Mozambique News Agency
Funding has been secured for the 450-megawatt Temane power project (CTT) in the southern province of Inhambane, which will be the largest power station built since Mozambican independence in 1975.
According to a statement by the project leader Globeleq, debt financing of US$652.3 million is being provided by the International Finance Corporation (the member of the World Bank Group that focuses on the private sector in developing countries), the Dutch bank FMO, the United States International Development Finance Corporation, and the OPEC Fund for International Development. Political risk insurance to the private sector equity investors is provided by the Multilateral Investment Guarantee Agency.
The project is owned by a consortium composed of Globeleq (an institution formed by Norwegian and British funds), the South African hydrocarbon company Sasol, EleQtra, and Mozambique’s publicly-owned electricity company, EDM (which holds a 24 per cent stake in the project).
In turn, Globeleq is 70 per cent owned by the CDC Group (which is the British state development finance institution) and 30 per cent owned by the Norwegian Investment Fund for Developing Countries, Norfund.
The power station will use gas from Sasol’s Pande and Temane gas fields and supply electricity to EDM for the next 25 years with enough to power for 1.5 million households in Mozambique.
The Temane power project is also the anchor project that allows for the development of a new 563-kilometre high-voltage transmission line which will be the first phase in the interconnection of the southern electricity grid with central and northern Mozambique.
The transmission line will be owned by EDM and financed with grants and soft loans from the World Bank, the African Development Bank, the Islamic Development Bank, the OPEC Fund for International Development, and the Norwegian Government.
In total, developing the gas fields, building the power plant, and constructing the transmission infrastructure will require an investment of over US$2 billion.
The Globeleq statement notes that “the project is aligned with the Paris Agreement and will support Mozambique’s longer-term sustainable energy transition to net-zero by 2050”.
That commitment was stressed by the Minister of Mineral Resources and Energy, Max Tonela who points out that “as a country that is at risk from the worst effects of climate change, our government fully supports the Paris Agreement. We are working on our long-term decarbonisation plans in line with that Agreement and the Temane thermal power station is fully in line with our transition which also includes developing hydro, solar and wind projects”.
According to the International Finance Corporation’s regional director, Kevin Njiraini, “this pioneering project has the potential to deliver significant economic and social benefits by helping meet Mozambique’s growing demand for power, supporting the country’s economic recovery, and the region’s energy transition”.
The construction phase is expected to last 34 months during which around 830 jobs will be created. Once operational, the facility will provide 90 permanent jobs and Globeleq promises that “Mozambicans will be prioritised for jobs during both construction and operation”.
The Mozambican government is committed to achieving universal access to electricity by 2030 through its “Energy for All” programme and will work with Globeleq on other projects involving renewables such as the Cuamba solar and battery project, and other wind and solar developments.
The international non-governmental organisation Friends of the Earth is challenging the legality of the British government’s financial support for the Liquefied Natural Gas (LNG) project in the northern Mozambican province of Cabo Delgado, arguing that it is incompatible with the government’s commitments under the Paris Agreement on climate change.
In July 2020, the UK Export Finance (UKEF) credit agency agreed to provide over US$1 billion in support through loans and guarantees for the Mozambique LNG Project which will build natural gas liquefaction plants on the Afungi Peninsula using gas from Rovuma Basin offshore Area One. When operational, the project will produce 12.88 million tonnes of LNG per year for domestic consumption and export.
On 7 December, the High Court in London began a three day hearing over allegations by Friends of the Earth that UKEF’s decision to support the project was unlawful and was based on fundamental errors.
However, James Eadie QC, representing the government, argued that the analysis by UKEF noted that there would be a significant impact in terms of increased greenhouse gas emissions, but that other factors including the benefits to British businesses and the transformational economic benefit to Mozambique were also taken into consideration.
One of the key issues is whether natural gas is a transitional fuel, replacing more polluting fuels such as charcoal, coal, and diesel.
