Mozambique News Agency

AIM Reports


No. 580, 18th June 2019







President Nyusi launches expansion of Tete water supply

President Filipe Nyusi on 10 June officially launched a project to expand the water supply network in the western city of Tete and the nearby town of Moatize. This expansion is planned to bring clean water to a further 100,000 people by the end of 2010. It will cost US$45 million financed by the World Bank. It is part of the WASIS II project, budgeted at US$165 million intended to expand water supply in Beira, Nacala, Tete and Moatize.

“The project will result in 20,000 new domestic connections which will benefit about 106,000 consumers in Tete and Moatize”, declared President Nyusi at the launch ceremony. He added that the project includes drilling 27 boreholes, building a mains pipeline from Tete to Moatize, and building a second pipeline from boreholes in the Revobue valley to Tete city.

The previous investments in the water supply were in 1995 in Tete and 2016 in Moatize. Population growth and the expansion of economic infrastructures has put pressure on water supply since 1995, such that the demand for water is outstripping the supply capacity. The current system provides 44,000 cubic metres of water a day. The new project will add a further 14,000 cubic metres a day.

President Nyusi said that this project, alongside the PRAVIDA (Water for Life) programme launched last year, means that the government is fully complying with the drinking water targets laid down in its five-year programme for 2015-2019. “As you can note, through concrete actions we are implementing our Five Year Programme”, the President added. “We intend to build a healthy Mozambique, through the expansion and improvement of the distribution of drinking water”.

President Nyusi also addressed rallies in Tsangano and Zumbo districts, where he stressed that unity is the determinant factor for the country to overcome the enemies of peace and development. He urged all Mozambicans to unite in the struggle against terrorist groups who are destabilising some areas in the northern province of Cabo Delgado. “My great appeal is for unity”, he declared. “We Mozambicans should not be distracted because there are those who do not like the growth and development of Mozambique. There are others who are envious. There are those who are greedy – they want everything for themselves. They may be Mozambicans or outsiders”.

President Nyusi said that, in his meetings with the public, he has received messages of encouragement to continue his efforts to achieve a definitive peace with the opposition party Renamo. He declared that the demilitarisation of Renamo and the demobilisation and disarming of its militia should be completed in August.

In Zumbo, the westernmost district in the country, President Nyusi said the government intends to build a road that will link Zumbo to the Indian Ocean. He also formally inaugurated the Zumbo secondary school, attended by around 800 pupils, taught by 26 teachers.



Inflation turned to deflation in May

Inflation has turned to deflation in Mozambique, as prices fell slightly in the main cities during May. According to the latest figures from the National Statistics Institute (INE), based on the consumer price indices of the three largest cities (Maputo, Nampula and Beira), inflation in May was minus 0.31 per cent.

Inflation for the first five months of the year was just 1.61 per cent, while the annual inflation (1 June 2018 to 31 May 2019) was 2.42 per cent.

The main price falls in May were for cabbage (a decline of 14.9 per cent), coconuts (9.6 per cent), tomatoes (eight per cent), charcoal (5.6 per cent), dried fish (2.6 per cent), fresh fish (1.7 per cent), and petrol (1.4 per cent).

There were several price increases over the month, notably for bread (6.2 per cent), maize flour (3.9 per cent), onions (1.9 per cent) and restaurant meals (0.9 per cent).

May was the first month in which prices fell since July 2018. The annual inflation figure has been dropping for the last two years. In May 2017, annual inflation was 20.45 per cent. A year later it was 3.26 per cent, and now it is down to 2.42 per cent.

There are variations between the three cities. The highest inflation in May was recorded in Nampula at 0.72 per cent, and the lowest in Beira, at minus 1.91 per cent. In Maputo, inflation was minus 0.25 per cent.

But in the five-month period since the beginning of the year, Beira had the highest inflation at 3.19 per cent, followed by Nampula (1.59 per cent) and Maputo (1.09 per cent). The higher inflation in Beira was doubtless in part due to the battering the city took from cyclone Idai, which ravaged it on 14 March.



