Washington, DC —
Mozambican President Filipe Nyusi declared in Washington on Wednesday that Mozambique “is back on the path to economic growth and development”, showing clear signs of overcoming the obstacles it has faced recently.
He was speaking at the opening of the 11th US-Africa Business Summit, which is convened every two years by the Corporate Council on Africa. This is a trade association set up in 1993 to promote business and investment between the US and African countries.
“Today we can say that Mozambique is back as a country with a prospering economy”, said Nyusi. This was not merely because of recent discoveries of vast reserves of mineral resources, particularly natural gas, in which American companies are playing an important role. Nyusi stressed that the opportunities in Mozambique cover many other areas, including agriculture, electricity generation and distribution, and the production and sale of industrial and consumer goods.
“Thus Mozambique is back, back to transform into wealth the enormous potential and countless business opportunities that it offers”, said the President, as he invited US businesses to invest.
As a signal of the trust that Mozambique now enjoys internationally, Nyusi pointed to the official launch, on 1 June, of the project to produce liquefied natural gas on a floating platform above the Coral South gas field in the Rovuma Basin, about 50 kilometres from the coast of the northern province of Cabo Delgado.
The operator of this project is the Italian energy company, ENI, heading a consortium which also includes the China National Petroleum Corporation (CBPB), KOGAS of South Korea, GALP of Portugal and Mozambique’s own National Hydrocarbon Company (ENH). The total cost of the project is put at eight billion US dollars (in addition to the 2.8 billion already spent on exploration and other preliminary work).
The floating LNG project “is a great vote of confidence in Mozambique and in our government”, declared Nyusi. “Hence our statement: Mozambique is back, and foreign investment is safe”.
He recognized that Mozambique still faces challenges arising from the recent economic crisis, but he believed it was possible to overcome them through the re-establishment of effective peace and political stability. This was a process, Nyusi added, in which he hoped the country could count on the support of all its friends, particularly the United States.
“The Mozambican people and the business community are awaiting with great expectation the evolution of the hydrocarbon projects in the Rovuma Basin, particularly the exploitation of natural gas”, Nyusi declared.
He considered the United States as a strategic partner in this area, and believed that American investment could help make Mozambique one of the largest producers of natural gas in the world.
An American company, Anadarko, is the operator of Rovuma Basin Area One, and plans to set up LNG plants onshore, on the Afungi Peninsula, in Palma district. The giant US energy corporation, ExxonMobil, has agreed to purchase a large share in Area Four from ENI, and it too will set up onshore LNG plants.
Nyusi believed that, in the coming years, the United States will become the largest single investor in Mozambique. “These are investments that transform the structure of the Mozambican economy”, he said, “and they mark a sharply positive turn in the history of Mozambique’s relations with the US”.