vehicles and
searched them, supposedly to check whether they were carrying any
soldiers or policemen.
Mathe described the road block as “an ambush” intended to prevent the
circulation of members of the defence and security forces in their
normal task of maintaining public order and tranquillity.
The road block lasted a for a few hours, and when the police appeared,
the Renamo gunmen, estimated to number about 30, according to one
eye-witness, slipped away into the bush. No-one was killed or injured
during the incident. The police say the situation has now been
Mathe urged people living along the road to remain vigilant and to
report to the authorities any anomalous situations which might “create
social instability among the communities”.
The prominent Mozambican saxophonist and composer Moreira Chonguica has
been nominated for an award by the All African Music Awards (AFRIMA)
for the song “Ngoma” from his recent album “Live at Polana Serena
The nomination is in the Best African Jazz category. The nominees for
all the categories are chosen by the African Union Commission (AUC) and
the AFIRMA jury.
Commenting on the nomination process, AFIRMA’s Matlou Tsotetsi stated,
“the urbane mix of African sounds in sync with modern tunes and works
that promote the positive image of Africa to the world, are some of the
guidelines the jury worked with during the screening and selection
Moreira Chonguica stated, “I am deeply honoured to have been nominated
for this award. I have huge respect for my fellow nominees in
The winner is chosen by public vote
(http://afrima.org/index.php/voting) which ends on 5 November. The
winner will be announced at a gala function in Lagos, Nigeria on 6
The Mozambican government is not opposed to an international forensic
audit of the country’s public debt, President Filipe Nyusi declared on
Speaking at a press conference that concluded his visit to the southern
province of Gaza, President Nyusi stressed: “at no time has any member
of the government said that a forensic audit was not going to be
“What we have been saying is that the cases are already under way at
the level of the Attorney-General’s Office and of the Assembly of the
Republic (the Mozambican parliament)”, he added. “So the authorities
The controversy arises over three government guaranteed loans to
quasi-public companies in 2013 and 2014, the closing years of the
government of President Nyusi’s predecessor, Armando Guebuza. Between
them, these loans amounted to over two billion US dollars and added 20
per cent to the Mozambican foreign debt.
One of the loans was public – this was the $850 million of bonds
launched on the European bond market by the Mozambique Tuna Company
The other two loans and their government guarantees were not disclosed,
either to the public or to foreign partners, notably the International
Monetary Fund (IMF). When the loans became public in April, the IMF
suspended its programme with Mozambique, including the second
instalment of a $283 million loan from the Standby Credit Facility
(SCF). Other partners followed – notably all 14 donors and funding
agencies that provided direct support for the state budget suspended
all further disbursements.
The main demand raised by the IMF, and echoed by Mozambique’s other
western partners, such as the United States and Britain, has been for
an international, independent, forensic audit which would track down
exactly what happened with all the money involved.
The President’s statement makes clear that the government has not
slammed the door on the possibility of a forensic audit. This may
become important in President Nyusi’s forthcoming visit to Washington,
where he is due to meet with IMF Managing Director Christine Lagarde.
The monthly inflation rate in Mozambique rose to 1.27 per cent in
August, according to the latest figures from the National Statistics
Institute (INE), based on the consumer price indices for the three
largest cities (Maputo, Nampula and Beira). This compares with an
inflation rate of 0.9 per cent in July and 0.76 per cent in June.
The accumulated inflation between January and August stands at 11.68
per cent, while the yearly rate (1 September 2015 to 31 August 2016) is
21.96 per cent.
The monthly inflation was mainly due to rises in food prices. In
August, the price of cooking oil rose by 10.3 per cent (after a rise of
7 per cent in July), of rice by 3.6 per cent, and of fresh or frozen
fish by 2.7 per cent.
There were also some significant rises for non-food items – the price
of soap went up by 10.3 per cent, of new cars by 8.4 per cent, and of
second-hand cars by 9.3 per cent.
There were slight declines in the prices of tomatoes, onions and
cowpeas. Taken together, they fell in price by 0.63 per cent.
Of the three cities covered by the survey, inflation was highest in
Maputo (1.75 per cent in August). Prices went up by 0.94 per cent in
Nampula and by 0.52 per cent in Beira.
