Mozambique News Agency
The United Nations Children’s Fund (UNICEF) has warned that it has received just over thirty per cent of the US$98.8 million it needs to sustain and expand the provision of life-saving services for women and children in Mozambique affected by conflict, Cyclone Gombe, and Tropical Storm Ana.
UNICEF has only received $16.2 million this year for its work in Mozambique, although it has access to another $14 million in “carry-forward” funds.
Among those who have donated to UNICEF’s work are the GAVI Vaccine Alliance, Central Emergency Response Fund (CERF), United States Agency for International Development (USAID), World Bank, Directorate-General for European Civil Protection and Humanitarian Aid Operations (ECHO), and governments of South Korea, United Kingdom, Italy, and Norway. In addition, UNICEF has utilised core resources and nexus-related funding for response activities totalling $11.7 million to meet urgent humanitarian needs and additional earmarked resources for the polio response.
However, in its latest situation report, it states that “the remaining funding gap means UNICEF is unable to respond to existing needs and planning for future displacements and storm are not possible; especially in hard-to-reach areas”.
In the northern province of Cabo Delgado, the insecurity caused by islamist terrorism has continued to cause problems in getting humanitarian aid to people in need. UNICEF states “seven districts were classified as entirely or partially hard-to-reach, with approximately 302,000 Internally Displaced Persons estimated to be in hard-to-reach locations across the province”.
UNICEF adds that food insecurity “remains a challenge” with various areas across the country reaching crisis levels. It states that “the affected areas include drought-affected areas of the South, areas affected by floods and storms in Nampula, and conflict-affected areas in Cabo Delgado”. It laments that “food insecurity is projected to increase, with a higher number of households facing Crisis level outcomes between the lean seasons (October and November) in the North and in Central/South Mozambique”.
In addition, it warns that the crisis is worsened because “the annual inflation rate reached its highest level since August 2017, increasing from 10.8 per cent in June to 11.8 per cent in July. Price increases were particularly noticeable for transportation, food, and non-alcoholic beverages, as well as housing and utilities, thus reducing the purchasing power of families, especially for poor households”.
UNICEF also highlights the danger posed by wild poliovirus, with four cases confirmed in Tete Province. However, it points out that the country is preparing for its fifth round of the polio vaccination campaign which will take place at the end of October targeting 8.5 million children below the age of five.
The United Nations Food and Agriculture Organisation (FAO) announced in Maputo on 19 October that it is facing a financial deficit of US$87 million for its 2022 to 2026 programme in Mozambique.
According to country representative, Hernani da Silva, FAO has only managed to mobilise $30 million of the $120 million required.
Speaking during a consultation on the country programme, da Silva said that FAO will continue to focus on three key areas, namely economic diversification and sustainable livelihoods sustainable management of natural resources and the environment, and climate resilience and response to emergencies.
FAO's new strategic framework, according to Da Silva, will focus on transforming agri-food systems to improve productivity, nutrition, and living standards.
Da Silva presented a report on the last five years. FAO has collected and analysed data on the agriculture sector and has increased access to agricultural inputs and supported those hit by natural disasters. He noted that despite progress there are still high poverty rates and vulnerability among peasant farmers, which is worsened by low productivity, financial crises, and environmental degradation.
Da Silva highlighted the effects of recurring extreme weather events such as drought, cyclones, and floods, along with the negative impact of terrorism in some parts of the northern province of Cabo Delgado and the conflict in Ukraine. He lamented that “the number of people facing food insecurity is still high, about 38 per cent of the rural population, meaning that about 11 million people suffer from food insecurity every year”.
FAO had a budget of $45 million for the previous country programme but ended up spending $113 million due to changes in the global financial environment and extreme weather events that hit the country.
The Mozambican government announced in Maputo on 16 September that it expects fuel prices to fall in October. According to Finance Minister, Max Tonela, this is based on the current downward trend of the cost of a barrel of oil on the international market.
The minister added, “we forecast that in October and, probably, November we may cut the prices of liquid fuels in Mozambique and, in this way, influence inflation to improve the capacity of families to buy goods and services”.
The minister was speaking at a Maputo press conference to take stock of the activities carried out by an International Monetary Fund (IMF) Evaluation Mission on the performance of the Mozambican government in implementing programmes aimed at consolidating the country's macroeconomic stability and improving public finances management.
