2 June 2019

Mozambique: Nyusi Calls for Speed in Disbursing Reconstruction Funds

Maputo — Beira (Mozambique), 2 Jun (AIM) - Mozambican President Filipe Nyusi on Saturday asked donors and funding agencies to disburse urgently the funds they promised at the international post-cyclone pledging conference held in Beira.

He was speaking on the second day of the conference at which donors pledged 1.2 billion US dollars for reconstruction in the wake of cyclones Idai and Kenneth which struck Mozambique in March and April.

An assessment validated by experts from the World Bank, the African Development Bank (ADB), the United Nations and the European Union put the total requirements at 3.2 billion dollars - but it was never expected that this entire sum would be raised at the conference.

According to the head of the Mozambican government's post-cyclone reconstruction office, Francisco Pereira, the reconstruction programme covers a period of five years.

Nonetheless Nyusi stressed the urgency of putting the promised financing to work "so that the cornerstones of macro-economic stability are not excessively affected".

He also said it is crucial to simplify the methods of disbursing the funds, "because the value could be larger, but when the modalities of delivering it are difficult, the intended objectives could be compromised".

"As a government", he continued, "we promise to work with the development partners so that together we can identify more ways of financing reconstruction programmes. Here, today, a third has been promised, and we believe that over time the other two thirds will be obtained".

"With each light switched on, with every house that is rebuilt, with every child that returns to school, the hope of the people is reborn, and the certainty that Mozambique will pick itself up from the cyclones", declared the President.

He stressed the need for "inclusion" so that the recovery can occur "in record time", as well as improving transparency which should play an important role in the fight against corruption.

Nyusi said it was indisputable that the two cyclones had set back the country's social and economic development in many sectors.

"Before Idai and Kenneth, the country was slowly but surely emerging from the financial crisis", he added. "But with these two disasters, the growth of our economy, in the coming period, will slow by over half of what was predicted. The 2019 budget law envisaged growth of 4.7 per cent, but the forecasts after Idai and Kenneth point to a growth rate of only two per cent".

The increased budget deficit, would have "serious implications for poverty and production", continued Nyusi. "Once again our governance is being put to the test. But we are determined to confront all the adversities".

Nyusi estimated that 1.5 million people will need food aid from September this year to March 2020 (next year's harvest will start coming in as from April). He warned of "serious situations of thousands of children and pregnant women suffering from acute malnutrition. As for our infrastructures, stretches of road equivalent to 39 per cent of the national road network have been affected, limiting the mobility of over eight million people".

The President stressed the importance of peace in ensuring rapid post-cyclone recovery. "All that we say and decide here is conditional on stability and peace", said Nyusi. "We will continue to work in this direction in order to honour the support from our friends. In the coming week, I shall again be working hard to see if we can achieve effective peace in Mozambique".

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