Mozambique News Agency
Participants at the “Crescendo Azul” (“Growing Blue”) international conference have committed themselves to promoting good practices for a sustainable blue economy. The conference, which was held over two days in the coastal resort of Vilankulo, in the southern province of Inhambane, took place in a hybrid format due to the continuing restrictions caused by the Covid-19 global pandemic. About 1,500 delegates from around the world attended in person and virtually, including academics, politicians, representatives of governments and states, and non-governmental organisations.
The event, held under the theme “Sustainable and Shared Governance of the Sea”, was opened on 23 November by President Filipe Nyusi, who stated, “in organising this international conference that we call ‘Growing Blue’, we are doing so not just as a platform for dialogue, through which we are joining the global movement, but also to express the desire, together with our neighbours in the western Indian Ocean region, to contribute to an ever better future for our planet”.
The participants took part in intense debates regarding the future sustainability and governance of the oceans, scientific innovations, ocean routes, and energy. In particular, discussions of a technical-scientific nature were held within the context of the lives of the local communities who hold an essential role in protecting the health of the oceans and their marine aquatic ecosystems.
In her speech at the event’s closing ceremony, the Minister of the Sea, Inland Waters and Fisheries, Augusta Maita, said that the conference showed, through the high quality of the debates, that it had joined the other world platforms that have seriously discussed the issues faced by oceans.
She continued, “it is with great pride and joy that after two days of interactive work between the participants from different countries and organisations we can see that our expectations have been surpassed”.
Maita pointed out that, through this large event, Mozambique has actively contributed to the search for solutions to the problems faced by the oceans such as illegal fishing, plastic waste deposited in the sea, pollution, and other evils that threaten the preservation and conservation of the ecosystems.
She concluded that the commitments made by everyone at the conference will contribute to the achievement of the Sustainable Development Goals through the blue economy.
The conference ended with a promise to hold the third Crescendo Azul conference next year (the first conference was held in 2019). This will be in alignment with a conference to be held in June next year by the United Nations in Lisbon, Portugal, which will support the implementation of UN Sustainable Development Goal 14: “Conserve and sustainably use the oceans, seas and marine resources for sustainable development”. That conference will be convened jointly by Portugal and Kenya.
Mozambique has a coastline that extends for 2,700 kilometres and contains vital ecosystems such as mangrove forests which play a critical role in preventing coastal erosion and providing a habitat that acts as a nursery for many marine species. Over sixty per cent of the country’s population live in coastal areas, and with many of these relying on the ocean for their livelihood it is essential that they take on the role of guardians of nature.
For this reason, Mozambique’s government is drawing up a national strategy for the development of the blue economy, which is due to be completed in December. This will cover fishing and aquaculture, the extractive industries, the hydrocarbon sector, and tourism, and will cover the country’s objectives up until 2030. It will also provide the framework for the integrated regional plan for maritime security.
The SADC (Southern African Development Community) Mission in Mozambique (SAMIM) on 23 November announced that, in support of the Mozambican Armed Forces (FADM), it launched an offensive operation on 18 November during which eleven terrorists were killed.
The Mozambican security forces are making steady progress in dislodging islamist terrorists from pockets of the northern province of Cabo Delgado where the terrorists have caused enormous economic damage and human misery. These advances have been supported by both SAMIM and the Rwandan armed forces.
According to a SAMIM communique, nine of the terrorists were killed in an exchange of fire in Macomia District whilst two were killed in Nangade District where their base was captured and destroyed.
It revealed that “amongst the dead are two of the Al Sunnah wa Jama'ah terrorists’ operational commanders, namely Rajabo Fiquir and Abu Quitali” (Al Sunnah wa Jama'ah is one of the names used by the islamist terrorist group, who are also known as ISIS and Al-Shabab).
SAMIM added out that during this operation various weapons were seized including RPG 7 launchers, PKM machine guns and AK47 rifles, grenades, and electronic devices. SAMIM added that its forces “continue to dominate and pursue the insurgents in the operational area as they have now been dislodged from their main bases south of the Messalo River”.
SAMIM reported that no casualties were sustained by its forces.
In a separate incident, members of FADM killed two terrorists in Nangade district.