“Our forecast is a stabilisation of fuel prices in the international market due to a downward trend. Prices peaked at $120 a barrel and are currently trading around $94 to $95”, explained the minister.
The rise of fuel and food prices has pushed inflation to eleven per cent, against the seven per cent projected for the year. However, Tonela stressed that “this stems from factors exogenous to our economy”.
The IMF's Chief of Mission, Alvaro Pires, said the conflict in Ukraine has pushed up prices on the international market, particularly for fuel and food, adding that even the most powerful countries are facing rising inflation.
“For Mozambique, this challenge comes on top of a number of shocks such as the Covid-19 pandemic, cyclones, and others. However, it is important to stress that Mozambique managed to maintain macroeconomic stability during all these years of challenges and our assessment points out that the authorities have dealt with these challenges in the right way. They have managed to do the same in relation to the challenge posed by the war in Ukraine,” he added.
In terms of the package of measures to stimulate the economy announced recently by President Filipe Nyusi, Pires said, “our assessment is also positive and that the policies adopted fit well with our support and aim to help the growth of both the economy and the private sector”. As a result, Pires expects Mozambique's economic growth to reach 3.8 per cent this year.
According to Pires, “we are looking at macroeconomic stability in the country due to good management by the government, despite the prevailing challenging situation.
“We expect more successes in the months ahead”, he said, adding that for now the IMF’s assessment is that it is not necessary to strengthen the financial package to support Mozambique in facing the challenges posed by higher fuel and food prices.
In April this year, the government signed an agreement with the IMF to implement a programme to strengthen the country's macroeconomic stability and improve the management of public finances.
Over a million Mozambican children from all over the country came together on 17 September as part of the celebrations of World Clean-up Day. The children engaged in a number of activities including collecting rubbish on beaches, schools, streets, and other public places.
Speaking during a brief interview with AIM, environmental activist Carlos Serra said that this feat was only possible due to joint efforts between public and private institutions, Non-Governmental Organisations (NGOs), and partners.
Serra added, “we achieved a historic milestone when over a million children took to the streets to collect rubbish. Although we still don't have exact figures, surely this was the largest clean-up event in Mozambique. We exceeded our own expectations”.
Regarding the draft legislation banning the use of plastic bags, which is currently being discussed by the government and other key players including producers, Serra said it is welcome because plastic materials are the most pervasive and harmful solid waste found on Mozambican beaches, putting at risk entire ecosystems. According to Serra, it is time for Mozambique to start thinking seriously about banning or limiting the use of other disposable materials because recycling is the best way to protect the environment.
Serra praised efforts undertaken to cut down on rubbish discarded on Mozambican beaches. He says that things have improved considerably following the banning of the use of beaches during an almost two-year period due to measures to prevent the spread of the Covid-19 pandemic. However, he added that there is still waste on almost all beaches throughout the country.
The executive director of the Post-Cyclone Reconstruction Office (GREPOC), Luis Mandlate, has revealed that the government has made available US$42 million for the reconstruction of 6,672 houses in the city of Beira in the central province of Sofala.
According to Mandlate, cited in the daily newspaper Noticias, “we have available $42 million, made up of contributions from international partners and agencies, especially the World Bank”.
Mandlate added that GREPOC expects to sign 30 contracts with Non-Government Organisations by the end of September with technical assistance from the United Nations Agency, UN-Habitat. “In this reconstruction process, the principle of transferring technology to local communities must be scrupulously obeyed”, he said, adding that “in general, the process covers 15 thousand houses until September 2024”.
Mandlate pointed out that houses should be built or repaired using resilient materials and structures. The project also includes the homes of 3,516 families in the district of Buzi and 1,093 in the district of Dondo, both of which are also in Sofala.
The governor of the central province of Manica, Francisca Tomas, has called for more sustainable practices in the exploitation of natural resources.
Speaking at a seminar in the town of Chimoio organised by the non-government organisation the Institute for Multi-Party Democracy (IMD), Tomas warned that in most cases the exploitation of natural resources is done using practices that are harmful to the environment, such as failing to replace felled trees and the use of poisonous chemicals by artisanal miners.
