Mozambique News Agency

No.169, 24th November 1999


British monarch visits Mozambique

The British head of state, Queen Elizabeth II, and her husband, the Duke of Edinburgh, arrived in Maputo on 15 November for a visit of several hours to the Mozambican capital. The royal couple arrived from the South African city of Durban, where the Queen had attended the summit of Commonwealth heads of state and government.

On her arrival at Maputo airport, the queen was greeted by President Joaquim Chissano, Prime Minister Pascoal Mocumbi and other members of the government.

She was granted the military honours due to a head of state, and then drove straight to Maputo municipal council, where the mayor of the city, Artur Canana, offered her the keys of the city.

The royal visit marks the start of a "Mozambique-United Kingdom Partnership Week", promoting British investment.

Direct British private investment in Mozambique amounted to $134.6 million between 1985 and June of this year, making Britain the third largest investor in Mozambique, after South Africa and Portugal.

Both President Chissano and Afonso Dhlakama held brief courtesy meetings with the Queen.

Doubts raised over port agreement

The main stumbling block in the negotiations over privatising the management of Maputo port is financial, according to a report in the Maputo newsheet Meticalon 18 November.

The consortium that won the tender for the port management, headed by Britain's Mersey Docks and Harbour company, has been negotiating for over a year with the Mozambican government and with the publicly owned port and rail company, CFM, over financial issues - essentially over how much the consortium is prepared to pay for the annual lease of the port.

At the signing of a protocol on the port on 17 November, neither the head of the government's inter-agency commission, Abilio Portimao, nor Ken Wharton, the chairman of the consortium, was prepared to put a figure on the lease.

However, Metical has ascertained that the consortium's initial proposal was that it would pay just $750,000 a year for the lease, a proposal that CFM found entirely unacceptable.

The consortium argued that, since there is no guarantee of increased South African traffic through the port, the lease would have to be much cheaper than the Mozambicans wanted.

A lesser problem lies with Zimbabwe: because of that country's economic woes, Zimbabwean clients of Maputo port are behind with their payments.

In the ensuing negotiations, the British-led consortium gradually increased its offer: but each offer was rejected by CFM and the inter-agency commission as still too low.

The final consortium offer was a lease of $5 million a year, which still falls short of CFM's expectations.

CFM is obviously unhappy with the deal - to the extent that the chairman of its board of directors, Rui Fonseca, did not attend the signing.

A further difficulty lies with the Maputo-South Africa railway for which no private operator has yet been found. The South African rail company, Spoornet, put in a bid, but Portimao said that negotiations with Spoornet had broken down.

Metical reveals that this too was for financial reasons. Spoornet wanted to pay $50,000 a year for the lease to run the railway, a figure that was quite unacceptable to the Mozambican side.

Blanchard project cancelled

The Mozambican government has cancelled the controversial ecotourism project in the far south of the country, dreamed up by the late American businessman James Blanchard III.

Blanchard's vision included new hotels, golf courses, a floating casino, and even a steam railway running down the Matutuine coast. Spokesmen for Blanchard spoke of investing $800 million in the scheme. It was claimed that the project would create 10,000 jobs, and generate $25 million a year in revenue for the state.

The government gave the green light to the project in November 1996. Three years later the only visible work is some new fencing round the Maputo elephant reserve, which Blanchard's representatives costed at $3 million.

This is the second major project cancelled in Matutuine. The first was "Mosaflorestal", a scheme that would have turned 32,000 hectares of the district into a gigantic eucalyptus plantation, supplying cellulose to the South African paper industry. The idea horrified environmentalists since such a plantation would have wrecked wildlife habits in Matutuine.

President Chissano's campaign trail

President Joaquim Chissano ended his re-election campaign in his home province of Gaza on 19 November, with a rally in the provincial capital Xai-Xai, at which he contrasted the achievements of his government over the past five years with the "ignorance" and "lack of experience" of his opponent, Renamo’s Afonso Dhlakama.

Elections for both the Assembly of the Republic and the Presidency are to take place on 3-4 December.

The President cited the giant MOZAL aluminium smelter, under construction on the outskirts of Maputo, as an example of a major undertaking made possible by the government. The smelter, whith investment of $1.34 billion, should be producing at its full capacity of 250,000 tonnes of aluminium ingots a year as from 2001.

Other major industrial projects on the drawing board are the steel slabs factory projected for Maputo, and the iron factory in Beira.