Despite the success of FADM and its allies in dislodging the terrorists from their bases, attacks are continuing in small pockets of the province. According to a report on 17 November in the news sheet “Carta de Mocambique” terrorists murdered eleven people on 12 November during attacks in Mueda and Macomia districts. The paper’s sources say that three people were killed in the Mueda village of Nachitenje when a group of about 30 men, armed with machetes and firearms. The gang also stole foodstuffs, burnt down houses and took an unspecified number of people hostage. They ambushed a motorbike taxi, murdered the driver, and stole his vehicle and his money.
Terrorists then attacked three villages in the Mueda administrative post of N’Gapa. But here they met with resistance from Mozambican and Rwandan forces who killed three of the attackers, including one described as a child soldier. In Macomia district, the terrorists murdered seven people in Nanjaba village, including a child, burning them alive. Local sources said the terrorists burnt down huts and looted the villagers’ property, particularly foodstuffs.
Also in Macomia, the defence and security forces, assisted by local militias from the villages of Quinto Congresso, Nova Zambezia and Nova Vida, killed 15 terrorists on 11 November. One Mozambican soldier was killed, and three others were wounded in these clashes, said the paper.
Russia has expressed its willingness to train Mozambique’s defence and security forces to respond to terror attacks that have internally displaced over 800,000 people in the northern province of Cabo Delgado.
The offer was made on 17 November in Maputo by Russia’s Deputy Foreign Minister, Mikhail Bogdanov, after a meeting with Prime Minister Carlos Agostinho do Rosario.
“Our anti-terrorism cooperation with Mozambique can be developed into capacity building for the Ministry of Defence as well as the Interior Ministry,” said Bogdanov, who is also Russia’s Special Presidential Representative for the Middle East and Africa.
Anti-terrorism cooperation with Mozambique, he indicated, might include other African countries, and would comply with international law.
Regarding the cooperation between the two countries in the exploration of natural resources, Bogdanov stated that Russian companies are interested in establishing contacts with the Mozambican government.
Bogdanov, who also held a bilateral meeting with Mozambique’s Foreign Minister, Veronica Macamo, told reporters he was quite confident that a mutually acceptable solution could be found to the dispute between the Mozambican State and the bank VTB, which is mostly owned by the Russian government. He was referring to the loans made by VTB and by Credit Suisse, totalling over US$2 billion to three security-related Mozambican companies – Proindicus, Ematum (Mozambican Tuna Company) and MAM (Mozambique Asset Management). The loans were only possible because of illegal loan guarantees issued by the previous government, under former President Armando Guebuza. Mozambique is fighting through courts in London to have the guarantees, and hence the loans, entirely cancelled.
The US company Ethos Asset Management Inc on 19 November announced that it will invest US$400 million in the construction of a deepwater port at Macuse, in the central province of Zambezia.
This is a financing partnership with Thai Mozambique Logistica (TML) which holds the concessions on the proposed port at Macuse, and on a new 639 km long railway to be built from Chitima in Tete province, across the Moatize coal basin, to Macuse.
Building the port and the railway will cost US$2.7 billion (about US$1.9 billion for the railway and US$800 million for the port). Rolling stock and port equipment is estimated at a further US$500 million.
According to Ethos Asset Management the port “will handle a multi-product cargo such as wood chips, fertilizer, grain, and fuels, and be capable of accommodating vessels of 65,000 DWT capacity”. It expects this cargo to reach Macuse by road as the rail corridor to Macuse will be “a later development”.
The British government on 22 November announced that Mozambique has been added to the list of countries with approved proof of Covid-19 vaccination for travel to England.
In October, the UK government removed Mozambique from the red list of countries that have the highest level of Covid-19 travel restrictions. These restrictions were put in place on countries where the UK authorities held concerns over the spread of variants of the coronavirus that causes Covid-19.
However, for travellers from Mozambique barriers remained. The major hurdle was that the UK did not recognise Mozambican documentation as proof that people were fully vaccinated. As a result, fully vaccinated travellers still needed to take expensive tests.