The governor pointed out that “this is a very serious problem in our province. Many rivers are polluted and the population cannot use water from the rivers. This water is even unfit for animals to drink or agricultural irrigation. We want the involvement of everyone in an awareness campaign to eliminate this problem”.
Addressing the case of mineral resources, the governor stressed that gold mining is the worst in terms of environmental damage. In Manica, gold mining is common in the districts of Manica, Barue, Macossa, and Sussundenga. Most artisanal miners extract gold by ignoring intentionally basic techniques that protect the environment. In particular, the Revue, Pungoe, and Nhancuarara rivers are the most polluted in Manica.
The governor expressed her belief that the seminar’s training will provide government representatives with better tools and knowledge that will be passed on to artisanal miners for more responsible exploitation of natural resources. “We are well aware that resources are finite. That’s the reason they must be protected and well preserved with future generations in mind”, she said.
She stressed that the government is doing its part to raise awareness among the miners, and that “it is necessary to teach them how to mine gold using the best techniques available”.
The governor stressed that “we have learned from international experience that finite resources can be a path for the development of communities when exploited sustainably”.
Currently, in Manica there are over 20 associations of artisanal miners, in addition to the mining companies engaged in the exploitation of mineral resources such as gold, tourmaline, and other precious stones.
Osman Ali Cossing, from the IMD, said that one of the objectives of his institution is to contribute to the prevention of river pollution caused by the exploitation of natural resources. “We are trying to lessen the damage caused by artisanal mining. We could achieve this with the commitment of all of those involved in this activity and by teaching artisanal miners the best techniques for sustainable mining. We expect the government representatives to pass on to others what they have learned during this training session”.
Mineral resources abound in Manica, particularly precious stones and gold. Those involved in mining include Mozambican nationals and foreign citizens mostly from neighbouring countries, particularly Tanzania. Some unscrupulous parents and guardians use their children in mining to the detriment of their studies.
The world’s largest gem-quality ruby “Estrela de FURA” has been unveiled in Dubai, in the United Arab Emirates. The 101-carat stone was discovered in the northern Mozambican province of Cabo Delgado by Fura Gems, which states that “its vivid red hue, fluorescence, and clarity are extremely rare, making it intensely sought-after”.
According to Dr A. Peretti, the chief executive officer of the independent gem specialist company GRS GemResearch Swisslab, “I have finally come across the most consequential and promising gemstone ever tested in my career, a magnificent rough ruby of over 101 carats in size from Fura’s Mozambique mine. This ruby shows characteristics normally encountered only in the classical Mogok mines of Burma. It possesses a fluorescence and vivid red colour and even excels in its excellent clarity. Estrela de FURA provides the potential to achieve the new world record of being the finest gem-quality ruby ever found with a size of over 50 carats once it goes through the final cutting process”.
This analysis is backed up by Daniel Nyfeler, the managing director of Gubelin Gem Lab, who considers that “the Estrela de FURA ruby is likely to yield an intense, saturated red colour once fully and properly faceted with adequate proportions”.
He added, “compared to most rubies, including those from Burma, which tend to be fairly included when reaching sizes above 5 carats, this ruby is relatively free of eye-visible inclusions. Considering its very large size, the vivid red colour, and clarity characteristics of this ruby give it an extraordinary potential to become one of the largest high-quality faceted rubies ever seen”.
Fura Gems took over nine ruby assets in Montepuez district in 2018 and has brought some of these into production.
According to its chief executive, Dev Shetty, “with over two years of production, Fura has proven its ruby mine in Mozambique to be a world-class deposit. This discovery is an unprecedented occurrence and a moment of honour for us at Fura and for Mozambique. We pride ourselves on being a progressive and sustainable company, using the finest technology to set benchmarks in the coloured gemstone mining industry”.
He adds, “I would like to thank the Government of Mozambique for their support and my team for all the hard work to date”.
The ruby will be auctioned in October and could be sold for as much as US$100 million. Two per cent of the funds raised will be spent on setting up the Fura Training Academy to help communities in Cabo Delgado access education and technical training to provide livelihoods in mining, carpentry, engineering, and agriculture.
The headquarters of Fura Gems is in Toronto, Canada and its administrative headquarters is in Dubai.