Government and World Bank supporting irrigation

The Mozambican government and the World Bank are to invest US$57 million on the Project for the Development of Small Scale Irrigation and Market Access (IRRIGA).

Of this sum, US$55 million results from a grant approved by the World Bank in June 2018 for this project which will benefit 40,000 households in the central provinces of Manica, Sofala and Zambezia and the northern province of Nampula.

At the official launch of the project in Maputo on 14 June, Agriculture Minister Higino de Marrule said it will accelerate agricultural development. It will cover 5,500 hectares of irrigated land – 2,500 hectares of which will be rehabilitated irrigation schemes, while 3,000 hectares will be newly irrigated land. Also under this project, 200 government staff and 100 service providers, including NGOs, will be trained in the planning and provision of agricultural services.

The World Bank country director for Mozambique, Mark Lundell, said that financing IRRIGA is part of the Bank’s actions to support the country in diversifying its economy and agricultural marketing. “The World Bank has already financed various agricultural development projects in Mozambique”, Lundell said, “but with regard to irrigation, the first project in the last eight years was the project for the development of sustainable irrigation (PROIRRI), to the sum of over $70 million, with the participation of the Japanese government”.

He explained that IRRIGA intends to improve the work begun by PROIRRI, contributing to expanding the area under irrigation and increasing productivity. He added that the project also includes critical activities seeking to transform subsistence agriculture into market-oriented agriculture. “This includes training and supporting producers through matching grants so as to boost cultivation, production, productivity, added value and marketing”, Lundell said.

He also expected the project to contribute to reducing chronic malnutrition in beneficiary provinces. “IRRIGA will promote the production and consumption of crops with high energy, vitamin and mineral content, such as rice and vegetables”, said Lundell. “The training programmes envisaged will include aspects concerning food and nutrition that will allow the families of farmers to maximise the nutritional benefits of their products”.



World Bank support for post-cyclone water services

The World Bank on 14 June approved a grant of US$75 million from its Crisis Response Window as additional funding for the “Water Services and Institutional Support Project”, currently under implementation in Mozambique.

According to a World Bank press release, this money “will primarily be utilised in support of water-related emergency recovery efforts”. The funds will go towards water systems in cities and towns affected by cyclones Idai and Kenneth in March and April, including Beira, Dondo, Tete, Moatize, Nampula, Quelimane, Mocuba and Nacala.

“The project will fund water production and distribution infrastructure in the cyclone-affected cities, including expansion and refurbishment of wellfields, intake, and water treatment facilities, network rehabilitation and expansion, as well as leakage control systems to optimize the water supply service provision”, said the release. “These investments will enable the government to provide services to large numbers of people in low-income brackets of the population in the largest urban areas by reconstructing part of the cyclone damaged water supply infrastructures”.

It added that “these activities will increase water supply and reliability, as well as the country’s resilience to droughts and other extreme weather events”.

The Bank’s team leader for the project, water supply and sanitation specialist, Lizmara Kirchner, said “these cities have been badly affected by heavy rains and floods during cyclone Idai, damaging the existing wellfields and parts of the network. The project will rehabilitate critical infrastructure and restore the basic water supply services in the affected areas”.

The project, “is part of the World Bank’s broader regional post-cyclone recovery package which comprises a set of operations totalling some US$700 million to support cyclone response in Malawi, Mozambique and Zimbabwe”.

The money comes from the International Development Association (IDA), which is that part of the World Bank group which provides soft loans and grants to the world’s poorest countries, to boost economic growth and reduce poverty.



Renamo deny execution claims

Mozambique’s main opposition party, Renamo, has declared that Brigadier Josefa de Sousa, a member of the Renamo general staff, is alive and well. This was a direct denial of the claims by

Renamo dissident, Mariano Nhungo Chissinga, who held the rank of Major-General in the Renamo militia, that Sousa had been executed on the orders of Renamo leader Ossufo Momade.

