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INP to launch new oil and gas block tender tomorrow; INSS officials embroiled in controversy over subsidies

Welcome to Zitamar’s daily Mozambique briefing for 24 November 2021


  • Today: Roundtable on the National Working Group on Voluntary Principles on Security and Human Rights in Mozambique in Maputo, hosted by the Centre for Democracy and Development
  • Tomorrow: National Petroleum Institute (INP) launches the 6th Tender for Concession of Areas for Research and Production of Hydrocarbons
  • This week: President Nyusi will attend SADC Industrialisation Week, held in Lilongwe, Malawi
    Nyusi’s extensive visit to Malawi this week is consistent with what appears to be a significant improvement in relations between the two countries, which have rarely seen eye to eye

The latest from Zitamar News:

Cabo Ligado Weekly: 15-21 November

  • Conflict comes to northern Mueda district, violence displaces 3,139 people
  • Phone number tracking leads to insurgent spy arrests
  • UN wants new special court to hear charges of human rights abuses

Also available in Portuguese here

Western Union suspends services in, and for, Cabo Delgado
Western Union has suspended money transfers for people in and from Cabo Delgado,  apparently for fear of terror financing, though neither it nor the regulator has said why

The best of the rest:

Mega-projects add MZN20bn to state budget (Carta de Moçambique)
Data released by the Ministry of Economy and Finance (MEF) show that mega-projects have contributed MZN21.8bn ($341m) to the state budget so far in 2021. This represents a growth of 48.1% compared with the same period for 2020. According to Carta, the amount represents 11% of total revenue collected by the government. Extractive industries have been the main sources of revenue, mainly the sectors of oil exploration, energy production, and mineral resources exploration.

New Mozambique-Malawi green fertiliser factory (Saudi Gazette, Trade Arabia)
Saudi Arabian Mining Company Ma’aden announced the opening of a new "world-class" fertiliser terminal in Liwonde, Malawi, with its African subsidiary Meridian Group. The Liwonde terminal is strategically located on the rail network connecting Malawi to the port of Nacala in Mozambique, "allowing for high access to Ma’aden’s fertilizer products across central and southern Africa," the Saudi Gazette reports. The terminal is expected to give more than five million small-holder farmers access to fertiliser, and "subsequently, improve food security on the African continent." The terminal is powered by renewable energy, which will reduce the factory’s carbon footprint. The launch of the terminal is seen as a move to increase Ma’aden’s exposure to the African market, complementing previous strategic decisions such as Ma’aden’s acquisition of Meridian Group in 2019.

INSS officials embroiled in controversy over subsidies (Evidências, Carta de Moçambique, Mediafax)
High-ranking officials at Mozambique's National Institute of Social Security (INSS) are embroiled in controversy amidst revelations about a new institutional policy that grants "millionaire subsidies'' to high-ranking officials. Evidências reports that the current chair of the INSS board of directors, Kabir Ibrahimo, cashed in around MZN6m ($94,000), while general director Joaquim Moisés Siúta earned more than MZN4m ($62,670). Renamo congressman Antonio Muchanga says that labour minister Margarida Talapa must also be held accountable given that she appointed the officials to such senior positions. According to Mediafax, Talapa shied away from journalists during a press conference on Monday to avoid answering questions about the case. The director of the General Inspection of Public Administration (IGAP), Augusto António dos Santos Mangove, said he is aware of the scandal and he promised an investigation into the case. Mangove stressed that according to Mozambican regulation, such subsidies are allowed and the amount is capped at MZN600,000, but that INSS is "an institution with administrative autonomy."

Mozambique and Portugal sign €80m deal (Lusa)
Portugal and Mozambique signed a new bilateral strategic cooperation programme (PEC) worth €80m (MZN5.74bn) that will run from 2022 until 2026. The Portuguese secretary of state for foreign affairs and cooperation Francisco Andre said the new PEC will replace the current one, which ends this year, and cover new areas, reports news agency Lusa. While the programme will focus mainly on education and health, particular attention will be given to humanitarian aid, namely to assist the victims of the conflict in Cabo Delgado. The secretary of state clarified that this financial support is not in the form of direct aid to the Mozambican state budget. Direct budget support to Mozambique has been suspended since 2016 because of the “hidden-debts” scandal. The Portuguese official also announced a new donation of 200,000 covid-19 vaccines to Mozambique, which will be delivered in December.
President Marcelo Rebelo de Sousa is set to visit Mozambique next January.

Niassa police shoot Malawian rhino poacher (Lusa, Carta de Moçambique)
A Mozambican police officer shot a 60-year-old Malawian citizen in possession of two rhino horns as he tried to flee with five other people in Niassa province. The incident took place last Thursday as the men were looking for customers to sell the horns to, news agency Lusa reports. The man shot by the Mozambican police (PRM) was carrying a backpack containing the horns, the spokesman for the PRM in Niassa province, Alves Mate, told the press. The man was shot in the leg and the rest of the group managed to escape. According to the news publication Carta de Moçambique, the men fled towards Malawi. The spokesman emphasised that the PRM is in contact with the Malawian authorities with a view to locating the five fugitives. The rhino horns were trafficked in the Niassa Special Reserve (NSR), where there has been an increase in poaching, Carta reports.
A conservation officer in Niassa told Zitamar there is no evidence that the material in possession of the Malawian citizen were real rhino horns. For the past few decades, there has been no evidence of the presence of rhinos in the NSR.

