Lisbon — The Mozambican and Portuguese governments signed 13 agreements in Lisbon on Wednesday, at the end of the Fourth Luso-Mozambican Summit, chaired by Mozambican President Filipe Nyusi and Portuguese Prime Minister Antonio Costa.
Among the agreements was an addendum to an agreement of 2008, concerning a line of credit of 400 million euros (about 451 million US dollars) extended to Mozambique by the Portuguese state-owned bank, the Caixa Geral de Depositos (CGD), with the Portuguese government as guarantor.
The addendum prolongs to March 2020 the period in which the line of credit can be used. The sum yet to be disbursed, of about 11.6 million euros, is earmarked for the rehabilitation of a series of Mozambican roads.
The two governments also signed a memorandum for a fund of 1.5 million euros, to be used in the reconstruction of those parts of Mozambique devastated by the two cyclones that hit the country in March and April.
This fund, managed by the Portuguese Camoes Institute, will be financed out of the Portuguese state budget and grants from public and private bodies (including Portuguese municipalities). It will finance projects proposed by NGOs over the next three years.
According to the statement from the two governments, the fund will be guided "to promote interventions for reconstruction and short and medium term recovery". It was intended "to create synergies between humanitarian action and development".
The two governments also signed a memorandum on energy, with the purpose of "promoting institutional cooperation" and a plan of action for tourism, covering the period up to 2021. A series of agreements were signed on health care, particularly for the diagnosis and treatment of cancer in Mozambique. This will extend the current support for the cancer unit in Maputo Central Hospital to the Beira and Nampula Central Hospitals, and will be financed to the tune of about 50,000 euros a year.
A technical cooperation protocol was also signed between the Mozambican National Health Institute and the Ricardo Jorge National Health Institute of Portugal. This seeks "to establish cooperation in research projects, health policy, health systems, and epidemiological surveillance".
Other protocols signed covered the areas of justice, labour, the economic development of Mozambique Island off the coast of Nampula province (which had been the first colonial capital of Mozambique), and the professional qualification of workers, above all in the public administration.
In the question and answer session that followed the summit, Nyusi said the case of the Portuguese businessman Americo Sebastiao, who disappeared in 2016 in Nhamapaza, in the central province of Sofala, has been re-opened.
Sebastiao had been working in agriculture, livestock and forestry since 1998. He was kidnapped on 29 July 2016, but nobody has claimed responsibility for this crime. This occurred before the former rebel movement Renamo declared a truce in its low-level insurgency, and the Nhamapaza area was the scene of clashes between Renamo gunmen and the Mozambican defence and security forces.
There has been no sign of Sebastiao since, and his family harbours hope that he may still be alive.
Nyusi said there is still no explanation for the disappearance of Sebastiao, but the government remains committed to finding answers. Both the Criminal Investigation Service (SERNIC) and the Attorney-General's Office (PGR), had looked into the case, found nothing, and the case was closed.
Nonetheless, the case has been re-opened at the request of Sebastiao's family, and is in the hands of the Mozambican Public Prosecutor's Office. Nyusi revealed that last week he had met with Sebastiao's family, who shared with him their belief that Sebastiao is still alive.