Interviewed by the independent television station STV, after a rally he chaired in Beira on 15 June, the Renamo General Secretary, Andre Majibire, said that Sousa is currently living in a Renamo base in Cheringoma district, in the central province of Sofala, and would shortly be shown to the media. Ossufo Momade “is not an assassin”, stressed Majibire. “Renamo is a party of peace”.

Majibire also stated that Renamo “is united, contrary to what has been spread about by some commentators”. Reports to the contrary, he said, “seek to distract our electorate and Mozambicans in general from the main objectives of Renamo, which seek to carry Ossufo Momade to Ponta Vermelha (the presidential palace in Maputo) and to win the elections in all provinces”.

Majbire added that the demobilisation and disarming of the Renamo militia, and the integration of its members into the defence and security forces, or back into civilian society, is going ahead smoothly.

He said that the Commission on Military Matters, set up between the government and Renamo, is currently checking all Renamo bases, and delivering forms to all Renamo guerrillas so that they can indicate how they would like to be integrated into society.

The memorandum of understanding, signed by Momade and President Filipe Nyusi, Majibire added, envisaged setting up assembly points, where the Renamo fighters would gather, and then a selection would be made.

According to a report in the newssheet “Mediafax”, Majibire has asked the defence and security forces to disarm Chissinga and the other Renamo dissidents, whom he described as “deserters”. The “deserters” should not be allowed to disturb the peace process now underway, he said, but disarming them was the responsibility of the government’s forces and not of Renamo.

Majibire claimed there was “no obstacle” to the disarming and social reintegration of Renamo’s armed men, but the defence and security forces “should neutralise the deserters who wander around with guns”.



President Nyusi receives Chinese buses

Mozambican President Filipe Nyusi on 14 June received 100 buses from the Chinese government. The Yutong buses can carry 90 passengers and are equipped with state-of-the-art technology. They come with spare parts and accessories and a training course for Mozambican drivers and mechanics.

Addressing a crowd in the Maputo neighbourhood of Magoanine, President Nyusi said these buses are part of “Plan 1000”, launched by the government in May 2018, which envisages acquiring 1,000 buses to be distributed across the country in the current five year period.

The Chinese ambassador, Su Jiang, said the donation is the result of “the excellent relations of friendship and cooperation” between the two countries. He added, “in recent years, to honour the government’s programme … China has donated 152 buses to Mozambique”.

Transport Minister Carlos Mesquita said the new buses “represent some of the structural measures that the transport sector has been undertaking in close coordination with the municipal councils, with private operators and with other partners, seeking to ensure greater efficiency, comfort and safety in urban passenger transport in all the cities and towns of the country”. According to Mesquita, “Plan 1000” will make it possible to meet 90 per cent of the demand for passenger transport in the Greater Maputo Metropolitan Area, equivalent to 550,000 passengers a day. This compares with the capacity of only 60,000 passengers a day in 2015, at the start of the current government’s term of office.



EU confirms post-cyclone reconstruction aid

The European Union on 13 June confirmed that €300 million (about US$337 million) is available to assist Mozambique in reconstruction after cyclones Idai and Kenneth, which hit the country in March and April.

The EU ambassador to Mozambique, Antonio Gaspar, gave the guarantee in the city of Chimoio, during the 27th session of political dialogue between the EU and Mozambique.

The EU pledge was initially given in the international donors’ conference held in Beira on 31 May-1 June. The money will be spent on key sectors for reconstruction such as infrastructures and agriculture. Other areas for aid would be identified during the meeting, said Gaspar. “In this dialogue with the government and the business sector, we must find out what potential Mozambique has and see how this intervention can be undertaken. The objective is to help rebuild the country after the devastating effects caused by nature”, said Gaspar.

He added that a further concern was “strategies that seek to improve the business and investment climate, so as to increase the trade between Europe and Mozambique from a perspective of equality”.

