Tokyo — Mozambican President Filipe Nyusi has urged Japanese businesses to invest in Mozambique, to take advantage of the enormous potential the country offers and thus contribute to its growth and development.
Nyusi was speaking to over 300 business people at a Mozambique-Japan Business Forum in Tokyo, held as part of his official visit to Japan. In addition to Japanese businesses the event was attended by more than 30 Mozambican businessmen who accompanied Nyusi.
The President told the Forum that Mozambique is recognized throughout the world as a country of enormous potential, and its relations with Japan are not limited to the recent discovery of large energy resources. He noted that, in the last five years alone, Mozambique has approved four projects of Japanese direct investment in agriculture and industry.
These are large projects, he said, which place Japan as a strategic partner of Mozambique. In order to stimulate and attract more investments, continued Nyusi, the government will continue to take measures to improve the business environment, including the granting of tax and customs incentives.
But trade between Mozambique has recently declined. Between 2014 and 2015 Mozambican exports to Japan fell from 50 to 18 million US dollars. Mozambique's imports from Japan also fell - from 274 to 243 million dollars. Mozambique mostly imports from Japan vehicles and equipment, and its most notable exports are coal, timber, fisheries produce and cotton.
The legal framework in Mozambique is favourable and flexible, said Nyusi. “With each passing day the business environment is being facilitated”, he claimed. “Anyone who wants to work will find that he is able to do so. We are flexible in giving opportunities to all those who want them, within the conditions we have created”.
Giving a short summary of the Mozambican economy, Nyusi said that agriculture is the basic and priority activity. The fertile soils and tropical climate allow the production of a wide variety of crops, and the lengthy coastline and the country's inland waters present many fishing opportunities.
Nyusi's delegation was enthusiastic about the possibility of Japanese investment in urban public transport, and Mozambican Deputy Transport Minister Manuela Rebelo signed a memorandum of understanding for the development of transport in Maputo.
She was convinced of the feasibility of an integrated road and rail network for the Greater Maputo Metropolitan Area. Key to this would be an Automated Gateway Transit (AGT) project, relying on computer operated, driverless trains running along a surface metro. Such systems have been in operation in Tokyo since 1995.
A viability study for the Greater Maputo transport system should begin this year, said Rebelo, and the whole system could be built and operational by 2023.
Asked about the source of financing, Rebelo said the government is looking for partnerships, mainly from Japan, given the support the Japanese authorities have already expressed. She believed that the discussions during Nyusi's visit to Tokyo showed that Japan was open to helping solve Maputo's transport problems.