The President noted that Renamo leaders are fond of talking about democracy, but are quite unable to practice democracy within their own party, which has never held a congress to elect its leadership. Furthermore, Renamo still maintained an illegal security force, in the districts of Maringue and Gorongosa, and even in Maputo.

As has occurred at many of the President's earlier rallies, in Xai-Xai former members of Renamo shared the platform with the President, and explained why they had abandoned Renamo and joined (or rejoined) Frelimo.

Forgive, but don't forget, urges President

President Joaquim Chissano urged a rally in Manhica on 17 November never to forget the crimes committed against the people during the war of destabilisation.

In Manhica, President Chissano's audience expressed their support for him and for Frelimo, recalling the atrocities committed during the war by the apartheid-backed Renamo rebels.

One of the women in the audience recalled that she was forced by "the matsangas" to eat human flesh. Throughout the countryside Renamo guerrillas were known as "matsangas", a word deriving from the name of their first leader, the Rhodesian agent Andre Matsangaissa. Others recalled the massacres at Taninga, on the main road to Maputo.

"It is necessary for the youngsters to know what happened so that there are no more wars, so that they will know how to appreciate peace", the President stated.

President Chissano then travelled by road to Gaza province where he addressed rallies in Macia and Chokwe.

He stressed that eradicating illiteracy and creating jobs will be among the government's top priorities in the next five years, if Frelimo wins the election.

He described illiteracy and unemployment as the main signs of poverty. The government had been working to overcome them during the last five years, and this will remain the Frelimo priority.

Speaking of the government's achievements in Manhica, Chissano noted that the number of schools in the district has risen from 27 to 67, the sources of clean water increased from 21 to 77, the number of health units grew from eight to 16, and the number of cattle doubled, from 4,000 to 8,000. He made a particular mention of the rehabilitation of the Maragra sugar mill and the building of the local Primary Teacher Training Institute.

Campaign hits Maputo province

President Joaquim Chissano resumed his campaign on 16 November, after a break of four days imposed by the Commonwealth summit, and the visit to Maputo of Britain's Queen Elizabeth II.

President Chissano toured the districts of Moamba and Boane, in Maputo province, and the industrial area of Machava on the outskirts of the capital.

He told his audiences that the level of the country's development would be "much better" had it not been for the obstacles caused by the "enemies of the Mozambican people" who destroyed schools, hospitals and factories.

Speaking in Shangaan and Ronga, President Chissano said that in all provinces one can see the rehabilitated social and economic infrastructures, particularly the main roads, schools and health units.

He noted that in five years, Mozambique has moved from being a net importer to a net exporter of maize, and it is now preparing to do the same with rice and sugar.

The President said that in the particular case of Maputo province, huge economic projects are underway, generating jobs, and reducing poverty. Among projects in Maputo province is the Maputo-Witbank toll-road.

Campaign taken to Renamo strongholds

President Chissano on 8 November carried his campaign into Gorongosa, long regarded as a Renamo stronghold.

One positive aspect of the visit was that while President Chissano was addressing a rally in Gorongosa town, Renamo was holding a meeting of its own, about 100 metres away, but no incidents were reported.

The president proved a much bigger draw than the local Renamo politicians. Around 5,000 people were in the crowd that cheered the President, while the Renamo gathering only attracted about 100 people.

Before arriving in Gorongosa, Chissano worked in the districts of Caia and Marromeu, on the south bank of the Zambezi. A sugar mill, sabotaged by Renamo in 1986, and now sold off to Mauritian interests, is under rehabilitation in Marromeu, and it is estimated that it will generate 5,000 jobs when it, and the adjoining plantation, are operating at full capacity, by the year 2003.

President Chissano also the reconstruction of the Marromeu-Beira rail line, prospection for natural gas, the projected construction of an iron smelter in Sofala, and the revival of the Marromeu game reserve.

In his campaign, President Chissano has been paying special attention to those districts that suffered most or had been occupied by Renamo during the war. Traditional leaders, in all districts he has visited, have been expressing their intention of voting for Chissano and the Frelimo party.

Afonso Dhlakama’s campaign trail

Renamo leader Afonso Dhlakama continued his presidential campaign on 18 November, when he flew to Cabo Delgado province.

Afonso Dhlakama stated on arrival that he was certain to win the December elections. He said the number of people who turned out to greet him at the airport in the provincial capital, Pemba, was larger than he expected, which he regarded as a sign of impending victory. "I'm already the chief", he declared.

