Maputo — Mozambican President Filipe Nyusi on Monday urged American businesses to invest in Mozambique, guaranteeing that there is no risk involved in investing in the country.
Speaking at a meeting with the “Business Council for International Understanding” (BCIU) in New York, Nyusi said that the political environment in Mozambique “is, in general, stable”, and that from 1994 onwards the country has held regular, peaceful elections.
The BCIU describes itself on its website as “a nonpartisan, U.S.-based organization that works to expand international trade and commerce by helping its member companies engage internationally and by facilitating mutually beneficial relationships between business and government leaders worldwide”.
“Mozambique is open to business”, Nyusi declared, “and wants the entire world to be able to exploit the opportunities that it offers”.
He urged US and Mozambican business people to identify opportunities and establish partnerships in areas such as agriculture, agribusiness, mining, transport, tourism, and banking and insurance.
Nyusi explained that, in order to encourage national and foreign investors, the legal framework for mining and hydrocarbons has been revised, and the legislation on public-private partnerships is favourable.
He added that the discovery of huge offshore natural gas reserves coincided with the declaration by the Extractive Industry Transparency Initiative (EITI) that Mozambique is compliant with its requirements. “We are proud of this”, said the President.
He added that Mozambique has signed agreements on the promotion and protection of investments with several countries, including the United States and China.
Most of Mozambique's energy potential remains unexplored, said Nyusi, although there are several large scale projects on the drawing board. One of these is for a new dam at Mpanda Nkua on the Zambezi river, about 60 kilometres downstream from the existing dam at Cahora Bassa.
He explained that Mpanda Nkua could be built n four or five years, and would add 1,500 megawatts to the country's generating capacity, thus helping reduce southern Africa's electricity shortfall.
Also on Monday, Nyusi granted an audience to Rex Tillerson, the chairperson and chief executive officer of the Exxon Mobil Corporation.
At the end of the meeting Tillerson said his company has great interest in undertaking operations in Mozambique, where it has been granted hydrocarbon exploration licences for three offshore blocks, two near the Zambezi Delta, and one close to the small port of Angoche in Nampula province.
“It's clear that there are some challenges”, said Tillerson, “but from what we've seen, the country has a lot of hope. There's a lot that's going to be done, and we think the country has a bright future”.
Exxon Mobil is also in negotiations with the Italian company ENI to sell the American company part of its stake (perhaps 25 per cent) in the Rovuma Basin Offshore Area Four, off the coast of Cabo Delgado province, where it discovered reserves of at least 85 trillion cubic feet of natural gas.
Sources close to these negotiations told the Reuters news agency in August "The deal is done but won't be announced for several months at Exxon's request”.