The managing director of the Mozambique LNG project, located on the Afungi peninsula in the northern province of Cabo Delgado, has confirmed that his company is assessing the possibility of resuming its activities. The project’s operator, TotalEnergies, suspended the project last year following a terrorist attack on the town of Palma on 24 March.
Stephane Le Galles, who was speaking on a panel during the 7th Mozambican Gas and Energy Summit and Exhibition that opened in Maputo on 14 September, said that TotalEnergies is working closely with the Mozambican government, civil society organisations, and partners to overcome the current challenges.
According to TotalEnergies, despite the suspension of its activities in Afungi, the oil company maintains its vision for development in Mozambique, based on the connection between resource exploration, development of local content, and the country’s industrialisation.
Le Galles acknowledged the current challenges in the supply and demand of energy around the world and pointed to Mozambique as one of the global partners that could help.
For his part, Jos Evens, the managing director of ExxonMobil Mozambique, which is the concessionaire of Area 4, said that its partners are optimising development plans and deciding on key steps to take the Final Investment Decision which will indicate the start of the project.
According to Evens, the discovery of huge natural gas deposits in Cabo Delgado has the potential to transform Mozambique, paving the way for the country to become a leading regional LNG exporter and a major global energy player. He added that “we are working together with partners to make Area 4 more flexible. We are doing a full risk assessment and we are monitoring the conflict in Cabo Delgado”.
The Mozambican State has collected close to 16 billion meticais (US$250.6 million) in tax revenues from extractive industries in 2020. These figures were announced in Maputo on 15 September during the launch of the Independent Report of the Extractive Industry Transparency Initiative (EITI) for the year 2020.
According to EITI representative Ismael Faquir, in total “the State collected 213,5 billion meticais in tax revenues, of which 15,944.18 million, corresponding to 7 per cent, are reported as revenues from the extractive industries”.
Faquir noted that the contribution of extractive industries to the Gross Domestic Product (GDP) fell one percentage point, from 7.9 per cent in 2019 to 6.9 per cent in 2020. He also said that in the survey conducted for EITI “33 companies were selected for the process of reconciliation of tax payments made by them, of which 22 are from the mining sector and 11 from the hydrocarbon sector”.
As for compliance concerning payment of taxes, the research found that 92 per cent of tax revenues from the extractive industry were reconciled. “The differences found between company payments and State receipts correspond to 0.07 per cent of the amount confirmed in 2020,” declared Faquir.
He added that in 2020, there were 2,051 active mining titles, subdivided into 810 prospecting and research licences, 311 mining concessions, 538 mining certificates, and 392 trading licences.
“Also, in this survey we found that 12 concession contracts were still active in the hydrocarbons sector, two in the production phase, two in the development phase, six in the research phase and two for gas transportation” Faquir said.
At the launch, Mineral Resources and Energy Minister Carlos Zacarias said that by joining the EITI Mozambique had considerably improved its mechanisms for monitoring hydrocarbon exploration as well as broadened its knowledge on tax collection for the sector. “With this initiative, we have strengthened the monitoring approach, as well as adopting various supervisory steps already in place in several countries,” said the minister who chairs the EITI Coordination Committee.
He praised cooperation between the government and civil society in the field of natural resources exploration which has strengthened over the last few years.
EITI is a global programme that aims to promote transparent and responsible management of natural resources. The initiative was officially launched in 2002 at the summit of Heads of State and Government held in South Africa. Mozambique joined the initiative in 2009 and has published ten reports.
Ossufo Momade leader of the main opposition party Renamo has sacked General Secretary Andre Magibire. No reasons have been given for his dismissal.
Former private secretary of the late Renamo leader Afonso Dhlakama, and member of the Mozambican parliament, the Assembly of the Republic, was dismissed on 5 September. A copy of the press release sent to AIM only states that “the present order shall take immediate effect”.
Asked about Magibire's dismissal, a source from Renamo told AIM that there was nothing wrong as it is a normal process to revive the party’s structures. As for the new replacement, the source said the candidate is yet to be named. According to Renamo’s statutes, Momade has the authority to put forward a new candidate who would have to be ratified by Renamo’s National Council.