The situation was further improved when Britain decided to recognise the vaccines on the World Health Organisation's Emergency Use Listing. In October, only four vaccines had been approved by the UK government: Oxford/AstraZeneca, Pfizer BioNTech, Moderna, and Janssen. This included the AstraZeneca Covishield version, manufactured in India, that has been used in Mozambique but did not include Chinese vaccines. Under the latest update to regulations the Sinovac-CoronaVac, Sinopharm Beijing, and the Indian Covaxin have been added to the list of approved vaccines. In addition, all under-18s coming to England will now be treated as fully vaccinated at the border.
As a result of these changes, travel from Mozambique is now both cheaper and more convenient. Passengers who have been fully vaccinated and have received their vaccine certificate are not required to take a pre-departure test, day eight test, or self-isolate upon arrival. Instead, passengers will just need to pay for a lateral flow test two days after their arrival.
Whilst the current level of Covid-19 is very low in Mozambique, where no new cases were reported on 21 November, in Britain the number of confirmed cases on 22 November stood at just under 45,000 which represents a ten per cent increase in a week.
The Maputo Special Reserve, a wildlife conservation area, in the southern province of Maputo has over the last four years seized 3,000 snares both inside and outside the boundaries of the reserve.
A press release issued by the Peace Parks Foundation states that patrols have been beefed up along with inspection of the reserve’s fence following the death of one of the four cheetahs reintroduced in October 2021. The cheetah broke through the reserve’s fence and got caught in a snare 4.3 km outside the park’s boundary.
Over the past decade, a rewilding programme under a partnership deal between Mozambique’s National Administration for Conservation Areas (ANAC) and its partners and donors has seen more than 5 000 animals reintroduced into the reserve.
South African Airways (SAA) has announced that it will suspend its daily flights between Johannesburg and Maputo due to a lack of demand.
According to a press release from SAA, the decision is effective from 1 December and passengers holding tickets will be reallocated to flights operated by Mozambique Airlines (LAM) or given a full refund.
SAA’s interim executive for commercial operations, Simon Newton-Smith, explained that “when SAA resumed operations at the end of September, we committed to constantly monitor passenger volumes and revenue on all routes. Demand on this service has not met expectations and for the time being, this change is in line with our strategy of being a transparent management and fiscally responsible”.
He added, “No airline likes to cancel flights, but we are committed to the success and sustainability of our airline, whilst we meet our valued customer requirements. We apologise to customers for any inconvenience and full assistance will be provided to all customers holding an SAA ticket on flights that are withdrawn from the schedule”.
The publicly owned Mozambique Airlines (LAM) has announced that on 19 December it is resuming flights between Maputo and the Zimbabwean capital, Harare.
Flights between the two cities were suspended in March 2018
The direct flights will run on Wednesdays, Fridays, and Sundays and will be operated by the LAM subsidiary Moçambique Expresso (MEX). Departures from Maputo are at 12.30 whilst the return flights are at 14.40.
In another development, Air France has announced its decision to delay once more the introduction of flights between Paris and Maputo which had been due to begin operation on 2 December. This route will now only become operational on 27 March next year.
The flights had first been scheduled to begin in June, before being delayed until October. All the delays have, in part, been due to the ongoing Covid-19 pandemic.
The flights will be an extension of the Paris to Johannesburg route, departing from the French capital on Sunday and Thursday nights at 23.25. These will arrive in Maputo the following afternoon at 13.10. The return flights will depart from Maputo at 15.45 and will arrive at Charles de Gaulle airport in Paris at 05.45 the next morning.
Other flights can be arranged with Air France through the airline’s partnerships with the national airline LAM and the South African based company Airlink.
Currently, the only European company operating flights to Maputo is the Portuguese national airline TAP. Turkish Airlines had been running a service, but this has been suspended.
The floating platform to be used in the production and export of Liquefied Natural Gas (LNG) in the Coral South gas field off the coast of the northern Mozambican province of Cabo Delgado has begun its voyage from South Korea to Mozambican waters.
President Filipe Nyusi and his Korean counterpart, Moon Jae-in, on 15 November attended the christening ceremony for the floating LNG platform built by Samsung Heavy Industries. The platform has been named the Coral-Sul FLNG and was constructed after Samsung won the US$2.5 billion deal in 2017.