On its website, UKEF acknowledges that the project will result in significant direct and indirect greenhouse gas emissions and notes that the largest source of emissions will be caused by the end-use of the gas. But it goes on to stress “the potential for gas from the Project to displace or replace both heavier and lower carbon fuels was considered as part of the environmental, social, and human rights review. It is considered that over its operational life, the Project will at least result in some displacement of more polluting fuels, with a consequence of some net reduction in emissions”.
However, this claim of an overall net reduction of emissions is not accepted by Friends of the Earth, which estimates that the emissions from burning the gas will be “around 116 million tonnes of carbon dioxide a year: equivalent to the total emissions from the aviation sector for all European Union member states combined”.
Friends of the Earth also takes issue with those that argue that the gas will transform the economy of Mozambique. Tony Bosworth, climate campaigner at Friends of the Earth, told AIM that “clearly, the mega-gas projects that have sprung up across the Cabo Delgado won’t benefit the people of Mozambique”.
Bosworth added that “the need to slash climate-wrecking emissions fast is a global one, which is why wealthy countries like the UK need to help those at the sharp end of the climate crisis by funding renewables, starting now”.
Not everyone agrees that the gas will not benefit the people of Mozambique. According to the African Energy Chamber, a South African based group linked to the energy industry, “the impacts of the Mozambique LNG Project cannot be overstated. From creating tens of thousands of jobs for the local community to improving energy access across the region, the project has the potential to lift millions out of poverty and drive sustainable socio-economic growth for decades to come. For a country with only 30 per cent of its population with access to electricity and increasing demand within the wider region - particularly in countries such as Zimbabwe and South Africa both of which are experiencing their own electricity crises - the project represents a turning point for southern Africa”.
The Mozambican government intends to use revenues from the gas projects and other extractive industries to fund social and economic development. In April, President Filipe Nyusi told a conference on Mining, Oil, Gas and Energy, that Mozambique wants to avoid the experiences of other countries, which failed to use the wealth from their resources to develop their economies. In particular, he stressed his personal commitment to ensure that the distribution of wealth from natural resources is structured, fair, inclusive, and sustainable to benefit every citizen in the country.
For President Nyusi, the country’s extractive industry is a driving force for the creation of infrastructures with transformational power and enables the necessary conditions for boosting agriculture and industry.
The French oil and gas company, Total, is the operator of the Mozambique LNG Project with a 26.5 per cent holding. The other members of the consortium are Mitsui of Japan (20 per cent), PTTEP of Thailand (8.5 per cent), the Indian companies ONGC Videsh Rovuma Limited, Beas Rovuma Energy Mozambique Limited and BPRL Ventures Mozambique B.V. (10 per cent each), and Mozambique’s own National Hydrocarbon Company, ENH (15 per cent).
The High Court in London is expected to make its judgement in the new year.
Mozambique’s former Minister of Public Works, Joao Carrilho, died at his home in Maputo on 5 December according to his family. Carrilho was the youngest member of the first government of independent Mozambique, headed by President Samora Machel. He was 29 years old in 1975 when he took office as the Minister of Public Works and Housing. Prior to the formation of the new government, he was Secretary of State for Public Works in the transitional government formed under the 1974 agreement between the liberation movement, Frelimo, and Portugal.
Between 1979 and 1980, he was Minister of Industry, before returning to public works between 1980 and 1986. He was also chairperson of the board of the Fund for Artistic and Cultural Development between 1989 and 1994, a member of the Installation Commission of the Mozambican Academy of Sciences from 1994 to 2008, and a member of the National Commission for UNESCO between 1990 and 2000.
The Mozambican health authorities reported on 8 December that 206 people were diagnosed with the Covid-19 respiratory disease that day – the first time that the number of new cases in a single 24 hour period has risen above 200 since 14 September.
According to the Ministry of Health, the vast majority of the new cases – 91.7 per cent - were from the far south of the country. The number of people under medical care in the Covid-19 treatment facilities stands at eight, six in Maputo and two in Inhambane. No deaths were reported, and the total death toll remains at 1,941. A further 79,881 people were vaccinated against Covid-19 with the number fully vaccinated standing at 4,379,471, with 6,862,839 having received at least one dose.