Dhlakama said he had come to Cabo Delgado to reassure all demobilised soldiers that Renamo had their interests at heart. He referred specifically to "my Makonde brothers, who were the first to take up arms".

He was referring to the war for independence in which Makonde-speakers, who live in the northernmost districts of Cabo Delgado, along the border with Tanzania, played a major role in Frelimo's guerrilla army.

The daily newspaper Noticias asked Dhlakama if this meant he would visit the Makonde plateau, generally regarded as a Frelimo stronghold.

"That depends on the logistics", replied Dhlakama. "If I can obtain money for a helicopter. You saw what it was like in 1994 when we had everything for the journeys we wanted. But today you see how poor the Renamo-Electoral Union is".

Renamo has received almost a third of the $480,000 from the state budget made available for the political parties' campaigns, and more money is in the pipeline from foreign donors.

Questions have been raised about Dhlakama's insistence on using a helicopter, for it is possible to drive there from Pemba. There has been criticism of the Renamo candidate's campaign, and with campaigning ending on 30 November, Dhlakama has yet to cover seven provinces.

Dhlakama began his campaign almost a week later than the official starting date of 19 October. After his return from Gaza he dropped out of sight for ten days. He also disappeared from view for another couple of days after his courtesy meeting with Britain's Queen Elizabeth II on 15 November. Rumours have continued that the health of the presidential candidate may be poor. However, there are other suggestions that he is deliberately keeping a low profile for either political or monetary reasons.

Afonso Dhlakama admitted that he left the country for a period, but denied that he had not been "evacuated" for medical treatment, as the paper Domingo had claimed.

Talking to reporters on 9 November after a rally in the town of Maxixe, in the southern province of Inhambane, Dhlakama said he had visited South Africa and Swaziland "to unblock some logistical and financial problems".

Dhlakama admitted that during his visits to South Africa and Swaziland he had seen doctors, but said this was a purely routine precaution.

Noticias ignores Renamo ban

Despite an attempt on 11 November by Renamo to ban Noticias from its election rallies, the paper has every intention of continuing its coverage.

"Our position is that we cannot deprive the public of information", the paper's political editor, Jaime Cuambe, told AIM on 15 November.

Indeed, on 14 November Renamo leader Afonso Dhlakama held a rally in the Maputo suburb of Mafalala, and Noticias sent a reporter and a photographer there.

In some parts of the country, journalists are made to feel unwanted at Renamo rallies. Noticias reports that at a rally in Mocuba on 14 November, in Zambezia province, addressed by Renamo general secretary Joao Alexandre, members of the Renamo security force harassed reporters.

They insisted on inspecting what reporters from Noticias and the Beira daily Diario de Mocambique were writing in their notepads.

President accused of theft

Afonso Dhlakama on 14 November publicly accused President Joaquim Chissano of theft.

Addressing an election rally in the Maputo suburb of Mafalala, Dhlakama repeated the Renamo claim that President Chissano is stealing money from the state budget is order to wage his campaign to secure a further term in office.

Afonso Dhlakama demanded an audit of the state budget, and of the accounts of publicly owned companies in order to ascertain whether they have provided any funds for the campaigns of Chissano and Frelimo.

Frelimo general secretary Manuel Tome has pointed out that the state budget is closely watched by the IMF and the World Bank.

Dhlakama urged President Chissano to resign at once from the Presidency, claiming that "he is in no moral position to govern". He also described the government as "savage and inhuman", alleging that "the Frelimo regime creates, encourages and praises crime".

Dhlakama aims to wipe out President's gains

Afonso Dhlakama promised on 15 November to "undo" all the gains made by his rival in his campaigning in the central and northern regions of the country.

Speaking shortly after a meeting with the visiting British monarch, Queen Elizabeth II, Dhlakama boasted "I will undo in a minute all that Chissano gained in his two week electoral campaign... Here, in the south, we will share the votes".

Commenting on his talks with the Queen, he said "She encouraged us to keep going", if we are "to maintain peace, democracy, and development".

Dhlakama tried to dismiss the large attendance at President Chissano's final rally in the Beira suburb of Munhava. He claimed that the attendance of many thousands was "fictitious" because "all those people were brought by train from 200 or 300 kilometres away".

Dhlakama also criticised the fact that many people at Maputo airport and along the route to the city centre, to welcome the Queen, were wearing Frelimo campaign T-shirts. "That was wrong, because the Queen did not come on a party visit", said Dhlakama.

