Welcome to a free edition of Zitamar’s daily Mozambique briefing for 21 November, 2017.
The latest from Zitamar News:
A Mozambican company is looking to raise financing for a feasibility study for a floating LNG-to-power station that will be moored 40 km north of Maputo
India’s Godrej Group is doubling its manufacturing capacity in Mozambique
Producers of baobab powder and sweet potato chips will represent Mozambique at the Global Agripreneurs Summit in Istanbul in 2018 after winning Mozambique’s Future Agro Challenge
The best of the rest:
Mozambique to stop importing seeds for the country’s main crops (Notícias)
Mozambique is planning to switch to locally produced seed instead of importing it for almost all of the country’s staple crops, starting this year. The move is aimed at lowering seed prices, according to the National Agronomy Research Institute (Instituto de Investigação Agrária de Moçambique, IIAM). Potato seed could remain exempt due to weak supply in the country.
Stopping imports to cut prices seems counter-intuitive, but the government is probably trying to promote domestic seed production – both for the benefit of seed producers, but also to encourage the development and production of locally adapted seeds. However, a lack of market structure in Mozambique makes it hard to make money from seed production – particularly since food crop seed has often historically been handed out free by government and NGOs, so farmers are not used to paying for improved seed in Mozambique.
Around 30 workers at EMATUM, the company which borrowed $850 million supposedly to establish a tuna fishing and maritime security operation, are on strike again this week – claiming they have not been paid for four months. Nor, they say, have their national insurance (INSS) payments been made despite having been deducted from their salaries for two years.
This is the second strike this year by EMATUM’s disgruntled sailors and fishermen who are stuck on dry land as the company’s fleet rusts in Maputo harbour. Meanwhile, Mozambicans and the rest of the world are no closer to understanding where the $850m went – including $500m that the government took onto its books, but still can not or will not account for.
Renamo and MDM complain that election administration favours Frelimo in Beira (O País)
Mozambique’s two main opposition parties, Renamo and the MDM, each separately complained to the media yesterday that the election authorities in Beira are planning to put clusters of polling stations near police stations, army barracks, and Frelimo party offices – a move they claim will favour Frelimo in elections in 2018 and 2019.
The complaints are aimed at the Beira branch of the Secretariado Técnico da Administração Eleitoral (STAE), which retorted that the positioning of polling stations is the responsibility of the other electoral administration body, the Comissão Provincial de Eleições in Sofala. This is the first such complaint this election season – and is likely to be the first of many.
Mozambique has fallen two places to 23rd in the Mo Ibrahim Index of African Governance, one of eight countries showing a marked worsening over the last five years. The report can be seen in full here.
President Joaquim Chissano won the first Mo Ibrahim prize for stepping down from power at the end of his term. The country has at least continued to change its leaders, albeit within Frelimo, but other indicators are getting worse.
The Mozambican economy grew 2.9% in the third quarter of 2017 versus the same period last year – a slower rate of growth than the 3.1% registered the quarter before. The extractive industry grew 10% in Q3, a healthy figure but much slower than the remarkable 60% boom seen in Q2.
Mining continues to drive Mozambique’s fragile economic recovery – but unfortunately the capital-intensive extractive industry does not lend itself to inclusive growth. The same will be true of the gas projects, which will only improve living standards for most Mozambicans if government ensures that the benefits are widely distributed – and that the economy diversifies. We are yet to see much evidence of either.
- Today: Hearing reopens in the 170 million meticais Agricultural Development Fund corruption case
- Wednesday: Vale and Mitsui to sign their $2.7bn project finance package for the Nacala Corridor
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