President Moon Jae-in said at the ceremony at the Samsung Heavy Industries’ shipyard in Geoje, “the world is focused on LNG. It has the lowest carbon emission among fossil fuels, and with its high power generation efficiency, LNG is the best low-carbon energy source to replace coal and crude oil”. He added, “LNG that will be mass-produced by Coral-Sul FLNG will be of great help on the journey to global carbon neutrality”.
Samsung Heavy built the FLNG facility under a consortium with engineering companies Technip from France and JGC from Japan. The Coral Sul gas field is being developed by a consortium headed by the Italian energy company ENI. The floating platform has the capacity to produce 3.4 million metric tonnes of LNG per year.
The platform is 414 metres long, 65 metres wide and 39 metres tall. It is an integrated unit that will extract, liquefy, store, and output its production. It also has a residential complex capable of hosting about 350 employees.
ENI discovered the Coral South gas field in May 2012. It is estimated to contain about 16 trillion cubic feet (TCFs) of gas.
President Filipe Nyusi on 22 November began a three-day state visit to neighbouring Malawi.
Speaking in the capital city Lilongwe, during a ceremony to launch the fifth annual Southern African Development Community (SADC) industrialisation week, President Nyusi stressed that Mozambique will continue to be the strategic access link for the Malawian economy through the facilitation of the flow of people and goods between the two countries.
The President pointed out that this is being achieved through continuous improvements to the port systems of Nacala in the north of the country, Beira in the centre, and Maputo in the south. He revealed that during his visit he will discuss with his Malawian counterpart, Lazarus Chakwera, improvements in the cross-border flows.
President Nyusi said that President Chakwera often calls him to enquire about the situation in the port of Beira because of concerns about the need for goods to move faster. “This is why”, he said, “in my delegation, I am bringing railway experts, and we are going to discuss how to facilitate the flow of goods to Malawi, and from Malawi to Beira”.
He argued that, at a time when the SADC region and the world are recovering from the effects of the Covid-19 pandemic which caused an economic recession on a global scale, it is essential to accelerate the implementation of the regional industrialisation project.
The first strategy for regional industrialisation, he noted, includes developing synergies linked to value chains, transport corridors, energy, and human potential. It will also involve bringing down barriers at the border to strengthen the economic identity of SADC. According to President Nyusi, the impact of this strategy will be amplified through changes to the trade balance as exports are increased and imports substituted.
The second strategy is based on developing technology, employing thousands of people, creating a market to absorb agricultural surpluses from the rural population with a particular focus on women, agro-processing and associated logistics, which, he said, ends up becoming a “powerful weapon” for the well-being of the population and combating poverty.
The SADC industrialisation week is an annual public-private platform to foster new opportunities for intra-African trade and investment. The theme for this year is “Bolstering Productive Capacities in the Face of Covid-19 Pandemic for Inclusive, Sustainable Economic and Industrial Transformation”.
President Nyusi also received the key to the city of Lilongwe in a ceremony at the Town Hall. In his acceptance speech, he said, “We accept this key to the city as a clear and unequivocal manifestation of the trust you place in me as President of the Republic of Mozambique”.
The Embassy of Argentina in Maputo has announced that the Argentine government is donating to Mozambique 450,000 doses of the AstraZeneca vaccine against Covid-19.
According to an embassy press release, this is the largest single donation of vaccines received by Mozambique, and the first consignment sent by Argentina to other countries. “Argentina is part of a global system of reciprocity set up to donate vaccines, to reduce the levels of infection and the effects of the global Covid-19 pandemic”, said the release. “This is an international mechanism which, during the recent G20 summit was mentioned by the countries involved as an effective response of solidarity against the pandemic”.
The embassy added that Argentina has offered vaccines to several other countries that are facing an urgent need for more vaccines and has received a favourable response from ten countries in addition to Mozambique.
After receiving over seven million doses of vaccine, which has allowed it to speed up its vaccination programme, giving full protection to much of the population, Argentina says it can now afford to donate vaccines to countries in greater need.
The release says that the Argentine authorities are motivated by principles of solidarity and fraternity with the Mozambican people and with other countries that require the vaccine. “This donation of AstraZeneca vaccines will contribute to the vaccination objectives that Mozambique has established”, said the release.