The US Government on 6 December in Maputo donated another 2,016,000 doses of the Johnson & Johnson vaccine, through the COVAX global initiative, to assist Mozambique’s Covid-19 vaccination rollout.
The vaccine consignment is the fourth and the largest US bilateral delivery. Taken together, these deliveries total nearly 3.5 million doses, making the US the largest bilateral donor of Covid-19 vaccines to Mozambique.
Addressing the delivery ceremony, the Minister of Health, Armindo Tiago, said that this donation “is of extreme importance for Covid-19 control across the country, as this is a vaccine that will be administered in a single dose, enabling the immunisation of about two million people, thus reducing the number of people at risk of developing serious diseases or death caused by Covid-19”.
Most of the vaccines currently available require two doses to attain full effectiveness. The Johnson & Johnson vaccine is the main exception, requiring just a single dose.
The donation, Tiago stressed, comes at a time when the country needs to shield itself against the new strains of the virus and a prospective fourth wave. As a country, he added, Mozambique cannot again face tragic situations such as the ones recorded through the first and second waves. “Therefore, we would like to seize this occasion to urge everyone who is over 30 years old, living in either the rural or urban areas, who has not yet been vaccinated to make their way urgently to the vaccination centres,” Tiago declared.
He added that, over the next few days, the vaccination will target a younger age group, those aged between 18 and 30.
The US Ambassador to Mozambique, Dennis Hearne, said that the vaccination reduces the risk of an outbreak of other strains, such as the latest Omicron variant.
Washington has already provided over US$60 million worth of goods and services covering a wide range of health needs including training and life-saving equipment such as ventilators. Through its development agency (USAID), the US has been assisting the delivery of the vaccine to the country’s 10 provinces.
China has offered to provide a billion vaccines to help the African continent fight the coronavirus that causes the Covid-19 respiratory disease.
Speaking via a video link from Beijing on 29 November, Chinese President Xi Jinping told the eighth ministerial conference of the Forum on China-Africa Cooperation (FOCAC) in Dakar that his country will also provide billions of dollars for trade and infrastructure development.
President Xi explained that “to help the African Union achieve its goal of vaccinating sixty per cent of the African population by 2022, I announce that China will provide another one billion doses of vaccines to Africa, including 600 million doses as a donation and 400 million doses to be provided through such means as joint production by Chinese companies and relevant African countries. In addition, China will undertake ten medical and health projects for African countries and send 1,500 medical personnel and public health experts to Africa”.
He also announced a series of economic initiatives including ten poverty reduction and agricultural projects involving five hundred experts, technology transfer, and promoting corporate social responsibility. On trade, China will extend its zero-tariff agreements and provide US$10 billion in trade finance to support exports.
President Xi also made a major announcement on investment promotion, stating that “China will encourage its businesses to invest no less than US$10 billion in Africa in the next three years, and will establish a platform for China-Africa private investment promotion. China will undertake ten industrialisation and employment promotion projects for Africa, provide credit facilities of US$10 billion to African financial institutions, support the development of African SMEs on a priority basis, and establish a China-Africa cross-border renminbi centre”.
“China will exempt African Least Developed Countries from debt incurred in the form of interest-free Chinese government loans due by the end of 2021”, he added. “China is ready to channel to African countries US$10 billion from its share of the IMF’s new allocation of Special Drawing Rights”.
President Xi also announced programmes to transfer digital technology, including satellite remote sensing, to promote green development, and to deliver military assistance and training.
Mozambique’s Foreign Minister Veronica Macamo attended FOCAC and met with Chinese Foreign Minister Wang Yi on 28 November. Wang Yi noted his country’s willingness to cooperate in the fields of infrastructure, agriculture, and energy and to help Mozambique speed up its development within the frameworks of the Belt and Road Initiative, FOCAC, and the Forum Macao.
The two-day FOCAC conference was held under the theme “Deepen China-Africa Partnership and Promote Sustainable Development to Build a China-Africa Community with a Shared Future in the New Era”.
