Gaberone — Mozambique and Botswana could cooperate in the mining industry, declared President Filipe Nyusi in Gaberone on Tuesday.
Speaking at the opening of a Mozambique-Botswana Business Forum, on the second day of his state visit to Botswana, Nyusi said that Mozambique is interested in such cooperation because Botswana is recognized for mining expertise across the world. The Botswanan diamond mining industry has become the basis of the country's economy, accounting for around 60 per cent of its exports.
“Mozambique has been discovering mineral resources”, said Nyusi, addressing about 100 business people, 30 of them from Mozambique. “We need to share knowledge to take advantage of our potential throughout the entire value chain, and Botswana has enviable experience”.
In addition to mining, Nyusi stressed the important of the tripartite project between Mozambique, Zimbabwe and Botswana for a new deep water mineral port to Techobanine, south of Maputo. A railway built from scratch will link Botswana's coal producing region of Selebi-Pikwe to Techobanine via Zimbabwe.
Nyusi admitted that this huge and highly complex project still requires thorough studies, including an environmental impact study, the harmonization of interests between all involved, and the mobilization of finance.
“We are convinced that bringing this project to fruition could stimulate the rapid circulation of peoples and goods in the SADC (Southern African Development Community) region”, he said.
Summarising the government's five year programme for 2015-2019, Nyusi stressed that the key areas are agriculture, infrastructures, energy and tourism. In agriculture, regarded as the basis for Mozambique's development, the President said that the business environment is very enticing.
“We are offering many legal advantages for investors, preferential prices for electricity used in farming, tax exemption on imported inputs, and a market hungry for agricultural products”, Nyusi stressed. The electricity used in agriculture, he added, is 40 per cent cheaper than the normal electricity tariff.
He added that livestock farming is another area where Mozambique can benefit from cooperation with Botswana, given Botswana's experience in industrial forms of cattle production, covering the entire value chain, producing meat, milk and developing a leather industry.
Nyusi said there are some Botswana businesses investing in Mozambique, but the government would like to see many more.
“Over the last five years, eight projects of direct investment from Botswana were approved in the sectors of tourism, industry, construction and services, with a forecast that they will create 257 jobs”, he added.
He stressed that the government is continuing to encourage and attract private investment, both national and foreign. To this end, the government is working to improve the business environment, particularly by establishing effective peace throughout the country. Other measures to benefit businesses include the establishment of industrial free zones (aimed essentially at exports), and the simplification of the bureaucratic procedures for opening companies and granting licences.
In his closing words, Nyusi invited the Botswana business people to invest in Mozambique, reminding them that “Tomorrow belongs to those who prepare today”.