Magibire had served as Renamo General Secretary since April 2019, having replaced Manuel Bissopo who was dismissed in January of the same year by Momade.
The Japanese International Cooperation Agency (JICA) on 8 September pledged to disburse US$20.1 million to finance the construction of a new neonatal care unit at the Maputo Central Hospital (HCM).
This was formalised through an agreement signed by Foreign Minister Veronica Macamo and the Japanese Ambassador to Mozambique, Kimura Hajime.
The project aims to improve paediatric services provided by HCM, which is the country's largest public hospital. Construction work is expected to start in 2024 and be completed over a two-year period. The new neonatal care unit building will provide most of the maternal and childcare health services which are currently spread over several buildings.
Speaking shortly after the signing ceremony, HCM’s general director Mouzinho Saide said that the new building will provide more space for incubators as one of the major causes of hospitalisation in paediatrics wards was premature births.
The new infrastructure will also provide accommodation for mothers and babies in neonatology and will provide more space for laboratories and training for health professionals.
According to Saide, the donation comes on top of other ongoing projects in the health sector financed by the Japanese government seeking to achieve universal health coverage, with a special emphasis on the Mozambican President’s initiative “One District, One Hospital”.
The Japanese ambassador pointed out that the donation aims to improve paediatric services and reduce infant mortality through the construction of a neonatal care unit and the provision of state-of-the-art hospital equipment to improve maternal and new-born health. The diplomat noted that Japan’s cooperation policy with Mozambique prioritises human development and focused on improving public health as a condition for fighting poverty.
The Mozambican government plans to invest 53 billion meticais (US$828 million) to increase agricultural income in the family sub-sector and contribute to raising one million households out of poverty by 2025.
The amount is to be allocated under the government’s flagship agricultural development programme, Sustenta, intended to integrate small producers into agricultural value chains through technology transfer, production financing, and market linkages.
The national director of Family Agriculture Development, Nilza Paunde, cited in the daily newspaper “Noticias” on 5 September, explained that the main beneficiaries of the project are small farmers willing to dedicate an average area of 1.5 hectares for the technological packages of rice, sunflower, sesame, soybean, and cotton.
Paunde explained that “the minimum production area takes into account the business plan of each technological package, which will allow the producer to achieve a minimum income to meet their food needs. The definition of the beneficiaries took into account the structure of the agro-livestock sector, which is composed of 4,167,702 small farms”.
Over 7.8 billion meticais have been invested over the last two years to support small-scale farmers, emerging commercial producers, and small and medium enterprises. The programme has already seen success, with agricultural exports growing by more than 69 per cent, from $183 million in the first half of 2021 to $310 million in the first six months of this year.
Paunde added that 2,071 new field extension workers have been hired and trained, and the public network now has 3,817 technicians. To reduce post-harvest losses, 3.3 million hermetic bags were delivered to 54,000 households, using a sealing system that protects the crops from humidity and pests.
According to Paunde, the increase in agricultural production and productivity, largely driven by Sustenta, contributed to the removal of about five million Mozambicans from food insecurity. The number of Mozambicans at risk of food insecurity fell from about 12 million in 2020 to seven million in 2022.
Maputo National Park in southern Mozambique on 15 September received 26 elands donated by the Vilankulo Wildlife Sanctuary in Inhambane province as part of a programme to reintroduce the species to conservation areas where it went extinct due to poaching.
The translocation of elands to Maputo National Park was preceded by an identical exercise that culminated with the reintroduction of 75 elands to the Zinave National Park (PNZ), in Inhambane province.
The operation was carried out with the support of the Peace Parks Foundation (PPF), a South African organisation committed to large-scale conservation in transfrontier conservation areas, in coordination with Mozambique’s National Administration of Conservation Areas (ANAC).
Speaking to AIM, park administrator Miguel Goncalves said that the arrival of elands at the Maputo National Park was a culmination of a process of reintroducing wild animals that began in 2010 when it was found that the conservation area had lost most of its fauna and that some of its species had become locally extinct. Since then, around 5,000 animals from 11 species have been translocated to the park.
According to the source, with the success in reintroducing herbivorous animals, such as elands, giraffes, nyalas, kudos, and warthogs, the park's challenge now is to ensure an ecological balance, which will require reintroducing predators such as cheetahs, leopards, and hyenas.
