Intelligent news from Mozambique

​Zitamar Daily Briefing, 12 September 2017

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Welcome to Zitamar’s daily Mozambique briefing for 12 September, 2017.

The latest from Zitamar News:

Mozambique officially ‘fragile’ – World Bank
Mozambique’s policy and institutional assessment score has fallen low enough to bring it into the category of ‘fragile situations’ – formerly known as ‘fragile states’ – for the first time ever.

Zimbabwe completes Mozambique border road improvement project
The road leading to the Forbes border post now has two lanes in each direction, with more improvements promised by landlocked Zimbabwe, which relies on the route to get to the Port of Beira.

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The best of the rest:

Another month of deflation in Mozambique (Noticias)
Prices fell again in Mozambique last month, this time by 0.02%, putting annual inflation at 14.13% versus a year ago. So far in 2017, prices have risen 4.34% in Maputo, but just 2.75% in Nampula and 1.08% in Beira.
A bumper harvest has seen the price of Mozambique’s main agricultural commodities – in particular maize – plummet. That will have a bigger effect in the country’s northern cities than in Maputo which relies much more heavily on South African imports.

Maputo ring road toll booths to open at the start of next year (Noticias)
The first two of five planned toll booths on the Maputo Ring Road should start operation in the first quarter of 2018, according to the head of Maputo Sul, the government agency set up to manage the ring road and the Maputo-Katembe bridge. Silva Magaia said the government has approved funds to build the toll booths to cover the Baixa-Chiango and Zimpeto-Marracuene sections of the road.
The ring road and Katembe bridge are part of the same project being undertaken by China Road and Bridge Corporation. It is telling that, despite the billion dollars Mozambique is supposedly paying for the roads, the country has struggled to find the funds to build the toll booths that are supposed to recoup the outlay – even before ongoing road maintenance is taken into account.

Kroll says Bank of Mozambique encouraged Chang to approve ‘hidden debt’ guarantees (@Verdade)
The full version of the Kroll audit, leaked earlier this month, found that the Bank of Mozambique not only knew about the loans taken out by ProIndicus, EMATUM, and MAM, but confirmed that the then-finance minister, Manuel Chang, had the power to sign the sovereign guarantees – despite their not having been approved by parliament, as required by Mozambique’s constitution.
When asked about the loans in 2016, Ernesto Gove – since replaced as governor – said he had never heard of ProIndicus. From then on in, the central bank banned questions on the topic from its press conferences. A parliamentary inquiry and Mozambique’s Administrative Court have ruled that the guarantees were illegal.

Two thirds of Mozambicans remain ‘unbanked’ (Lusa)
Only around 36% of adult Mozambicans has a bank account, a number which the country’s biggest banks, BCI and Millennium Bim, told Lusa they want to grow to match the region’s leaders, like Mauritius with 85%, South Africa with 75%, and Namibia with 62%.
The figure hits 44% in Mozambique when mobile money accounts – Vodacom’s Mpesa, Mcel’s Mkesh, and Movitel’s E-mola – are included. Another mobile money application, Bibimoney, is about to launch in Mozambique and promises to allow money transfers across networks, which could be the key to the technology taking off here.

Police confiscate ivory and semi-precious stones in Nampula (AIM)
Mozambican police detained one Mozambican and one Tanzanian last Friday in possession of seven pieces of ivory, weighing a total of 45.5kg, and 3.7kg of semi-precious garnet stones. The suspects were hiding the contraband among sacks of corn in a bus travelling along the EN1 highway in Nampula province.

Unitaid Mozambique launch ‘TIPTOP’ project to prevent malaria in pregnancy (Press release)
Mozambique yesterday played host to the global launch of TIPTOP, an effort to improve malaria treatment for pregnant women which will be pioneered here and in the Democratic Republic of Congo, Madagascar, and Nigeria. Health minister Dr. Nazira Karimo Vali Abdula launched the project with Lelio Marmora, Executive Director of Switzerland-based NGO Unitaid. According to a 2015 study, more than 28% of pregnant women in Mozambique are infected with malaria.

Happening Today

  • The trial starts of 27 defendants, including the former chairman of the Agricultural Development Fund (Fundo de Desenvolvimento Agrário, FDA), accused of diverting 170 million meticais ($2.77m) from the state-owned fund.

Bank of Mozambique exchange rates as at 09:30

© 2017, Zitamar Ltd. Reproduction and dissemination prohibited without written permission.

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