Election Round-up

Deputy denies abandoning Renamo

Celestino Bento, a Renamo parliamentary deputy, has denied press reports that he has abandoned Renamo and joined Frelimo.

Cited in Noticias on 10 November, Bento threatened to sue those who published this story. He claimed that no-one had contacted him to confirm the claim.

A week ago one Renamo deputy in Tete province, Felix Raposo Binda, publicly announced his defection from Renamo at an election campaign rally addressed by President Joaquim Chissano. He said two other deputies from Tete had also left Renamo, but did not name them.

The following day Noticias claimed that Bento was among the defectors. The Beira daily Diario de Mocambique named the three Tete deputies who had crossed over to Frelimo as Binda, Bento and Virgilio Chapata. But Binda was the only one who actually appeared at President Chissano's Tete rallies.

Carter Centre sends senior election observers

The American non-governmental organisation, the Carter Centre, plans to include three former heads of state in its mission to observe the general elections on 3-4 December.

The mission will be about 50 strong, and will include the founder of the centre, former US President Jimmy Carter, the former President of Botswana, Quett Masire, and the former President of Sao Tome and Principe, Manuel Pinto da Costa.

The Carter Centre is one of several international organisations invited by the National Elections Commission to observe the elections.

"These elections are an important part of the broader transition to democracy in Mozambique, and thus of great significance not only for Mozambique but for all of southern Africa," according to ex-President Carter.

Members of the mission will be deployed to all 11 provinces and will observe the voting process at a representative sample of polling stations on the election days.

The Center has been involved in the elections since August, when a Carter Center team visited Mozambique to observe voter registration.

Commonwealth observers

The Commonwealth has announced that it will send ten observers to the elections. The observer group will be led by Brandford Taitt, the former foreign minister of Barbados.

The team represents a wide range of political and electoral experience, including the chairman of the Kenyan electoral commission, S.M. Kivuitu, and the secretary of Nigeria's Independent National Electoral Commission, Alhaji Adamu Bawa Mu'azu.

UMO will support Dhlakama

The three party coalition UMO (Mozambican Opposition Union) on 16 November announced that it is backing Afonso Dhlakama in the presidential election.

UMO chairman Wehia Ripua told a press conference that, although UMO "is independent of any other political force", its national leadership had decided, "because we are in the opposition", to support Dhlakama.

UMO would therefore urge the electorate to vote for the UMO lists in the parliamentary election, but for Dhlakama in the presidential one.

In March 1999, after Dhlakama had publicly mocked UMO, Ripua wrote an angry communiqué declaring that the Renamo leader "behaves as if he were someone who has just come out of the caves".

Ripua now claimed that Frelimo and the National Elections Commission (CNE) "are doing all they can to damage opposition parties so that these cannot compete on a footing of equality".

His main complaint was that the CNE had allegedly delayed in disbursing state funding for the minor parties. The CNE denies this and says that campaigning funds were made available immediately after it had completed verifying the lists of parliamentary candidates.

UMO's secretary general, Vasco Momboya, corrected initial reports that the CNE had rejected UMO's list of candidates for the northern province of Nampula. He said that all the irregularities in the UMO lists were corrected on time, and the final correspondence from the CNE, dated 6 November. shows that the UMO lists for all 11 provinces have been accepted.

CNE excludes FUMO from Electoral Union

The National Elections Commission (CNE) has excluded from the election the Mozambique United Front (FUMO), which is a member of the "Electoral Union" coalition set up by Renamo, after finding that its affiliation to the coalition was irregular, reports "Noticias" on 19 November.

However, FUMO secretary general Jose Samo Gudo reacted angrily to the CNE decision, and plans to appeal to the Supreme Court against the decision.

A CNE source told reporters that the CNE had to review the circumstances under which FUMO joined the coalition, after the former President and founder of the party, Domingos Arouca, filed a complaint to the CNE.

Arouca had been vehemently opposed to FUMO joining a coalition on terms dictated by Renamo. He thought it unprincipled to attempt to enter parliament on the coattails of another party, and resigned from the FUMO leadership over the issue.

Arouca argues that the decision to join the "Electoral Union" was against the Party's statutes, since the decision was taking at a meeting of the FUMO National Council at which half of its 30 members were absent, and other people, who were not members of the Council, were present.

The CNE has effectively found in favour of Arouca, concluding that Fumo's membership of the "Electoral Union" was irregular.

The CNE said that FUMO members who are on Renamo-Electoral Union parliamentary lists could remain there, but as individuals, rather than as FUMO representatives, if that was acceptable to the coalition.