The Nacala Integrated Logistics Corridor (CLN) hopes to move nine
million tonnes of coal this year from the Moatize coal basin in the
western province of Tete to the northern port of Nacala-a-Velha. This
coal is carried along a new railway, some 900 kilometres long, from
Moatize to Nacala-a-Velha which crosses southern Malawi.
Speaking on 9 September at the signing of addenda to the Nacala
Corridor lease contracts between the government, CLN and the Northern
Development Corridor (CDN, which is responsible for the older Nacala
port, on the opposite side of the bay to Nacala-a-Velha), CLN
chairperson Renato Torres said that the amount of coal moved to
Nacala-a-Velha could reach 14 million tonnes in 2017 and the maximum
capacity of 22 million tonnes a year in 2018.
The coal comes from the giant open cast mine in Moatize operated by the
Brazilian company Vale. CLN was initially set up by Vale (with 80 per
cent of the shares), and by the Mozambican publicly owned ports and
rail company, CFM (with 20 per cent). Subsequently, Vale sold part of
its holding to the Japanese company Mitsui.
The addenda to the lease agreements allows CLN to mobilise further
foreign investment (put at three billion US dollars) for the railway
and port to reach maximum capacity.
The coal trains running between Moatize and Nacala-a-Velha are the
longest in Africa, with four locomotives and 120 waggons. Unlike Beira,
the other port used by Vale to export coal, Nacala-a-Velha does not
need to be dredged. The port can receive ships of up to 180,000 tonnes,
and since coal exports began in January 48 ships have picked up coal.
Transport Minister Carlos Mesquita told the ceremony that the
conditions now exist to increase coal production at Moatize,
particularly in light of recent improvement in prices.
The signing follows a decision by the government in June that CLN and
CDN should be authorised to contract loans of up to three billion
dollars. Of this sum, $1.9 billion will be invested in Mozambique, and
the rest in Malawi.
The agreement does not create any financial obligation on the
government, since the risks of the operations will be the
responsibility of CLN, CDN and their shareholders.
The Mozambican government plans to set up an Industrial Free Zone in
the Revobue region of the western province of Tete, as part of a
strategy to establish industrial development poles. A decree on the new
free zone was passed on 6 September by the Council of Ministers
The government spokesperson, Deputy Health Minister Mouzinho Saide,
told reporters that the purpose of an industrial free zone is to
attract “structuring investments”, increase and diversify the country’s
exports, promote technological development, and create jobs.
The new free zone will lie between the districts of Chiuta and Moatize.
The anchor project will be an iron and steel factory, in which an
estimated $770 million will be invested.
Tete has two of the crucial components for making steel – deposits of
iron ore, and of high-grade coking coal. Coal mining in the province is
currently in crisis due to the collapse of coal prices on the
The Council of Ministers also extended for a further 25 years the
contract for joint management of the Gorongosa National Park, one of
the jewels in Mozambique’s wildlife crown, by the government and the
Carr Foundation of the United States.
The Mozambican government on 5 September launched a nutrition campaign,
intended to last for two years, and aimed at reducing the rate of
chronic malnutrition among children.
The target is to reduce the number of children under five years of age
suffering from chronic malnutrition from the current figure of 43 per
cent to no more than 35 per cent, the target figure mentioned in the
government’s Five Year Programme for the 2015-2019 period.
Speaking at the launch of the campaign in Maputo, Health Minister
Nazira Abdula said it is intended to guide and inform households about
the importance of breastfeeding infants, and transmit knowledge about
the components of a healthy and nutritious diet for older children.
Abdula promised that educational activities will be undertaken intended
to drive social and behavioural change. Channels to be used in the
campaign will include talks given in communities and places where there
are large concentrations of people, radio programmes and messages sent
by cell phone.
A specific nutritional theme will be introduced each month. This month
the theme is the diet required for small children. This will stress the
need, after six months of exclusive breastfeeding, to introduce other,
and varied foodstuffs, providing the child with an “adequate
complementary diet”, said the Minister.
“With this initiative, we hope to strengthen the interventions underway
and speed up the reduction in the nutritional problems that affect our
population”, added Abdula. Among the existing interventions
mentioned by Abdula is the National School Feeding Programme.
