Maputo — The Covid-19 pandemic "has taught us how we depend on each other to keep safe and together we are seeking a cure through research, testing and validating treatment", said Mozambican President Filipe Nyusi on Thursday.
Participating by video link in a Forum organised by the United States Corporate Council on Africa, Nyusi added "we believe that if we join our efforts we shall respond with more resilience to the Covid-19 pandemic".
The pandemic reached Africa relatively late. Nyusi said that, as Africans watched Covid-19 unfold in other parts of the world, "we had a window of opportunity to act rapidly to prevent its spread".
As soon as the first cases were detected in Mozambique, he continued, the government set up a Special Ministerial Commission, and a Scientific and Technical Committee "to advise the government and take the leadership in our response".
As the number of cases increased, "we declared a state of emergency, and instituted social distancing. In many cases we made hygiene measures and the wearing of masks obligatory", Nyusi said.
The number of cases remains fairly low in Mozambique, the President added, but "the negative socio-economic impact of Covid-19 and of the preventive measures taken are a concern for all of us. Companies are not fully functioning and some have closed. The tourism and transport sectors are the most affected".
Unemployment had increased, "mainly affecting the most vulnerable groups in society". This crisis led the government "to take monetary and fiscal measures to support companies, including the banks", and to increase the budgetary resources for health and social protection.
Nyusi said "local and international companies, including American companies, have responded well, by adapting their working conditions and by donating individual protective equipment to health workers".
The Mozambican authorities "estimate that we need about 700 million US dollars to mitigate the impact of Covid-19", he continued. "We are grateful that much of this sum has already been committed".
Nyusi noted that US companies are well-positioned to invest in key sectors of the Mozambican economy, and he hoped for further partnerships between Mozambican ad American companies in Liquefied Natural Gas (LNG).
Mozambique's economic and governance reforms, he added, had opened the way to approval of a second package of aid from the US government's Millennium Challenge Corporation (MCC).
"We want to make operational all the cooperation instruments we have signed with the United States", stressed Nyusi, and he invited US businesses "to take full advantage of the investment environment in Mozambique".
"Our strategy", he said, "is to conduct the fight against the pandemic, by opening the economy in such a way as to make sustainable the management of the response to Covid-19".
"We are committed to ensuring that Mozambique remains an important destination for investment, now and after the pandemic", he concluded.