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Tear gas fired at striking coal miners; Mozambique government seeks new investors for Tongaat sugar mills

Welcome to Zitamar’s daily Mozambique briefing for 12 July 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: UN Secretary-General Antonio Guterres visits Beira to conclude his two-day visit to Mozambique
  • Monday 15 July: Start of the final session of the current Parliament
  • 15-17 July: International Conference on Air Transport Tourism and Air Cargo, Maputo
  • Wednesday 17 July: Announcement of the results of the Initial Public Offering of shares in Hidroelectrica de Cahora Bassa (HCB)

The latest from Zitamar News:

Tear gas fired at striking coal miners ahead of mine expansion consultation
The strike is the latest strife for ICVL which has struggled with labour and community relations — and now wants to expand its mining activities in Tete

Property developer Grit cashes in on Mozambique gas and mining boom

The best of the rest:

  • Mozambique government seeks new investors for Tongaat sugar mills (Notícias)
  • Donors will start sending cyclone reconstruction money in August (Lusa)
  • Discrimination could lead Islamic community to lose trust in Frelimo (DW)
  • Statistics institute proves CNE wrong on Gaza (AIM)
  • Funding guaranteed for Temane-Maputo power line (AIM)
  • FAO promises $50 million to Mozambique (Notícias)
  • UN’s counter-terrorism advisors available to collaborate with Mozambique (Lusa)

Mozambique government seeks new investors for Tongaat sugar mills (Notícias)
The government is looking for investment from new partners to help it keep open the Xinavane and Mafambisse sugar mills which are being abandoned by South African sugar company Tongaat Hulett. Trade and industry minister Ragendra de Sousa told Notícias the troubles at the mills are due to mis-management by a Mozambican.
The government appears to be blaming Rosário Cumbi, the head of the Xinavane sugar mill and Tongaat’s top man in Mozambique, for the failure of the mills — whose closure would cause significant job losses in Gaza and Sofala. There is a rumour that Cumbi has been trying to put together a management buy-out, but given the government’s attitude towards him that is unlikely to succeed. Global sugar market conditions, particularly with the end of the EU’s quota system last year, are unlikely to help with the hunt for new investors for Mozambique’s relatively inefficient mills.

Donors will start sending cyclone reconstruction money in August (Lusa)
The international community will begin in August to disburse the $1.2 billion they pledged to help Mozambique's post-cyclones Idai and Kenneth reconstruction efforts, according to public works minister João Machatine, who said the government and donors are now setting priorities for infrastructure reconstruction.
Recent pronouncements by the Prime Minister to the UN, and President Nyusi in Portugal, display some frustration on the part of the government that promised aid has not been disbursed more quickly. This issue is part of the agenda to be discussed with UN Secretary General Antonio Guterres who is today in Beira, assessing the situation in Sofala post-Idai.

Discrimination could lead Islamic community to lose trust in Frelimo (DW)
Attempts by Mozambique's secret service to monitor mosques in Maputo could lead to the Islamic community feeling discriminated against and losing trust in the ruling Frelimo party. "If Muslims begin to feel discriminated against, where some are treated as children and others as stepchildren, some are persecuted and others are tolerated, then this can create discontent, which is bad for a democracy in which everything is based on the vote," the chairman of Mozambique's Islamic Council Sheik Aminudin Mohamad said. He urged the government to avoid following other countries' trend of labelling Muslims terrorists and persecuting them, adding that the Islamic community leadership will meet with the authorities to discuss the matter.
The Islamic Council is an old friend of Frelimo and its support includes campaign funding, so it has the power to hit Frelimo where it hurts. But it is unclear if the Council would actually follow through on its implicit threat, particularly with elections coming up and the government and Council deepening their cooperation on counterinsurgency efforts in Cabo Delgado. One of the reasons the Government tends to avoid describing the violence in the province as an Islamist insurgency is precisely because of the power of the Muslim  lobby, which controls lots of businesses in Mozambique and channels generous contributions to Frelimo every year.

Statistics institute proves CNE wrong on Gaza (AIM)
Mozambique’s National Statistics Institute (INE) on Thursday confirmed that the National Elections Commission (CNE) has wildly exaggerated the number of adults of voting age (18 years and above) in the southern province of Gaza. The INE’s figures say there are 836,581 adults in Gaza — considerably fewer than STAE’s target for voter registration in Gaza of 1.14 million, and even further below the total supposedly registered, of 1,166,011. By AIM’s calculation, using the INE figures, Gaza should be allocated 13 seats – not the 22 it has now been allocated.
The figures released by INE will support Renamo’s attempts to have the Gaza registration ruled unlawful. But it’s hard to imagine what can happen now to rectify it, as re-running registration in Gaza before the elections would be all but impossible. But for the over-registration to be effective, there will have to be irregularities on polling day, such as some people voting twice — meaning election observation in Gaza will be particularly important. Renamo should ensure that it is equipped to do so, as it has the right to have an observer at every polling station. Rosario Fernandes, head of INE and previously head of the Tax Authority has shown, once again, that he will not be drawn in to some of the practices of the ruling party.

Funding guaranteed for Temane-Maputo power line (AIM)
The Islamic Development Bank (IDB) on Sunday approved a soft loan of $99.7 million to finance the power transmission line from Temane in Inhambane to Maputo. The World Bank has already promised a loan of $420 million, and Norway a grant of $30 million, which means the full $550m needed has now been raised. EDM is developing a 400 megawatt electricity generation project in Temane in partnership with Sasol and the independent power producer Globelec. The Temane Transmission Project (TTP) is the first phase in what has become known as the “backbone” of the national electricity transmission system. When complete, this will link Maputo to the Zambezi Valley in Tete province, where the Cahora Bassa dam is located.
Finding funding for the transmission line was a prerequisite for Sasol to move forward with the Temane power plant. FID on the project, which is expected to cost $1.2 billion in total, is not expected until late 2020 at the earliest. The power plant will operate on a tolling structure, with EDM buying the gas that will supply the plant from Sasol, at an as yet undisclosed price. Power from the plant will be fed into the Southern African Power Pool.

FAO promises $50 million to Mozambique (Notícias)
Mozambique will receive at least $50 million to help mitigate the effects of climate change, through the UN’s Climate Green Fund, according to José da Silva of the UN’s Food and Agriculture Organisation (FAO) after meeting President Filipe Nyusi in Rome. No details were given on how the money would be spent, with da Silva saying the Mozambican government must indicate the priorities.

UN’s counter-terrorism advisors available to collaborate with Mozambique (Lusa)
The United Nations Counter-Terrorism Committee is available to collaborate with the Mozambican authorities in the fight against armed insurgents active in the country’s northern Cabo Delgado province since October 2017. ꞌꞌI had the opportunity to express to the Government of Mozambique the total availability of our Counterterrorism and Prevention of Violent Terrorism Unit to collaborate with the Mozambican authorities,ꞌꞌ UN secretary-general António Guterres told reporters at the end of a meeting with President Nyusi during his three day visit to Mozambique. Guterres explained that the collaboration could focus on persuading youth not to join the insurgents. In addition to the support in the fight against the Cabo Delgado insurgency, Guterres expressed the UN’s openness to help in the peace negotiations between the Mozambican government and Renamo.
The UN joins the United States, the United Kingdom, and Erik Prince, among others, in offering their expertise for the Cabo Delgado counterinsurgency effort. It remains to be seen whether the Mozambican government will be able to wrangle all these parallel efforts into a coherent, much less an effective, strategy.

Company Announcements

  • Anadarko shareholders will vote on Occidental Petroleum’s proposed takeover of the company on 8 August, the company announced yesterday

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