Washington, DC — President Filipe Nyusi on Tuesday urged Mozambican business people to rise to the challenge of demonstrating the potential of Mozambique on the United States market, in order to establish sustainable partnerships with American companies.
He was speaking in Washington to the group of business people accompanying him on his three day official visit to the US.
Nyusi stressed that the search for partnerships began on his previous visit to the US last September, which also included a business delegation.
“Since we were here last year, we shall take advantage of this moment to continue what we have already begun”, he said. He said that Mozambican companies should participate in the foreign investment megaprojects “in tertiary or even secondary activities”.
But he warned the Mozambican businesses that they could face some problems in promoting their products, particularly the question of certification.
Speaking to reporters shortly after this meeting, Agostinho Vuma, chairperson of the Confederation of Mozambican Business Associations (CTA), who is leading the business delegation, said that agro-industry, mineral resources and energy are the areas that will top the agenda of the delegation’s meetings.
He was optimistic that American businesses would be receptive to proposals for partnerships, because Mozambique was now emerging from its economic crisis.
“We were a country swamped with undisclosed debts”, he admitted. “Our currency, the metical, was falling in value, the institutions that cooperate with Mozambique had suspended their support, and we also faced an armed conflict. But now Mozambique is in a new period, so this mission promises a lot”.
It is true that the metical has stabilized, inflation has slowed, and the Renamo rebels have declared a truce, so that there are no longer any ambushes on the country’s roads. But the 14 donors who used to support the Mozambican budget, have not resumed disbursement, and there is still no new programme with the International Monetary Fund (IMF).
The IMF made it clear that relations could not return to normal before the publication of the report from the independent audit into the three security-related companies EMATUM (Mozambican Tuna Company), Proindicus and MAM (Mozambique Asset Management), which between them borrowed over two billion dollars from European banks in 2013 and 2014, with guarantees illegally granted by the government of Nyusi’s predecessor, Armando Guebuza.
The London branch of the US company Kroll Associates carried out the audit, but the executive summary of the audit report, expected in May, has still not been released. The report has been with the Mozambican Attorney-General’s Office (PGR) for over a month, supposedly because the PGR and the auditors are checking it to ensure that it is in line with the agreed terms of reference.
Mozambique is one of the countries that can benefit from tariff and quota-free access to the US market under the African Growth and Opportunity Act (AGOA). To date Mozambique has not benefitted as much from AGOA has had been hoped. Vuma said that success in this area depended on increasing the capacity of the Mozambican business class, using state-of-the-art technology “so that we can not only reduce imports, but also increase our exports to the markets of the United States and of other countries”.
This viewpoint is shared by the Minister of Industry and Trade, Max Tonela, who said that the focus of the visit is to increase foreign investment in Mozambique, in the hope that this will generate an increase in exports.
“Meetings are scheduled with American companies operating in agriculture and agro-processing”, he said, “in order to attract them and to mobilize investment for Mozambique”.