The Mozambican government’s target is to vaccinate about 16.8 million people. Excluded from the vaccination are pregnant women and children under 15 years of age. According to the latest figures from the Health Ministry, the number of people fully vaccinated against the disease now stands at 3,324,849, and 6,158,360 have received at least one dose of the vaccine.
Mozambique’s has been admitted into the Kimberley Process (KP) which is an international certification scheme that regulates the trade in rough diamonds, preventing the flow of conflict diamonds while helping to protect legitimate trade in rough diamonds.
The country was admitted following a plenary session held in Moscow, Russia, between 8 and 12 November, and this paves the way for the development of a Mozambican diamond industry.
Interviewed on 15 November by Radio Mozambique (RM), the Secretary-General of the government’s Kimberley Process Management Unit, Castro Elias, said the country has satisfactorily fulfilled all the requirements for admission.
The KP, Elias pointed out, unites the governments of 82 countries, civil societies, and industry in reducing the flow of conflict diamonds – defined as “rough diamonds used to finance wars against governments” – around the world.
“After Mozambique’s admission, companies can prospect for and exploit diamonds,” he said, adding that Mozambique sought KP membership after identifying diamond-bearing areas at the mouth of the Limpopo River, along the Save River between the provinces of Gaza and Manica, and in Tete and Niassa provinces.
Elias believed that, in the prospection phase alone, Mozambique can create over 5,000 jobs. Facilities such as roads, water wells and access to electricity will be created within the communities where the activities will be conducted.
So far, Mozambique has issued 44 licences for diamond prospection, for both national and foreign companies, but 78 other requests are underway.
After the recent Kimberley Process meeting, he said, the Russian Alrosa group, specialised in the exploration, mining, manufacture and sale of diamonds, expressed its interest in entering Mozambique. This company has a strong presence in other southern African countries, such as Angola and Zimbabwe.
Mozambique first sought membership of the Kimberley Process in 2014, but the assessment team turned the application down.
Mozambique sought to comply with all the requirements, among them the creation of the KP management unit, and in September 2020, the second assessment team gave the green light for the country’s admission.
The African Development Bank (ADB) Group is granting US$1.5 million to Mozambique to support the development of women-owned Small and Medium Enterprises (SMEs) which will enable them to provide local content for the natural resource sector.
The grant builds on the previous grant in June of one million US dollars to fund the provision of technical and institutional assistance to the Institute for the Promotion of Small and Medium Enterprises (IMPEME) aimed at supporting youth projects.
The current grant will provide technical and institutional assistance to Mozambique's National Hydrocarbon Company (ENH) under the ‘Creating a Sustainable SME Supply Chain in the Oil and Gas Sector in Mozambique (LinKar)’ project.
This flows from the decision of the ADB in November 2019 to approve a loan of US$400 million to the Mozambique LNG (Liquefied Natural Gas) Area One project, which will have an initial production capacity of 12.88 million tonnes of LNG per year, drawing on the discoveries of massive reserves of natural gas in the Rovuma Basin, off the coast of the northern province of Cabo Delgado. The loan agreement includes reference to the need for technical assistance to strengthen the capacity of local companies to provide services to the hydrocarbon sector.
The LNG project is currently at a standstill because of the terrorist attack against the town of Palma on 24 March. The consortium undertaking the project, headed by the French company Total, promises that it will resume operations when the security situation allows.
According to an ADB press release, LinKar will concentrate on improving the capacities of local small and medium enterprises to supply a wide variety of goods and services including catering, office supplies, customs clearance, recruitment, and logistics.
Estevao Pale, the chairperson of the ENH board, points out that the implementation of gas projects over the next 12 to 24 months requires the realisation of the four action areas under LinKar – training, finance, technical assistance, and contracting small and medium enterprises.
In particular, Pale referred to the development of the Coral South floating liquefied natural gas (FLNG) project in Cabo Delgado and the CTT power project in the southern province of Inhambane.
The African Development Bank financed its first project in Mozambique in 1977 and since then has focused on supporting projects covering agriculture, transport, water and sanitation, energy, communications, mining, and finance.
President Filipe Nyusi on 12 November instructed the new Defence Minister, Cristovao Chume, to work towards the rapid modernisation of the country’s armed forces (FADM) so that they will be in a fit condition to face today’s challenges.