The government’s cooperation partners, represented by the United
Nations Children’s Fund (UNICEF) recognised the importance of the
campaign as the start of effective communication leading to social and
behavioural changes towards health and nutrition among communities and
The UNICEF representative in Mozambique, Marcoluigi Corsi, stressed
that these changes require a range of actions and efforts coming from
multiple sectors and stakeholders.
The cooperation partners, he said, “reaffirm their undertaking to
support the Mozambican government in reducing chronic malnutrition,
through integrated programmes of health, nutrition, water supply and
sanitation, benefitting the key interventions for child survival”.
Mozambique Airlines (LAM) has suspended the acquisition of new aircraft
and the opening of any further routes, because of the company’s
difficult financial situation.
Back in 2014, the company’s then Chief Executive Officer, Marlene
Manave, declared that LAM was acquiring three Boeing 737 Next
Generation aircraft, which would be delivered in 2015, 2016 and 2017.
First came a postponement, with the arrival of the first of the new
Boeings delayed until November this year, and now has come the
suspension of the entire deal. With no new aircraft, plans for LAM to
fly to the capitals of all member states of SADC (Southern African
Development Community) have also been put on ice.
Indeed, one of LAM’s existing regional routes has already been shelved.
In June, LAM suspended its flights between Maputo and Luanda, which
were making a heavy loss, and announced that they would resume “as soon
as market conditions make this possible”.
LAM chairperson Antonio Pinto de Abreu told reporters of the company’s
decisions on 5 September, during a meeting of the Consultative Council
of the government’s Institute for the Management of State Holdings
“LAM has decided to retreat from the decision to buy new aircraft
because it is unable to pay for these acquisitions”, he said. LAM had
already paid Boeing some money upfront, and Pinto de Abreu said
contacts with the American aircraft manufacturer are under way in an
attempt to recover this money.
Up to this year, the top management of LAM had presented the image of a
financially healthy company, but in reality it ran at a heavy loss.
Pinto de Abreu said that six months ago LAM had debts of $160 million.
The new LAM Board which he heads had set about tackling the debt and
had brought it down to $139 million.
“LAM is not in a healthy situation”, said Abreu. The accounts for 2015
“show the company has a deficit arising from structural motives”.
Among the problems was the nature of the LAM fleet. Past managements
had purchased several different types of aircraft (mostly Boeing,
Embraer and Bombardier), which meant the company needed to manage
accessories and spare parts for all these different makes and train
pilots and technical staff to handle them.
Reducing this diversity of aircraft, said Abreu, would reduce costs
because the same training could be given to all staff, and the aircraft
could be used in all of Mozambique’s airports.
The Emergency Operational Centre (CENOE), the operational arm of
Mozambique’s relief agency, the National Disaster Management Institute
(INGC), on 2 September guaranteed that it is monitoring the state of
the 1.5 million Mozambicans facing food insecurity because of the
severe drought in the southern and central provinces.
Speaking to reporters in Maputo after a meeting of the Technical
Disaster Management Council (CTGC), CENOE spokesperson Paulo Tomas said
that over the next three months, CENOE will be dispatching teams to the
drought-stricken provinces to assess the level of assistance needed and
whether it is appropriate to lift the “red alert”.
The government declared a red alert, the maximum state of disaster
readiness, on 12 April, initially for three months, but it was
“We shall monitor how matters have evolved on the ground, in terms of
the number of people affected by food insecurity, and we shall also
assess what may happen in the forthcoming rainy season”, said Tomas.
The rainy season begins in October, and Tomas insisted that the INGC is
well prepared to cope with any disasters that may occur.
The government says it has been able to assist a million flood victims
in the southern provinces of Maputo, Gaza, and Inhambane and the
central provinces of Manica, Sofala, Tete and Zambezia.
Between March and August, the government mobilised $103 million for
drought relief. This package includes not only food aid but also water
supply, the management of water resources and components for roads,
education, health and social welfare.
President Filipe Nyusi on 31 August appointed Rogerio Zandamela, a
senior official at the International Monetary Fund (IMF), as governor
of the Bank of Mozambique.
Zandamela takes over from Ernesto Gove, who leaves the central bank
after serving two five-year terms of office. Gove was appointed in 2006
and given a second term in 2011.