Hidroelectrica de Cahora Bassa (HCB), the company that operates the Cahora Bassa dam on the Zambezi River in the western province of Tete, has warned that it will begin discharging water from the reservoir on 1 October to manage the dam during the rainy season and has advised communities to leave the low lying and flood-prone areas.
The warning was made by HCB's Director for Water Resources and Environment, Rosaque Guale, during a visit to the dam by a team of international consultants working on the feasibility of the proposed Mphanda Nkuwa hydroelectric project.
Guale took the opportunity to urge communities growing crops on the banks of the Zambezi River to begin withdrawing farming implements and harvest those crops that have reached maturity to prevent losses once the dam’s spillways are opened.
“Right now, the flow is about 1,800 meters per second, and with the opening of the discharger, we will reach about 3,600 cubic meters per second”, he warned.
He added that the Cahora Bassa reservoir is currently 95.22 per cent full, which makes discharges unavoidable.
The Chairperson of the Board of Directors of Mozambique’s publicly-owned ports and rail company, CFM, has announced the introduction of an express train service to South Africa and Eswatini to facilitate the mobility of people and goods.
Miguel Matabele made this announcement on 3 September during a visit of Prime Minister Adriano Maleiane to the CFM stand at the Maputo International Trade Fair (FACIM).
Prime Minister Maleiane welcomed the initiative, stating that the project will contribute to solving the transport problems in the country. He praised CFM for its “very strong contribution”.
The launch follows agreements signed on 1 July between CFM and South Africa's Transnet Freight Rail (TFR) for the elimination of the rail border and with Eswatini Railways on 5 August for direct rail links for the transport of goods.
As a result, trains operated by CFM and the South African company TFR can now cross the border at Ressano Garcia without restrictions or the need to change rolling stock. Thus, the Maputo Corridor will have, in an initial phase, 21 trains per week carrying chrome and ferrochrome to the port of Maputo, compared with the current 15 trains per week.
With Eswatini, the Goba railway border is removed, thus allowing the free circulation of goods trains between the two countries. The Goba railway will double the number of daily coal trains, from two to four, and the volume of coal transported will double to 7,200 tonnes per day.
The Chinese government has pardoned 50 million yuan (about US$7 million) owed by Mozambique. This follows an agreement signed in Maputo on 13 September by Foreign Minister Veronica Macamo and the Chinese Ambassador to Mozambique, Wang Hejun.
This sum is part of an outstanding debt which should have been paid by the end of 2021. Mozambique's current debt to China stands at around US$2 billion.
The two countries also signed an agreement for economic and technical cooperation under which China will grant $14 million as part of the decisions taken at the 8th Ministerial Conference of the Forum on China-Africa Cooperation (FOCAC), held in November 2021 in Dakar, Senegal. In addition, the two parties signed a certificate of food delivery of about 95 tons of wheat flour.
Speaking during the ceremony, Macamo said that the Chinese gesture is another unequivocal symbol of the deep friendship, solidarity, and cooperation built since the Mozambican liberation struggle against Portuguese colonialism.
“We express our deep gratitude for the donations made available to our country and for the forgiveness of our debt that will boost the development of our economy and ease the country’s debt burden. It will also contribute to the ongoing efforts for our government, aimed at reducing food shortages in Mozambique”, declared the minister.
For his part, the Chinese ambassador said that the agreements are a clear sign of the implementation of the various decisions announced at FOCAC and a true picture of the strengthening friendship between the two countries.
The Mozambican government has begun charging user fees to companies operating along the coastal areas or inside the 200 nautical miles of the Exclusive Economic Zone (EEZ). This is the result of the recently approved legal framework on the use of maritime space which regulates the collection of fees.
Leonid Chimarizene, a spokesman for National Maritime Institute (INAMAR), said that the sea offers huge opportunities and hence the need to regulate the use of maritime space.
According to Chimarizene, all entities involved in commercial activities in maritime space are required to pay a user fee. INAMAR has already started issuing licenses for tourist resorts, ports, and companies carrying out gas prospecting and scientific research.
Chimarizene said that the mapping process will begin in the first quarter of next year and he urged those who use maritime space to contact INAMAR voluntarily.
email: Mozambique News Agency