The President was speaking during the ceremony in which he swore into office Chume, and the new Interior Minister, Arsenia Massingue.
President Nyusi said that Chume’s “long and immaculate” record in the FADM, “gives us confidence that he is the right man for the current moment”.
Despite the recent successes of the Mozambican forces and their allies from Rwanda and SADC (Southern African Development Community), President Nyusi insisted that the fight against terrorism and the restoration of normality in the affected regions remain the immediate challenges for the defence and security forces.
The Mozambican people, he added, need to restore their dream of living once more in peace and harmony.
Key to Chume’s success in his mission, said the President, would be modernisation of the armed forces, in line with the evolution of technology, and greater coordination with the local militias who have mastery of the terrain.
The President urged Massingue, the first woman to hold the post of Interior Minister, to restructure police intelligence so that the police can react in due time to emerging threats.
President Nyusi added that she must also take into account transparency, ethics, and respect for the law. She must show “zero tolerance” for corruption.
The president wanted to see the modernisation of all the services supervised by the Interior Ministry, including the National Criminal Investigation Service (SERNIC), and the National Immigration Service (SENAMI).
Among the main challenges facing the police, he said, are the fight against terrorism and violent extremism, kidnappings, cybercrime, money laundering and environmental crimes.
The Mozambican Minister of Public Works, Joao Machatine, on 12 November said that the government has managed to guarantee at least 50 per cent of the funding necessary for the second phase of the presidential initiative known as “Water for Life” (PRAVIDA-II), scheduled to begin in 2022.
Under PRAVIDA-II, budgeted at US$50 million, Machatine stated that the government wants to ensure access to clean drinking water by 80 per cent of the population in the urban areas and 73 per cent in the rural areas by 2024.
Machatine was commissioning the water supply system in the administrative post of Ressano Garcia (90 kilometres northwest of Maputo), on the border with South Africa, which has cost over 66 million meticais (just over US$1 million). The new system will ease several years of water shortage.
The water to feed the new distribution centre is harvested from the Incomati River, which is about two kilometres away. The centre has one water tank which is 18 metres above ground and holds 100 cubic metres and another at ground level holding 150 cubic metres.
So far, 100 domestic connections have been made and four public standpipes have been opened. The system will provide drinking water to 3,500 of the more than 11,000 residents of Ressano Garcia. Consumers will enjoy access to clean water eight hours each day.
The inauguration of the water supply system, Machatine said, marks the start of a new dawn in the history of Ressano Garcia, which has gone for several years without access to safe water. “The system will be of paramount importance in ensuring access to drinking water to the residents of 25 de Junho neighbourhood, where about 40 per cent of Ressano Garcia lives,” Machatine said, adding that the government plans to expand and fast-track access to drinking water.
He urged the residents to adopt a sustainable and rational use of water as well as ensuring that the system is not damaged by ill-intentioned people so that the available financial resources can enable the government to expand access to other consumers.
The port of Nacala in northern Mozambique is to begin supplying very low sulphur fuel oil (VLSFO) following a delivery to the port on 7 November from Shell.
The fuel will be sold by Mozambique Civitas Logistics and the company aims to develop the port as a key bunkering hub for shipping in southern and eastern Africa. Nacala has the advantage of being the deepest port on the east African coast and will be in direct competition with ports in South Africa.
The introduction of the fuel follows the awarding of a licence to Civitas by the Mozambican government. According to the Minister of Mineral Resources and Energy, Max Tonela, “the availability of globally demanded marine fuels in Mozambican waters is a positive milestone for the development of the maritime economy of Mozambique. Given our strategic position along the main trade routes, we see no reason as to why Mozambican ports shouldn’t become globally competitive locations for the supply of marine fuels”.
Civitas already sells other marine fuels including high sulphur fuel oil to ships that have exhaust gas cleaning systems, commonly known as scrubbers. Low sulphur fuel was introduced to meet the International Maritime Organisation’s rule introduced in January 2020 that reduced the maximum sulphur content in shipping fuel from 3.5 per cent to 0.5 per cent, except for ships using scrubbers.
email: Mozambique News Agency