Chimoio is capital of Manica province, and the EU hopes that local Manica businesses “will discuss how to intervene to improve productivity and the export of existing products to the European market and bring the goods the country needs”, said Gaspar. “That is our greatest expectation”.

For his part, Mozambican Foreign Minister Jose Pacheco said that political dialogue is an established platform between the government and the EU, consisting of the two sides sharing information about the political, economic and social situation in their countries”.

“Apart from sharing information, we shall also deal with the implementation of various projects underway in Mozambique with EU financing”, he continued, adding that the government also intended to present draft plans that might be eligible for further European funding.



Ethiopian Airlines to base operations in Beira

Ethiopian Airlines intends, in the near future, to move its base of operations in Mozambique from Maputo to the central city of Beira, according to the company’s representative in Mozambique, Daniel Tsige.

Tsige envisaged Beira as a transit airport, where people from Mozambique, or from neighbouring countries, could make connecting flights using Ethiopian Airlines. As from 25 July, he said, Ethiopian Airlines will start direct flights, three times a week, between Beira and Addis Ababa, using a Boeing 737-800 aircraft. This will be in addition to the existing flights between Maputo and Addis Ababa.

“Since Beira is geographically in the centre of Mozambique and has an airport in good condition, it can rapidly develop into a central connecting point”, said Tsige. He believed that people travelling to Mozambique from other countries would be able to take an Ethiopian airlines flight to Beira, and then take a flight on the company’s local subsidiary, Ethiopian Mozambique Airlines, to other Mozambican cities.

The new flights also meant that travellers from northern Mozambican cities such as Pemba would no longer have to fly first to Johannesburg before catching planes to other countries. They could cut their journey time by making their connection in Beira. “In the near future, we also intend to fly directly from Beira to the other countries of southern Africa”, said Tsige.



Maputo pledges to decarbonise

Maputo Municipal Council has declared its determination to speed up the “decarbonisation” of transport and to achieve the goal of “zero net emissions”. To this end, the Mayor of Maputo, Eneas Comiche, and the Portuguese Environment Minister, Joao Matos Fernandes, who is also the chairperson of the Transport Decarbonisation Alliance (TDA), signed in Maputo on 11 June a memorandum of understanding on promoting decarbonisation.

Comiche declared that in signing the memorandum “we are aware of the direct and indirect impact of climate change on cities. We are aware of the negative effects on human health, infrastructures and services, economic activities and social systems”.

He stressed that this was a major commitment by the Maputo municipality, which in coordination with the central Mozambican authorities, is promoting debate on climate change and decarbonisation.

“Local governments, who are in the front line in the struggle against climate change, are essential partners in achieving the objective of reducing the emission of greenhouse gases”, he said. Local governments were a level of intervention “to find solutions and to mobilise local stakeholders”.

The Portuguese minister said that Maputo is the first African city to associate itself with the Decarbonisation Alliance. He warned that without firm commitment and political will from all African countries, then emissions of greenhouse gases will continue to rise.

The Alliance, Fernandes added, fixes no rules, and imposes nothing on anybody. Instead, it is a body that encourages good practices so that public transport is undertaken by vehicles powered, not by petrol or diesel, but by gas, and later by electricity.

Public transport in cities such as Maputo, he said, should depend on new buses, and ones that produce lower emissions.



School desks for Nampula

The number of children in the northern province of Nampula who are obliged to sit on the floor in the province’s schools has been cut from 1.4 million to 200,000 over the past five years, according to the provincial director of education, Judite Mussacula.

Speaking at a provincial education planning meeting that ended on 8 June, she said that, during the five year period, the province acquired about 1.5 million desks. Of these, 90,000 came from wood seized in the drive against illegal logging, known as Operation Trunk.

“We took 1.2 million children off the floor”, said Mussacula – but there are still about 200,000 children in Nampula schools who have no desks.