Cited by Radio Mozambique, Renamo leader Afonso Dhlakama immediately declared that the FUMO members would stay on the lists in their individual capacities.

Thousands may be deprived of right to vote

Thousands of registered voters who will be on duty at the polling stations during the general elections on 3-4 December may be deprived of the right to vote.

Those likely to be disenfranchised include the polling station staff themselves, political party polling station monitors, policemen guarding the ballot boxes, and journalists covering the elections.

The deputy general director of the Electoral Administration Technical Secretariat (STAE), Ratxide Gogo, said on 18 November that those citizens may lose their right to vote because the Mozambican electoral law categorically establishes that "any voter can only vote where he or she was registered".

During the 1994 elections, polling staff, monitors and policemen were allowed to vote wherever they were posted, regardless of where they had registered.

But the law has been changed since then. Its inflexibility is such that it would seem to rule out absolutely any possibility of a voter casting his vote at a place other than where he was registered.

Gogo said that STAE had made a proposal to the National Elections Commission (CNE), the independent body in overall charge of the elections, for these voters to be allowed to exercise their right, but this institution turned it down describing the situation as "highly controversial".

According to Gogo, the CNE thought that voters from one constituency could influence results in another, where they had not been registered.

Election results will be announced promptly

The chairman of the National Elections Commission (CNE), Jamisse Taimo, pledged on 12 November that the results of December's general elections will be announced in accordance with the time frame established in the country's electoral legislation.

The law states that, within 48 hours of the close of polls, the district election commissions must send all the results from the polling stations to the provincial commissions.

For their part the provincial commissions must announce the results within seven days of the end of voting. The CNE must announce the final national results within 15 days of the close of polls.

Violent clashes in Zambezia

Violent clashes between supporters of Frelimo and Renamo in the Zambezia province on 9 November left ten people injured, three of them seriously.

The violence broke out in the town of Errego, capital of Ile district, about 300 kilometres from the provincial capital, Quelimane.

Among the injured is the Frelimo first district secretary, Antonio Valentim, who lost two teeth. The two most seriously injured people were evacuated to the Zambezia provincial hospital in Quelimane. Four others, all women, are undergoing treatment in the Ile district hospital.

At the scene of the clashes, the injured received medical help from a well-known doctor, Idelfonso Domingos, a former director of the Maputo Central Hospital, who was campaigning for Frelimo when the violence broke out.

According to information from eye-witnesses, all the ten injured people are members and sympathisers of Frelimo.

The clashes coincided with the arrival in Errego of the Renamo general secretary, Joao Alexandre.

The deputy head of the Frelimo election campaign in Zambezia, Deputy Defence Minister Antonio Hama Thai, made an emergency visit to Errego on 10 November, where he attacked "the violence sponsored by Renamo during its campaign".

But he also criticised the police, accusing them of merely watching the violence. He said that, 15 hours after the clashes, the police had still done nothing to identify the ringleaders. The Errego police commander, however, claims his men did all they could to avoid the clashes.

According to the Zambezia provincial police commander, Fernando Saete, the violence broke out when rival Frelimo and Renamo demonstrations crossed each other's paths on the main street in Errego.

The Frelimo demonstrators retreated to the local Frelimo offices, which are on the main street, but were pursued by the Renamo mob, which then stormed the party premises.

Saete said the provincial police command has sent a team to Errego to take evidence from the injured so that the ringleaders of the attack can be identified and detained. He accused a leader of the Renamo Youth League of heading the rioters, and said he should be detained for questioning.

Rest of the news

First stone laid for Chinese business centre

The first stone for the building of a Chinese Investment Promotion Centre was laid in Maputo on 18 November, and work on the building is to start within four months.

The construction of this 12 storey centre, which is to comprise offices, exhibition rooms and residences, is part of a drive to strengthen the economic relations between Mozambique and China.

Economic cooperation between China and Mozambique has been growing over the last two years. Recently, Chinese companies completed construction of a new building for the Mozambican parliament and launched the foundation stone for a new headquarters for the Mozambican Foreign ministry.

China has also signed an agreement for the building of a military neighbourhood in Maputo, to accommodate officers in the Mozambican Defence Force (FADM). This work is to start soon, and is expected to be completed within two years.

Another project, involving Chinese interests in Mozambique, is for agriculture and fish farming, in the Sofala province, costing an estimated $10 million.

