27 July 2012

Mozambique: Guebuza Defends Strong Mozambique-UK Partnership

London — Mozambican President Armando Guebuza has praised the partnership between Mozambique and the United Kindom, which he said generates benefits for both countries.

Guebuza was speaking at a dinner offered in his honour at the House of Lords, shortly after his arrival in London where he is due to attend, at the invitation of the British government, Friday's opening ceremony of the Olympic Games. "With the United Kingdom, we are trying to expand economic relations through broader investment and through trade", said Guebuza.

He said the country's wealth of natural resources, such as the recent discoveries of coal, natural gas and titanium bearing heavy mineral sands, have a fundamental role to play in the development agenda Mozambique is following. The resources will help in the industrialisation of the country, he said, and explain why Mozambique has applied for accession to the Extractive Industry Transparency Initiative (EITI).

But the discovery of mineral resources, he stressed, should never allow the country to divert its attentions away from the other activities (such as agriculture) which have allowed Mozambique to maintain an average annual economic growth rate of seven per cent for more than a decade.

To date Mozambique had only scratched the surface of its enormous potential, said Guebuza, and he urged British companies to join Mozambicans in mutually advantageous partnerships. "The point I want to make is that the country is open and ready for business", he declared.

He pointed to the advances made in stable macro-economic policies, and strategies and programmes that are constantly improving the investment environment. The reforms introduced by the government, he added, are resulting in strengthened fiscal and financial governance, and systems of accountability resulting in greater public probity.

Despite the improvements made, Guebuza recognised the need to do much more to create human and institutional capacity to respond to the country's economic growth.

The dinner was hosted by Lord Hughes of Woodside, who was chairperson of the British Anti-Apartheid Movement from 1976 until its dissolution in 1993, and several people who had been active in solidarity with the peoples of southern Africa during the apartheid regime's war against Mozambique and the other front line states were also present.

Also attending the event was the speaker of the House of Lords, Baroness D'Souza, the chair of the NGO Action for Southern Africa (ACTSA), Lela Kogbara, and prominent writer on Mozambique Joseph Hanlon.

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