Bank of Mozambique blackmailed by do Rosário, former department head claims (Carta de Moçambique)
The former head of economic intelligence at the Mozambican security and intelligence service (SISE), António Carlos do Rosário, intervened directly to ensure that the Bank of Mozambique gave a favourable opinion of Ematum’s request for an $850m (MZN54.26bn) loan from the Credit Suisse bank. The revelation was made in court on Monday by Silvina de Abreu, former head of the Bank of Mozambique's foreign department. She said that do Rosário personally delivered the Ematum dossier to her and her colleague Telma Goncalves and demanded they pass a favourable judgment quickly on the loan request, reports Carta de Moçambique. Although do Rosário claimed that Ematum was vital for the country's defence and security, de Abreu failed to see any security component in the supply contract which Ematum had signed with its sole contractor, Privinvest. "[Do Rosário] spoke about guns and military equipment in order to blackmail us," Carta quotes de Abreu as saying. According to de Abreu, do Rosário continued to put pressure on bank officials, questioning their "patriotism" and stressing that "Credit Suisse had deadlines to meet, and we might miss the loan." The favourable opinion was eventually given on 22 August 2013.
Yesterday, Ernesto Gove, former governor of Bank of Mozambique, defended the approval of credits while being interrogated by judge Efigenio Baptista, arguing sovereignty was more important than the law’s stipulations. He added that contracts came already approved by minister of finance Manuel Chang, “who had a mandate to sign”. However, when asked who the mandate came from, he refused to give the most obvious answer, and instead preferred to suggest that the question should be addressed to Chang himself.

UN to fund apprenticeships for 200 youth (Lusa)
The United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR) is supporting a vocational training programme for 200 young people affected by the conflict in Cabo Delgado. The victims of violence will learn carpentry, locksmithing, plumbing and electrics, regardless of gender. UNHCR representative in Mozambique Samuel Chakwera said, "The first choices among women enrolled in the programme are plumbing and electricity courses, proving that Mozambican women are willing to change stereotypes." The MZN11.7m ($183,000) project will be carried out in partnership with the Alberto Cassimo Institute of Vocational Training and Labour Studies (IFPELAC). The funding will also allow for trainees to purchase relevant tools.

Displaced people returning to Macomia find “there is still war” (Lusa)
The Portuguese news agency Lusa has published accounts from displaced returnees to Macomia’s district headquarters in Cabo Delgado province. The three men interviewed said they decided to return after the Mozambican government claimed it had regained control over the area from insurgents. Independence war veteran Paulo Chalegwa, 63, said he had expected to reopen his business but there is a climate of fear and he won’t “take the risk again,” explaining, “Look, I lost a lot.” He said he will remain in Macomia with his wife, hoping the situation will improve, but he has sent his four children back south to Namialo, Nampula province, to “avoid the worst'' because “lightning never strikes twice.” With reports of armed violence all around, it is as if Macomia had not yet been freed from the rebels, Chalegwa said. Fifty-seven-year-old Momade Mwanifa, a father of four children, echoed this perspective. Two of his children were murdered by the insurgents during the attack on Macomia in 2020. Mwanifa had been staying in Nacala, Nampula province, for more than a year, sleeping under an old car in a yard, a space he occupied in exchange for security guard work. “God only knows my future: I lost my children and now, when I return, the situation continues,” he complained. Given the continuing danger, he decided to send his 23- and 19-year-old children back to Nacala. “They will sleep in the same place. I spoke to the boss [of the yard] who said he’s going to take them in,” he said, adding that if things don’t change, he would prefer to “go back to Nacala.” Gomes Kawessa, 59, escaped Macomia for Mueda in November 2020. He also returned after hearing that the situation was under control, but he said the signs are still of danger, “I sent my children back” to Mueda because “there is still war” in Macomia. “There are deaths in Quiterajo and Mucojo, and no-one says anything,” he added, questioning the authorities’ sincerity. The account added that reinforcement had been requested to address the situation.

SAMIM kills 11 insurgents (Botswana Government, defenceWeb, SADC)
The Southern African Development Community (SADC) Mission in Mozambique (SAMIM) confirmed 11 insurgents were killed on Thursday 18 November in Cabo Delgado province, in a statement released on Tuesday. Nine of the 11 terrorists were killed during an offensive operation in Macomia district. The other two were killed near Ninga in Nangade district, when their base camp was captured and destroyed. Two of the dead were named as Rajabo Fiquir and Abu Quiltali. Both were reportedly operational commanders of the insurgency. No casualties were suffered by SAMIM, and the allied forces also confiscated weapons, including RPG-7 launchers, PKM machine guns and AK-47 rifles, grenades and electronic devices. The media release concluded, “SAMIM forces continue to dominate and pursue the insurgents in the operational area as they have now been dislodged from their main bases south of Messalo River.”


  • Mozambique's National Petroleum Institute (INP) will launch on 25 November the 6th Tender for the Concession of Hydrocarbon Exploration and Production Areas. Sixteen new areas were defined, distributed over four distinct regions, five of which are located in the Rovuma Basin, seven in Angoche, two in the Zambezi Delta and two in the Save, says INP (see here)
  • The Bank of Mozambique launched, together with the Alliance for Financial Inclusion, the third Fintech Showcase 2022, an open competition for Fintechs and Regtechs that present innovative solutions that improve access, use and quality of formal financial services for low-income populations (see here)
  • Vale Mozambique launched a livestock project Moatize district, in Tete province, estimated at around $1.2m aiming at supporting the local communities
  • Nacala Logistics said it transported 62,574 people on its passenger trains during Q3 2021, an increase of 14% in comparison with the previous quarter

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