The London-based company Savannah Resources on 1 December announced it is pulling out of Mozambique and transferring its share of the Mutamba heavy mineral sands project, in the southern province of Inhambane, to its partner Rio Tinto in return for US$9.5 million.
The Mutamba concession was awarded to a joint venture between Savannah Resources and Rio Tinto in November 2019. Back then, Savannah said the Mutamba project was “one of the most significant undeveloped heavy mineral sands deposits in the world”, containing “an indicated and inferred mineral resource of 4.4 billion tonnes at 3.9 per cent total heavy minerals”.
According to a statement from Savannah Resources, its staff in Mozambique will be transferred to Rio Tinto. It added that it will immediately begin divesting its residual interests in Mozambique, in particular the mining concession at Matilda which borders Mutamba.
The company states that it intends to focus on developing its Barroso Lithium Project in Portugal.
Chief executive officer David Archer commented, “Savannah is also particularly proud of the extensive community engagement programmes it has undertaken, which covered infrastructure, agriculture, trade, education and public health. Our enduring legacies include the establishment of infrastructure that continues to provide clean drinking water for around 1,200 families and off-grid solar power for 5,300 families; over 600 local farmers deriving higher income from the sale of donated crops; and the 430 graduates that have benefited from the vocational training centres established in Jangamo and Inhambane, the majority of whom quickly found employment related to their training”.
Heavy mineral sands typically contain the ores ilmenite (iron titanium oxide), rutile (titanium dioxide) and zircon (zirconium silicate). Titanium dioxide is used in the manufacture of white pigments used in products such as paper, paint, plastics, and toothpaste. Titanium can be alloyed with iron, aluminium, and other metals to produce lightweight alloys for the aerospace industry and many other applications. Zircon (zirconium silicate) is used in ceramics, water and air purification systems, nuclear fuel rods and catalytic fuel converters.
The South African company Tongaat Hulett, the majority shareholder in the Xinavane and Mafambisse sugar mills in the Mozambican provinces of Maputo and Sofala respectively, has announced that it will build an industrial production plant capable of making twenty million litres of ethanol.
Ethanol can be added to fuel to cut the cost of imports and slightly reduce net carbon emissions. Commonly used blends for petrol contain ten per cent ethanol (E10) and diesel three per cent ethanol (B3).
The factory will be built in Xinavane and will use as its raw material molasses which is a by-product of sugar refining. However, according to the Maputo daily “Noticias”, the current level of molasses production is not high enough to meet demand with a deficit of about 17,000 tonnes.
Speaking recently at an investment conference in Magude, in Maputo province, Tongaat Hulett’s corporate director, Jorge Manjate, explained that the project also offers opportunities to produce carbon dioxide (for use in soft drinks) and fertilisers.
He pointed out that “the project is in alignment with the government’s five-year plan in relation to job creation, industrialisation, and food security and will enable Mozambique to be in line with the other sugar-producing countries in the Southern African Development Community, with its own refinery and ethanol factory”. In addition, he noted that the lack of enough molasses offers opportunities for sugar cane farms to expand production over an extra three thousand hectares which would create about 1,500 new jobs.
Tongaat Hulett's operations in Xinavane cover a total area of 18,105 hectares of sugarcane, and its sugar refining unit can process 1.9 million tonnes of sugarcane to produce 250,000 tonnes of sugar per year. At Mafambisse, the company grows 6,508 hectares of sugarcane and can process 760,000 tonnes of cane to produce 90,000 tons of sugar a year.
Tongaat Hulett holds 85 per cent of the shares in Mafambisse and 88 per cent in Xinavane. The rest of the shares are held by the Mozambican state through IGEPE (Institute for the Management of State Holdings).
The Australian mining company Triton Minerals, which holds the rights to graphite deposits in the northern province of Cabo Delgado, on 7 December announced that refinements to its modelling for the company’s flagship Ancuabe project have shown that it can increase the production capacity for its pilot plant by up to 70 per cent with no additional capital expenditure.