In the rest of this year, she added, the Nampula education sector intends to acquire a further 58,000 desks, 40,000 of which will come from wood seized during Operation Trunk. The needs for the 2020 school year would be another 190,000 desks, “and we shall continue to make desks available for our children”.

The challenge now, she added, was to keep the desks in good condition. Otherwise, Nampula schools would risk returning to the previous situation, with the majority of the pupils sitting on the floor. “We are working with the communities to ensure that local teams exist that will look after the maintenance of these desks”, said Mussacula. The desks suffer great wear and tear from the pupil, “and at the end of the year, many are damaged. The school councils have the job of identifying artisans in the communities who can deal with the repair task”.

Mussacula told the meeting that cyclone Kenneth, which hit the northern coastal districts of Nampula on 25 April, had damaged 234 classrooms. “We’ve managed to restore about 170 of them”, she said. “In the other places we have tents, and classes are continuing normally”.

In addition to the provision of desks, Mussacula believed that giving the pupils a snack, and the spread of mother tongue teaching in the initial years of primary education was reducing the drop-out rate in the province. In 2017, 9.3 per cent of primary school pupils dropped out, but in 2018 the figure fell to 2.5 per cent, and she believed that this year “the percentage will drop still further”.

Nampula is the most populous province in Mozambique, with 5.76 million people, according to the 2017 census. It has a network of 2,294 state schools. 2,204 of these are primary schools, and there are only 90 secondary schools. In addition, there are five teacher training colleges and 1,578 literacy centres.



Water restrictions in Greater Maputo relaxed

The Mozambican authorities on 6 June announced a relaxation in the water supply restrictions in the Greater Maputo area. Maputo, the neighbouring city of Matola and Boane district are heavily reliant for their water on the reservoir behind the Pequenos Libombos dam. But for the past five years, the level of water in the reservoir has been at worryingly low levels.

The water from the Pequenos Libombos flows into the Umbeluzi river, on which stands the treatment station which provides clean water for the Greater Maputo Metropolitan Area. When the 2018-19 rainy season began last October, the Pequenos Libombos reservoir was just 25 per cent full – equivalent to 97 million cubic metres. But the rainy season brought little relief – indeed rainfall was so poor in Maputo province in late 2018 that by January 2019 the storage level in the reservoir had fallen to just 20 per cent.

Water was pumped to Maputo and Matola for just six hours a day. But now, according to the National Director of Water Resource Management, Messias Macie, speaking at a Maputo press conference, water will be supplied 15 hours or more a day.

What has made this possible is the agreement reached when President Filipe Nyusi visited Eswatini (formerly Swaziland) in March. He persuaded the Swazi authorities to release more water into the Mozambican part of the Umbeluzi basin, over and above the agreement between the two countries on sharing the basin.

This has allowed the amount of water stored in the Pequenos Libombos reservoir to rise to 122 million cubic metres – or 32 per cent of its capacity.

Macie said this was enough to allow an increase in the discharges from the dam to 2.65 cubic metres a second, providing enough water for the Umbeluzi treatment station to operate at full capacity

Not only will more water reach the taps of urban consumers, but the restrictions on the use of Umbeluzi water for agriculture have also been relaxed. Macie said that 0.3 cubic metres a second is now available for agriculture “which will be a relief for our colleagues producing various crops in that region of the Umbeluzi Basin”.



Government forces kill 26 insurgents

The Mozambican defence and security forces killed 26 insurgents in Nangade district in the northern province of Cabo Delgado on 13 June, according to a report in the news sheet “Carta de Mocambique”.

Citing unnamed sources in the defence forces, the report added that a further 13 insurgents were wounded. The insurgents are believed to be inspired by Islamic fundamentalism.

The clash occurred when forces from the operational post in the neighbouring district of Mueda mounted an ambush after local people had reported strange movements in the bush of Nangade. The paper’s sources claimed that not a single insurgent in the group escaped. The 13 who were wounded were taken to Mueda.

The defence forces also seized various types of weaponry and an unspecified amount of medicine and food from the insurgents.



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