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Mozambique sends new troop contingent to ‘northern theatre’; Nyusi launches development agency and meets bishop of Pemba

Welcome to Zitamar’s daily Mozambique briefing for 1 September, 2020

This morning’s Angola Economic & Political Risk Briefing provides a snap analysis of the news that the Paris Club has accepted its application for DSSI debt relief. Read it here


  • Today: Council of Ministers’ weekly meeting

The latest from Zitamar News:

Mozambique sends new troop contingent to ‘northern theatre’
Large numbers of troops travelled north from Pemba over the weekend — and may have retaken the key village of Miangalewa on their way through, according to reports

From the Zitamar Live Blog:

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Covid-19 cases rise by 95 on Monday
Maputo province had 54 of the new cases, and Maputo city a further 30

The best of the rest:

  • Mozambique grappling with new experience of terrorism — Nyusi (Carta de Moçambique, AIM, Mediafax)
  • Nyusi launches development agency and meets bishop of Pemba (DW, TVM)
  • Development agency kicks off with 95% deficit in its initial budget (Carta de Moçambique)
  • Smuggling reduces Mozambique’s GDP by 12.6% (O País)
  • Installation begins for Mozambique’s first wind farm (Rádio Moçambique)

Nyusi says Mozambique will ask for outside help if necessary (Mediafax, Lusa)
“If it’s necessary to ask for help from our international partners with more experience, we will explore those possibilities,” President Filipe Nyusi said at the launch of the Northern Integrated Development Agency yesterday. On the same day, South African president Cyril Ramaphosa told journalists after a meeting of his ANC party’s national executive committee that the Southern African Development Community (SADC) was discussing the situation in Cabo Delgado province on the basis of briefings from Mozambique, with a view to providing some kind of help if it were requested — though he did not specify what form that help might take.
With the insurgency still far from under control, voices in Mozambique are likely to ask why Nyusi does not yet deem it necessary to ask for outside help. But the practical help that SADC is able to offer will be limited, and may not be worth it if it means Mozambique has to stop using mercenaries — as the two would probably be incompatible.

Mozambique grappling with new experience of terrorism — Nyusi (Carta de Moçambique, AIM, Mediafax)
The conflict in Cabo Delgado province cannot be compared to the 16-year civil war with Renamo, President Filipe Nyusi said yesterday — adding that the terrorism Mozambique was facing was “a new experience for the Mozambican people”. The insurgency, he said, started as “public disorder, perpetrated by criminals, with the aim of plundering the population's property and exploiting resources”, but “their modus operandi has changed and we now know that they are part of an international network which clearly aims to attack our state, and which has some internal links which guarantee them community penetration.” He said that Cabo Delgado was open to journalists to visit and report on, but they must understand that “it is a war zone” — implying, in Mediafax’s interpretation, that journalists could not count on the protection of Mozambique’s security forces there.
Renamo’s ‘insurgency’ in fact started life in a similar way to this one, and was described as banditry which went on to gain backing from outside actors with an interest in destabilising Mozambique, so the country does in fact have some experience of the type of thing that is now going on in Cabo Delgado. Emphasising the external actors and downplaying the local factors was a mistake made in the 1970s and 80s, which looks like it is being made again now — though the establishment of the Northern Integrated Development Agency is an attempt to directly address the poverty and inequality that are feeding local discontent with the Frelimo government based in Maputo.

Nyusi launches development agency and meets bishop of Pemba (DW, TVM)
President Filipe Nyusi has said that the new Northern Integrated Development Agency will provide job opportunities for young people, support small and medium enterprises and provide infrastructure to support economic growth. He noted that, despite having 30% of Mozambique’s population, the provinces had a relatively high poverty rate. Agriculture minister Celso Correia also unveiled plans to develop 100,000 hectares of productive land and 2,160km of access roads. Nyusi also held a private meeting yesterday with the bishop of the city of Pemba, Luiz Lisboa, where they analysed the terrorism situation in Cabo Delgado province, the humanitarian crisis and the contribution of the Catholic Church to supporting the victims of insurgent attacks. At the end of the meeting, Nyusi told the media that the two had shared information and ideas and that it was necessary to converse with people with a different perspective. Lisboa thanked the president for the visit to his home and said that the conversation was “very rich and fruitful”.
Some self-styled advisors around Nyusi had made assertions that the Bishop was supporting the insurgency and should be expelled from the country. This public statement from the president in support of Lisboa, demonstrates a far more measured side to the government. This, together with some conciliatory remarks made towards the press in the past two days, and the invitation to journalists to report on the conflict, as well as the launch of ADIN, could signal a shift in how the government approaches the conflict; listening to alternative viewpoints, and looking to win hearts & minds, as well as tackling the insurgents militarily.

Development agency kicks off with 95% deficit in its initial budget (Carta de Moçambique)
The government’s Northern Integrated Development Agency (ADIN), which launched on Monday, only has enough funding secured for about 5% of its spending plans. Of the $383.8m projected for the agency’s initial phase, the government was only able to obtain $19m, with a deficit of $364.8m, or about 95%. The $19m will be invested in promoting agricultural and fisheries production ($12.6m); health ($3.4m) and water supply and sanitation ($3m) in the three provinces where ADIN operates: Niassa, Nampula and Cabo Delgado. The funded projects are due to start in 2021. According to data presented on Monday by agriculture minister Celso Correia, ADIN needs about $764m to develop its activities, of which $700m will come from the World Bank, including $250m of grant funding. The African Development Bank is to provide a grant of $60m, and the United Kingdom a grant of $3.6m.
The article is not clear over who is funding the 5% of this initial phase of when the $700m will be made available from the World Bank.

Smuggling costs Mozambique $2bn a year, says tax authority head (O País)
The Mozambican economy loses around $2bn a year, equal to around 12.6% of the country's GDP, due to smuggling, according to the doctoral thesis of the president of the Tax Authority, Amélia Nakhare, which she defended to her professors on Friday. Her data also indicates that smuggling reduces the national budget by around 40%, and that without smuggling, Mozambique would already be self-sufficient or have had a surplus budget since 2006. South Africa, India and China are among the largest smugglers of Mozambican products, especially wood, seafood and precious stones. Nakhare pointed to e-commerce as the major challenge in combating smuggling.

Installation begins for Mozambique’s first wind farm (Rádio Moçambique)
Work for the construction of the first wind farm in Mozambique is currently underway in Namaacha district in the southern province of Maputo. The private infrastructure, costing about $280m, has a capacity of 120MW of electricity, which it will supply to state-owned electric utility EDM to distribute when it goes into operation in three years’ time. The wind farm would be connected to the grid via a substation in Boane, project manager Pedro Coutinho said.

Company Announcements

  • The National Institute of Petroleum, INP, said that China National Petroleum Corporation had donated 15,000 masks to the institute through its subsidiary CNODC Mozambique. At a ceremony to mark the occasion, the economic counsellor at the Chinese embassy said he wanted to see economic and social ties between the company and INP strengthened. The photo accompanying the press release shows a sign saying 40,000 masks are being donated to INP, although the statement only says that CNPC “subsequently… offered” 40,000 masks to the energy ministry, not INP (see here)
  • The Bank of Mozambique said that the prime rate, the benchmark interest rate of the financial system, was being maintained at 15.9% in September, where it has been since June
  • The Mozambique Stock Exchange said it had developed a new online form for buying and selling securities (see here)

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