Maputo — The British Deputy Prime Minister, Nick Clegg, on Thursday praised the “rapid growth” of the Mozambican economy, and promised that his government will continue to support Mozambique’s development.
Clegg, on the second and final day of a working visit to Mozambique, was speaking to reporters immediately after an audience granted by President Armando Guebuza.
Clegg said they had discussed the immense opportunities and challenges facing Mozambique.
“During our discussion I reiterated the willingness and determination of our government to continue to work in a spirit of friendship and partnership with Mozambique, in its extraordinary transformation heading towards a future of sustainable prosperity”, he declared.
Apart from bilateral matters, they also discussed what Britain might do when it takes over the rotating chairmanship of the G8 group of most developed countries. Clegg said that Britain wants to work with the Mozambican government and other governments in the region on the areas of taxes and finance, and transparency in investments, particularly in the extractive industry.
Before setting out on this African tour, Clegg had already stressed the need to crack down on tax evasion by western companies. He was cited by the BBC as saying “To disrupt the vicious cycle of inequity in the systems of tax and trade, we must first create a level playing field whereby responsible and thriving companies are attracted to trade and to do business in a fair and transparent way”.
Other themes discussed in the meeting between Guebuza and Clegg included the crises in Mali, Zimbabwe and the Democratic Republic of Congo.
Commenting on the meeting, Mozambique’s Deputy Foreign Minister, Henrique Banze, said the questions of British investment in Mozambique was also under discussion. He said it was clear that the development of the country’s mineral resources should benefit more Mozambicans, and the companies exploiting Mozambican resources should make a greater contribution in tax.
Banze added that Mozambique does not believe it should depend exclusively on investment in mineral resources. He stressed the need for more investment in agriculture and in infrastructure such as roads,
He added that there is now the possibility of British putting specialist water engineers at Mozambique’s disposal, to help in the management of the country’s water resources.