Intelligent news from Mozambique

Zitamar Daily Briefing, 4 April

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Welcome to Zitamar’s daily Mozambique briefing for 4 April, 2019

The latest from Zitamar News

Mozambique ‘hidden debts’ spotlight back on President Nyusi
Nyusi’s role as defence minister when the three companies were established has meant he has been unable to wash his hands of the biggest scandal in Mozambique’s history

The best of the rest:

  • Talapa hopes for Frelimo comeback in Nampula (Ikweli)
  • INGC acknowledges theft of goods intended for Cyclone Idai victims (DW)
  • President Nyusi names former police chief Jorge Khalau ambassador to Eswatini (O País)
  • Mozambique gets $148 million to increase access to electricity in five poorest provinces (World Bank)
  • Banco BIG Moçambique increases its capital stock (O País)

Talapa hopes for Frelimo comeback in Nampula (Ikweli)
Nampula province Frelimo leader Margarida Talapa said that she believes her party will overcome recent losses in five of the province’s seven municipalities and win the province – the most populous in the country – in October national elections. Last year’s municipal elections, Talapa argued, were not strong predictors of this year’s national elections because they were only for municipal offices and didn’t include rural voters.
Talapa is trying to stay positive, but Frelimo was almost wiped out in the province’s municipalities in October, and although it will probably do slightly better among rural voters than it did in the municipalities, the effect won’t be that great. Moreover, Renamo will be boosted in Nampula by having a Nampula native in Ossufo Momade as its new leader. And the province was not affected by Cyclone Idai, so voter registration should not be hampered.

INGC acknowledges theft of goods intended for Cyclone Idai victims (DW)
In the face of the allegations and a number of reports that donations meant for victims of Cyclone Idai have been stolen or diverted – although there is no record of arrests in relation to this – the Mozambican National Institute for Disaster Management (INGC) has announced that it will strengthen oversight of distribution to communities affected by Cyclone Idai. INGC Director General Augusta Maita acknowledged that some employees of her institution have been facilitating the diversion of goods meant for those in accommodation centres in Sofala province.
The action on INGC’s part comes as Mozambique’s parliament voted to set up a commission to investigate accusations of mismanagement of aid in the Cyclone Idai response, some of which include allegations of political favoritism in aid distribution. A certain amount of theft and corruption accompanies any disaster response, and the INGC acknowledging the problem and taking action now is preferable to keeping their heads in the sand. The more serious corruption threat will come when it is time to hand out reconstruction contracts for destroyed infrastructure in Beira and surrounding areas.

President Nyusi names former police chief Jorge Khalau ambassador to Eswatini (O País)
Mozambican president Filipe Nyusi yesterday named Jorge Henrique da Costa Khalau to the post of High Commissioner to the Kingdom of Eswatini (formerly known as Swaziland), a post which had been occupied by Luís Adelino da Silva. Nyusi also named Sérgio Nathú Cabá, Mozambique’s current ambassador to Germany, as ambassador to the Holy See.
The surprise appointment is that of Jorge Khalau, who served as commander of Mozambique’s national police from 2008 to 2016. His time in charge was defined by a rash of kidnappings involving members of the police, summary executions, daylight shootings such as the assassination of lawyer Gilles Cistac in 2015, arbitrary arrests, torture, excessive use of force, and other human rights abuses. Ironically, on the day of Khalau’s nomination, a businessman was kidnapped in Maputo.

Mozambique gets $148 million to increase access to electricity in five poorest provinces (World Bank)
The World Bank last week approved an $82 million grant to increase access to electricity in five of the poorest provinces of Mozambique, comprising Niassa, Nampula, Zambezia, Cabo Delgado, and Sofala. A further $66 million of grant funding will be provided through a multi-donor trust fund administered by the World Bank. Both will be used to deliver the government’s Energy for All project, also known as ProEnergia. The project will involve building additional distribution networks to connect about 272,000 new users (some 1.45 million people) as well as developing a new business model to help deliver off-grid power solutions. “The nexus between poverty and lack of electricity has long been established,” noted Mark Lundell, World Bank Country Director for Mozambique. “This project is part of our multi-pronged approach to poverty reduction by expanding energy access in Mozambique.” About 70% of Mozambicans do not have access to electricity.

Banco BIG Moçambique increases its capital stock (O País)
Banco BIG Moçambique increased its capital stock by some $9.3 million, giving it over $17 million in capital. The capital increase came in part from added investment from the bank’s largest shareholder Banco de Investimento Global (which owns 83.99% of shares), and in part from new investment from the Mozambican Insurance Company (EMOSE), Hollard Mozambique, and Global Alliance Insurance.
Angolan BIG Bank is headed up in Mozambique by former energy minister Salvador Namburete – a fact which has led to accusations of conflict of interest when the bank won a lead role on Hidroelectrica de Cahora Bassa’s (much-delayed) listing on the stock exchange.

Company Announcements

  • Syrah Resources hit a new monthly production record in March of around 19,000 tonnes of graphite
  • Battery Minerals is due to raise $5 million from issuing new stock, in a transaction due to close in late May. Proceeds will be mainly used to advance the company’s Montepuez graphite mining project, for which project finance is currently being sought.

© 2019, Alexandre Nhampossa. All rights reserved.

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