Milange ban on Maize exports denied

The Ministry of Industry, Trade and Tourism has denied a report published by "Mediafax" on 4 November, according to which the local authorities in the central district of Milange have banned the export of maize to Malawi.

According to Mediafax, the district government claimed the measure was to preserve stocks, but local farmers were far from pleased, since Malawi is the only available market for their surplus crops.

But on 15 November Mediafax published a letter from the Ministry categorically denying the story. The letter said that the Ministry had checked the story through contacts with the Zambezia Provincial Directorate of Industry, Trade and Tourism, and with the Milange district administration, and had reached the conclusion that it was entirely false.

"The export of maize to Malawi is not forbidden by the local administration", said the letter. "In fact, it is promoted and encouraged". Export of agricultural produce over the border "continues to be undertaken normally, and at no time has it been interrupted", the ministry added.

It pointed out that in September the Deputy Minister of Industry, Trade and Tourism, Abilio Bichinho, visited Milange, and later sent a ministry technical team to the district to help local traders register themselves as exporters.

Despite this, Mediafax is sticking with its story, and added an editorial note claiming that the administration had "retreated".

Mining news

World Bank to assist with railway repair

The World Bank has promised a loan of $100 million to help finance the reconstruction of the railway linking the port city of Beira to Malawi and to the coal mines of Moatize, in the western province of Tete.

"We have guarantees that the World Bank will provide $100 million for the reinstatement of the Dondo-Moatize railway", said Rui Fonseca, the chairman of the board of directors of the publicly-owned Mozambican railway company (CFM).

He estimated that the money necessary for the whole job amounts to $300 million, and Mozambique is currently negotiating with Spain, Australia and Canada, to raise the remaining amount.

Fonseca added that reconstruction should start soon, but depends on mine clearance yet to be undertaken along the railway.

A source in the National Demining Commission estimates that about $2 million is needed for the demining work along the 580 kilometres of the Moatize line.

The reconstruction will be in stages, starting with the 254 kilometre stretch between Moatize and Mutarara, in Tete, where it connects with the line branching into Malawi.

This railway was comprehensively sabotaged by the then apartheid-backed Renamo rebels in the 1980s. It is the only one of the country's major rail lines that has not yet been rehabilitated.

For Mozambique, the line is crucial since it provides the most economic way of moving Moatize coal to port. But from a regional point of view the line is significant because it provides southern Malawi with its cheapest and quickest outlet to the sea.

Graphite mine paralysed over tax dispute

The graphite mine at Ancuabe, in Cabo Delgado province, is paralysed because of a tax dispute between the government and the Irish company Kenmare that operates the mine, reports Noticias on 12 November.

Kenmare, the paper says, is demanding exemption from fuel tax and from Value Added Tax (VAT), on the grounds that costs of production are very high and the world market price of graphite has recently fallen by 50 per cent.

The Ancuabe mine has the reputation of producing the highest quality graphite in the world. At the time the mine shut down, in early October, it was producing 600 tonnes of graphite a month.

The Cabo Delgado provincial director of Mineral Resources and Energy, Tome Madebe, told the paper the government would have to look for another partner to operate the mine, since he did not think Kenmare would be resuming operations.

Coal to be exported to Nigeria

Mozambique may soon start exporting cooking coal to Nigeria, and importing oil from this country, reports Noticias on 8 November.

Minister of Mineral Resources and Energy, John Kachamila, told reporters that following a meeting between Prime Minister Pascoal Mocumbi and Nigerian Energy and Steel Minister

Chief Bola Ige, Mozambique has enough reserves to satisfy Nigeria's needs of four million tones of coal a year. This is the estimated quantity that Nigeria needs to develop its booming steel industry.

"There are nearly three billion tonnes of coal at Moatize (in the western province of Tete). The problem will be production capacity", said Kachamila. "At the initial stage, Moatize will produce about 3.5 million tones a year, thus we will not have the necessary capacity in the beginning, but over time I think that we can replace any further imports that Nigeria will need".

He added "we have also explained that we are a bit behind with the project, because of the problem of the railway, for which we are still seeking funds which are not yet guaranteed". Kachamila was referring to the Sena line, the railway that runs from the port of Beira to Moatize, with a branch into Malawi.

Currently Mozambique consumes about 300,000 tonnes of refined fuels per year, "but this figure will rise substantially, and we must be prepared to have sufficient fuel at any time", said Kachamila. Within the next five years fuel consumption could rise to 600,000 or even 800,000 tonnes a year, he warned.

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