Maputo — The Mozambican and Portuguese governments on Monday signed a new Strategic Cooperation Programme for the period between 2017 and 2021, reports Tuesday's issue of the Maputo daily “Noticias”.
Under the agreement, signed in Maputo by Deputy Foreign Minister Nyeleti Mondlane and the visiting Portuguese Secretary of State for Foreign Affairs, Teresa Ribeiro, Portugal will provide 202.5 million euros (about 234 million US dollars) to finance activities to combat poverty and promote inclusive development.
Part of the money, 102.5 million euros, takes the form of a soft loan to the Portuguese Fund to Support Investment in Mozambique and the Portuguese Cooperation Business Fund.
At the signing ceremony, Mondlane said the money will be disbursed through various instruments and modalities and will help Mozambique comply with the priorities of the government's Five Year Programme for the 2015-2019 period and with the United Nations Sustainable Development Goals.
“The signing of this bilateral cooperation instrument”, she said, “bears witness once more to Portugal's commitment to contribute, in a continual and consistent way, to the efforts of the Mozambican government to promote the sustainable and inclusive development of our country”.
Mondlane added that the soft loan to the private sector was a clear demonstration that both countries believe that the development of private business is key for the economy to flourish, to generate wealth and to create jobs.
For her part, Ribeiro said that, apart from support to “traditional sectors” (such as education and health), the new cooperation programme pays special attention to the areas of investment and trade.
Portugal is one of the 14 donors that used to provide Mozambique with direct support to the state budget. That support came to a sudden halt in April 2016, with the discovery of over 1.1 billion dollars worth of government guaranteed loans that had not been disclosed to the International Monetary Fund (IMF) or to the Mozambican public.
Ribeiro said that the new Cooperation Programme has nothing to do with budget support, which is under separate consideration. The suspension of budget support, she claimed, did not interfere with drawing up the new programme.