Mozambique: Economic Performance "surpassed Expectations"

Maputo — The performance of the Mozambican economy this year has exceeded expectations, with several of the country’s macro-economic indicators surpassing their targets, the Minister of Planning and Development, Aiuba Cuereneia, told the country’s parliament, the Assembly of the Republic, on Wednesday.

Although the final figures for 2012 will not be available until February, Cuereneia thought it likely that, despite the international financial crisis, the target for annual economic growth of 7.5 per cent would be met.

The growth rate in the first half of the year was 7.2 per cent.

Inflation has been almost squeezed out of the Mozambican economy. Cuereneia said that between January and October, the average 12 monthly inflation rate was just 2.7 per cent. This makes it likely that the government’s target for an average 12 monthly inflation rate of 7.5 per cent in 2013 will be easily met.

According to the National Statistics Institute (INE), accumulated inflation between January and November was 0.94 per cent, and yearly inflation (from 1 December 2011 to 30 November 3012) was 2.33 per cent.

The Mozambican currency, the metical, had remained stable against the US dollar and the South African rand, Cuereneia said, “which has resulted in a continual reduction in the general level of prices of basic consumer goods throughout the country”.

Mozambican exports this year should easily reach the planned target of three billion dollars. Between January and June, the country’s exports were valued at 1.854 billion dollars, or 61 per cent of the annual target.

Cuereneia added that, between January and September, the government had approved 264 investment projects, with a total value of 2.7 billion dollars, and the potential of creating about 21,000 new jobs.

2012 was the first full year of production and export of coal from the Moatize coal basin, mostly by the Brazilian mining giant Vale, and by the Anglo-Australian company Rio Tinto. Currently the coal exports are all passing through the port of Beira.

“We have expanded the operational capacity of the port, and it can now receive ships 24 hours a day”, said Cuereneia. “Its cargo handling capacity has risen from 6.8 to 9.6 million tonnes a year”.

The electricity grid had expanded over the year so that now 109 of Mozambique’s 128 districts are on the grid. Cuereneia said that had allowed 64,000 new home electricity connections, so that today 37 per cent of the Mozambican population have access to electricity in their homes, either through the national grid, or through solar panels.

In the Mozambican education system, the number of pupils studying at all levels reached 4.5 million in 2012. Cuereneia said that the net school attendance rate among children aged six increased to 72 per cent, “which means that in 2012 more children entered school at the right age”.

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