Intelligent news from Mozambique

Zitamar Daily Briefing, 20 July 2018

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Welcome to Zitamar’s daily Mozambique briefing for 20 July, 2018.

Agenda

  • Today: Seminar covering perspectives on pigeon pea cultivation in Mozambique takes place in Nampula

The latest from Zitamar News:

Mozambique parliament approves decentralisation and election reforms

The reforms will allow municipal elections scheduled for 10 October to go ahead – and make decentralisation a reality

ENRC coal project in Tete reaches community resettlement agreement

Eurasian Natural Resources Corporation has reached agreement with the local community to allow the company to start work on its coal project

The best of the rest:

  • EU to contribute direct project support for Mozambique, including for demilitarization program
  • Frelimo profiting from illegal timber cutting in Tete
  • Manuel de Araújo confirms that he is Renamo’s candidate for Quelimane mayor
  • Maputo power plant now fully operational

EU to contribute direct project support for Mozambique, including for demilitarization program (Notícias, Rádio Moçambique)

The European Commission’s director-general for cooperation and international development, Stefano Manservisi, assured Mozambican president Filipe Nyusi yesterday in Cabo Verde that the EU will continue to provide money to support development projects in Mozambique. According to Nyusi, that support will include €50 million ($58m) to fund a demilitarization program for Renamo fighters. The African Development Bank also pledged this week to continue project support in Mozambique.

State media outlets dispute the total amount of the EU’s pledge, with Notícias calling it €400m and Rádio Moçambique putting the number at €300m. In either case, the funding will be crucial to allow the cash-strapped Mozambican government to execute what amounts to a buyout of Renamo fighters. In 1994, the amount of the reintegration budget spent on Renamo fighters was $35.6 million in today’s dollars, and in that case there were many more fighters than will be demobilized under the current plan, which will apparently cost at least $58 million. The government has clearly promised a great deal in exchange for peace, and now must find the resources to deliver on its promises.

Frelimo profiting from illegal logging in Tete (Savana)

Organizations like the Frelimo Association of Liberation War Veterans and Monte Binga, a business owned by the Defence Ministry which has stakes in ProIndicus and MAM, are engaged in illegal timber exploitation in Tete province, in partnership with foreign – mainly Chinese – citizens, according to a Savana investigation. Organized crime networks have been cutting valuable timber species in direct contravention of an order by Land Minister Celso Correia to suspend harvesting Nkula, Pau-ferro, and Mondzo trees.

According to Savana, bribes to public servants and law enforcement have been the key to hiding the scheme thus far. The going bribery rate is apparently 1,000 meticais ($16.91) per log. The only prosecution we can recall was done by Malawi when Mozambican and Chinese loggers strayed across the border – and even then, Mozambican state propaganda machine AIM was enlisted to try and free the men.

Manuel de Araújo confirms he is Renamo’s candidate for Quelimane mayor (Txopela, CanalMoz)

Quelimane mayor Manuel de Araújo, who was elected in the Zambézia provincial capital as a member of the Movimento Democrático de Moçambique (MDM), will stand for the same position in October municipal elections as head of the Renamo list. Araújo submitted a letter to MDM on Wednesday renouncing his membership in the party and declining to run on its list.

Araújo is returning to Renamo, the party he left almost a decade ago. If he returns on good terms, as seems likely, he could play a major role in the party and the country’s future.

Maputo power plant now fully operational (Notícias)

Maputo’s combined cycle power plant reached full operations last Tuesday, and is now producing electricity from natural gas. The 106MW plant claims to be the first high-efficiency natural gas power plant in southern Africa. The plant’s construction was funded by a partnership between the Japanese international development agency JICA and the Mozambican government.

Mozambique is now using all the gas it has; any future gas-fired power plants will have to wait for either an expansion of Sasol’s projects, or domestic gas to come from the Rovuma Basin – or an LNG import facility.

© 2018, Alexandre Nhampossa. All rights reserved.

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