Welcome to Zitamar’s daily Mozambique briefing for 1 August, 2018.
- Today: Conference on the air transport needs of megaprojects, organized by the Ministry of Transport and Communication
- Today: The National Meteorological Institute (INAM) warns of intense heat in Maputo and Gaza provinces, with temperatures reaching 36 degrees celsius
- Today: The Civic Coalition on Extractive Industry releases its report on resettlement in Montepuez district, Cabo Delgado
- Today: Start of 3-day Regional Symposium on ‘Greening the Judiciaries in Africa’ – African chief justices and presidents of supreme and regional courts meet in Maputo to discuss how to strengthen adjudication of environmental disputes in Africa
The latest from Zitamar News:
According to the AfDB, Magala will take up his new post on 1 September, though Zitamar understands he has promised to continue to lead EDM until October
Zitamar’s newsdesk is (more or less) on holiday this week
…but the Mozambique Daily Briefing continues as usual.
Today’s top headlines:
- UN to food aid for 10,000 displaced by violence in Cabo Delgado
- Niassa will export timber from reforestation projects
- African Development Bank will finance part of Lichinga-Cuamba road repairs
- Maputo Sul misses another deadline to finish the Maputo-Catembe bridge
- Drinking water prices rise
UN to food aid for 10,000 displaced by violence in Cabo Delgado (Lusa)
The UN’s World Food Programme (WFP) plans to send food aid for 10,000 people affected by the ongoing insurgency in Mozambique’s northern Cabo Delgado province on Monday, 6 August, in an operation that is currently awaiting a “green light” from local authorities. WFP says that it has received requests for food aid from local government in Mocímboa da Praia and Palma districts, two of the hardest hit by insurgent attacks. The aid will include 240 tonnes of corn and 36 tonnes of beans and oil, enough for three months consumption.
The WFP mission is a good indication of the scale of displacement in Cabo Delgado, with 10,000 likely being a substantial undercount of the entire province. A recent report by O País revealed that many displaced attack survivors are still living in the open, exposed to the elements.
Niassa will export timber from reforestation projects (Notícias, AIM)
Niassa province will soon begin exporting wood grown in large reforestation areas that were planted with pine and eucalyptus trees years ago as part of an initiative by companies like the Malonda Foundation and Green Resources to create a sustainable timber business. According to Mozambican president Filipe Nyusi, who announced the sale of the timber, the sustainable wood business will be good for the Niassa economy and the rail system that will transport logs for export.
Green Resources has had years of challenges in making its timber business in northern Mozambique sustainable, and the recent tightening of timber export rules in Mozambique have probably made things harder. Another company, Obtala, said last month that it is refocusing towards the domestic market, and reducing its investment in Mozambique, due to uncertainty over regulations. Meanwhile, certain local governments continue to turn a blind eye to illicit operators.
Mozambique launches hunt for energy regulator head (Lusa)
The Mozambique government today launched an international recruitment campaign to find a head of the new energy sector regulator, the Autoridade Reguladora de Energia (ARENE), on a five-year contract. News agency Lusa reported that the new ARENE chair will oversee regulation of the electricity and liquid fuels sectors, and the distribution and commercialisation of natural gas.
Added to the announcement of the departure of EDM head Mateus Magala, this means Mozambique’s energy sector will have a significantly new leadership in a few months time – though the energy minister, Max Tonela, is expected to be in position for the long term.
Maputo Sul misses another deadline to finish the Maputo-Catembe bridge (O País)
Maputo Sul, the construction company charged with building the Maputo-Catembe bridge, failed to complete the bridge by the self-imposed deadline of 31 July. The company’s chairman, Silva Magaia, would not speak to O País, but workers interviewed said that “there is still much work to be done.” Magaia did recently tell STV, the sister television station of O País, that the main access road on the Maputo side is still waiting for one family which is holding out for better compensation.
The bridge, which will be the longest of its kind in Africa, had previously been slated to open in late 2017, then again on 25 June, and then once more at the end of June, notes @Verdade. The route is still served by two aged ferries whose maintenance appears to have been neglected over the last year, in the expectation that the bridge will make them obsolete.
Drinking water prices rise (MediaFax, O País)
Mozambique’s Water Regulation Board has decided to increase prices for drinking water starting yesterday, citing rising “operating and maintenance costs”. The cost for 7 cubic meters per month will rise from $1.56 (90.4 meticais) to $1.73 (100 meticais) in primary systems and from $0.60 (34.57 meticais) to $0.79 (45.78 meticais) in secondary systems. For domestic consumers who are part of the “social group”, who consume less than 5 cubic meters per month in provincial capitals, prices will remain at $2.30 (133.5 meticais).
Like last year, the process leading to water price hikes was not widely publicised beyond appearing in the government gazette (Boletim da República) on 20 July – meaning the increase will take consumers by surprise. A water official toldZitamar News last year that the secrecy is a government strategy to avoid “popular demonstrations”.
African Development Bank will finance part of Lichinga-Cuamba road repairs (Rádio Moçambique)
The African Development Bank will spend $990 million to finance the repaving of the Muita to Cuamba section of the Lichinga to Cuamba road in Niassa province. Mozambique’s minister of public works, housing, and water resources João Machatine said that the money was the first tranche of $3.3 billion needed to complete repairs on the road by 2020.
© 2018, Alexandre Nhampossa. All rights reserved.