Zandamela is the Mozambican who has risen highest in the IMF, where he
has been working since 1988. He is currently head of mission for
Djibouti and Somalia, in the IMF’s department for the Middle East and
Central Asia. Over an IMF career spanning almost 30 years, he has also
been resident representative in Brazil, and head of mission in Armenia,
Costa Rica, Gambia, Guatemala, Liberia, Malaysia, Nicaragua, Peru,
Trinidad and Tobago and Zimbabwe. He holds a doctorate in economics
from the John Hopkins University in the United States.
Zandamela is well placed to repair the ties between Mozambique and the
IMF. Currently, the IMF’s programme with Mozambique is suspended as is
the second instalment of a $283 million loan from the Standby Credit
The suspension was in reaction to undisclosed government-guaranteed
loans of well over a billion dollars contracted in 2013-14, in the
closing years of the presidency of Armando Guebuza. The loans
became public knowledge in April and resulted in all Mozambique’s main
western partners suspending financial aid.
Zandamela takes over the helm at the central bank at a time of
increased inflation and sharp depreciation of the national currency,
the metical. The annual inflation rate has now reached around 20 per
cent, and so far this year the metical has depreciated by 34 per cent
against the dollar.
The Bank of Mozambique has depended heavily on increasing interest
rates in order to fight inflation. In late July it increased
the Standing Lending Facility (the interest rate paid by the commercial
banks to the central bank for money borrowed on the Interbank Money
Market) by 300 base points, from 14.25 per cent to 17.25 per
cent. This level of interest rates is unprecedented in recent
The Mozambican Attorney-General’s Office (PGR) has decided to remit to
the Justice Ministry a request from its Rwandan counterpart for the
extradition of 12 Rwandan citizens, believed to be living in
Mozambique, who are accused of crimes committed during the genocide of
So far there has been no reply to the Rwandan request because the PGR
can take no decision on the matter without government approval.
Once the Justice Ministry has taken a decision the dossier will return
to the PGR. If the decision is that the 12 should indeed be extradited,
then the PGR and the Supreme Court must take measures to locate them
and to send them to Kigali, to answer for the crimes of which they are
The 12 are believed to have entered Mozambique as refugees, but the PGR
fears it could prove difficult to find them as it is likely that they
have changed their addresses.
Recently the Rwandan Prosecutor-General Richard Muhumuza visited
Mozambique to strengthen, in person, the extradition request.
The Mozambican government guaranteed on 8 September that the price of
bread will remain stable until at least the end of the first quarter of
The Minister of Industry and Trade, Max Tonela, informed reporters that
the government and bakers have signed a protocol to stop any rise in
the price of bread.
The new protocol follows an agreement in July under which bakeries will
be compensated for increases in the price of their main raw material,
wheat flour. Thus the subsidy on wheat flour will remain in force until
at least next March.
Very little wheat is grown in Mozambique, and the bakeries are thus
overwhelmingly dependent on imported wheat, the price of which has
risen steeply because of the depreciation of the Mozambican currency,
the metical, which depreciated 59.3 per cent between July 2015 and June
Tonela added that the government is working with the Bank of
Mozambique, as the exchange authority, to ensure that sufficient
foreign currency is available to import essential goods that are
produced in insufficient amounts by Mozambique, and raw materials,
particularly for the food processing industry.
Maputo Municipal Council and the National Administration of
Conservation Areas (ANAC) hope to conclude the work to turn a former
arsenal in the outlying Maputo neighbourhood of Malhazine into an
ecological park by December.
The general director of ANAC, Bartolomeu Soto, announced this on 6
September when he signed a memorandum of understanding with the Mayor
of Maputo, David Simango.
Transforming Malhazine into an ecological park follows the removal of
all the weaponry, after the tragedy of 2007, when badly stored and
obsolete ammunition exploded, sending shells and other pieces of heavy
ordnance all over the city. 103 people died in the explosions and 515
The disaster prompted a long overdue decision to remove all arsenals
from urban areas.
The Municipal Council will take overall responsibility for Malhazine,
and the memorandum of understanding sets up a partnership between the
municipality and ANAC, with the latter providing expertise in the
management of biodiversity.
Animal species which used to exist in Malhazine before it became an
arsenal will be reintroduced
“We shall repopulate the area with wildlife”, said Soto. “First, we
shall contact our neighbours in South Africa and Zimbabwe, and with
them, we shall identify the species appropriate for introduction into