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Privinvest still operating in Mozambique despite litigation; Statistics head quits after voter numbers furore

Welcome to Zitamar’s daily Mozambique briefing for 23 August 2019

Welcome to a free sample of Zitamar’s daily Mozambique briefing, bringing subscribers the top news and Zitamar’s insights on Mozambique every day.


  • Today: President Nyusi ends four-day state visit to Russia

  • Today: ‘Conflicts in the Exploration of Natural Resources in Cabo Delgado Province’, conference organised by civil society in Pemba

  • 28-29 August: ‘How to Prevent the Resource Curse in Mozambique’ civil society training workshop, organised by Zitamar News, CDD, and Plataforma, in Maputo

The latest from Zitamar News:

Privinvest continues offshore logistics operation in Mozambique despite litigation
Iskandar Safa’s group owns Swiss logistics company AMT, which provides services to oil and gas projects offshore Mozambique

From the Zitamar Live Blog:

Statistics head quits after voter numbers furore
Rosario Fernandes, the respected head of the national statistics institute INE, has quit his post following a campaign to discredit him after the INE questioned the number of voters registered in Gaza province by the election authorities — according to an exclusive story in todays’ edition of Savana.

The best of the rest:

  • Renamo: peace still depends on fair elections (A Verdade)
  • Russia and Mozambique sign agreements — but debt forgiveness is fake news (Kremlin, Rosneft)
  • Boustani email shows Guebuza involvement in ProIndicus scheme (Carta de Moçambique)
  • Vale accused of land grabbing in Tete province (Carta de Moçambique)
  • US EXIM to vote on $5 billion loan for Anadarko LNG project (Reuters)

Renamo: peace still depends on fair elections (A Verdade)
The success of the peace and reconciliation agreement signed earlier this month “will depend on the integrity, freedom, fairness and transparency with which the forthcoming elections will be carried out,” Renamo’s parliamentary leader Ivone Soares said in parliament on Wednesday. The continued existence of the self-styled Renamo Military Junta — which Soares described as an internal “family” problem — means the peace deal is already violated since all Renamo’s military should have been dismantled by Wednesday, 21 August.
It is logical that the success of the peace deal will depend on the outcome of the elections — and indeed it may suit Ossufo Momade’s Renamo to have the ‘military junta’ providing a continued threat if Renamo doesn’t get what it wants at the elections. There remains a real risk of a return to conflict if Renamo candidates are not allowed to win provincial governorships in central provinces — something Nyusi may not be able to guarantee.

Russia and Mozambique sign agreements — but debt forgiveness is fake news (Kremlin, Rosneft)
Yesterday’s meeting between Presidents Nyusi and Putin saw the signing of a number of agreements between the two countries, including one on mutual protection of classified information and an agreement on cooperation between the two countries’ interior ministries.
Russian oil company Rosneft signed memoranda of understanding with Mozambique’s petroleum regulator, INP, and the national oil company, ENH, giving it the right to study geological data on a number of onshore and offshore blocks in Mozambique i and to enter the projects on those blocks in the future, according to a Rosneft statement.
Rosneft CEO Igor Sechin also met President Nyusi yesterday and told him his company is interested in developing a 950 MW power generation project, using a combination of coal, hydro, solar and wind power, and supplying neighbouring countries as well as Mozambique. Another Russian company, Inter RAO-Export, signed an MoU with EDM for power generation co-operation.
The deal with Rosneft looks like it might allow the Russian company to steal a march on competitors when it comes to future oil and gas exploration in Mozambique. It’s unclear why Mozambique would want to do this — could it be related to getting financing from Gazprombank for ENH’s stakes in the Rovuma Basin LNG projects? The agreement to keep each other’s secrets secret appears to be a step backwards for transparency.
The debt forgiveness reported earlier this week — and relayed in yesterday’s Zitamar Daily Briefing — is a mirage. In fact Russia pardoned 90% of Mozambique’s debt 20 years ago, and has been converting the remainder into aid, as reported last year by Zitamar News. We apologise for not catching this mistake sooner.

Boustani email shows Guebuza involvement in ProIndicus scheme (Carta de Moçambique)
The Maputo Criminal Court’s case against various defendants in the case of the ‘hidden debts’ includes an email from Privinvest’s Iskandar Safa and Jean Boustani to then-President Armando Guebuza, setting out their plans to set up ProIndicus and saying that Guebuza had instructed them “to act immediately”.
The email is evidence of President Guebuza’s direct involvement in setting up the scheme — which will make it harder for Mozambican prosecutors to justify not trying to prosecute him along with the other defendants in the case.

Vale accused of land grabbing in Tete province (Carta de Moçambique)
Brazilian mining company Vale on Tuesday went on trial Tete, accused of illegally grabbing 75 fields belonging to peasant farmers in the Chidwé neighborhood in Moatize district, where it has been operating a coal mine since 2011. Vale blamed the government for not carrying out surveillance of the area at the beginning of its activities, adding that the fields are located within its concession area. The judge suspended the hearing so that, on 10 September, a judicial inspection could be held at the disputed area.

US EXIM to vote on $5 billion loan for Anadarko LNG project (Reuters)
The board of directors of the Export-Import Bank of the United States (EXIM) plans to vote on $5 billion direct loan for the Area 1 LNG project in northern Mozambique in 35 days, saying the loan could support an estimated 16,400 American jobs during the construction of the LNG plant through the export of US goods and services, and generate more than $600 million in revenue for US taxpayers through fees and interest earned.
Anadarko has brought together nine export credit agencies to support the financing of its $20 billion project, including those from the UK, Japan, Italy, China and South Africa. This would mean that 70% of the project’s debt, or just over $10 billion, would be provided or guaranteed by ECAs. The exact makeup of the group could still change as the project gears up to financial close later this year, but if the EXIM deal is approved next month, this will mean it takes the lion’s share of that debt.

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