Under the revised plans, the company will build a plant capable of processing 250,000 tonnes of earth per annum which will produce between 15,000 and 17,000 tonnes of graphite concentrate. Previous estimates suggested that the output would be 10,000 tonnes.
According to Triton’s managing director, Andrew Frazer, the company aims to make its final investment decision in the second quarter of next year, with the plant coming into production by July 2023 at the latest.
In November, the company signed a binding agreement with Chinese company Yichang Xincheng Graphite for the purchase of up to 10,000 tonnes per annum, and Frazer states that the company is already speaking to customers about the additional production.
Triton’s ultimate goal is to expand the Ancuabe project to produce 60,000 tonnes per annum of high purity large flake graphite over a mine life of 27 years.
Graphite is a highly valued form of carbon due to its properties as a conductor of electricity. It is used in batteries and fuel cells and expandable graphite can be pressed into sheets for use as a heat and fire retardant.
Minister of Mineral Resources and Energy, Max Tonela, on 3 December authorised the transfer of the rights relating to BP’s downstream assets to the French company TotalEnergies.
This will include the transfer of various infrastructure, equipment, and real estate. BP will continue to provide aviation fuels, lubricants, and fuel transportation.
According to the daily newspaper, “Noticias”, as a result of the transfer TotalEnergies will be obliged to pay capital gains tax.
The transfer of assets will result in TotalEnergies increasing its market share, but the authorities have placed restrictions on future activities: the company cannot increase its market share of petroleum products beyond thirty per cent, nor can it reduce its related economic activities by more than thirty per cent within five years of the transaction.
TotalEnergies currently controls 11.48 per cent of the market whilst BP has a market share of 7.57.
The rest of the market is shared between Petrogal (12.66 per cent), Petromoc (24.26 per cent), Companhia de Abastecimento de Combustíveis (0.17 per cent), Petroda (0.21 per cent), Exor (0.20 per cent), GTS (0.60 per cent), Camel Oil (2.60 per cent), Glencore (2.31 per cent), African Petroleum (1.20 per cent), IPM (0.02 per cent), Mount Meru (3.29 per cent), Puma Mozambique (13.24 per cent), Petromoc and Sasol (8.10 per cent), and Engen Petroleum Mozambique (12.09 per cent).
The Portuguese energy company GALP-Mozambique on 24 November in the southern city of Matola inaugurated a new production line that will significantly increase its capacity to bottle LPG gas for domestic use.
The line and its associated work cost US$12 million and took a year to construct. Large tanks have been installed to hold 60,000 cubic metres of liquid fuel and 6,000 cubic metres of LPG, which will arrive by sea and be distributed by tanker lorries, trains, and pipelines.
The new production line will enable GALP to fill 1,200 11-kilo bottles of cooking gas per hour and a further 20 of the larger 45-kilo bottles.
Speaking during the official opening, the Minister of Public Works, Joao Machatine, said that the increase in filling capacity will make possible the mass use of cooking gas leading to a reduction in the use of charcoal which has contributed to high rates of deforestation with negative impacts on climate change.
The minister spoke about the national impact of the new production line, pointing out that “with this unit, the country goes from a daily capacity of 27,000 bottles to 33,754 bottles, an increase of 25 per cent, totalling just over one million monthly fillings. This has a huge impact because the gas will reach more families, improve the economy, preserve forest resources, and allow for a reduction in the emission of carbon dioxide”.
Speaking on behalf of the company, the Chair of Galp Mozambique, Paulo Varela, said that when the new filling unit is operating at full capacity shortages of bottled gas on the market will be a thing of the past.
He added, “this undertaking has ensured greater strategic independence for the country in terms of LPG supply. It will be possible for us to receive larger loads, with greater economies of scale, while increasing strategic reserves to ensure that there is no disruption to supply".
Varela also stressed that Mozambique is a key market for private investment due to its strategic location that allows for the development of business with other countries in the southern African region. He pointed out that “this infrastructure will create the basic conditions so that Galp can, from Mozambique, boost its presence in neighbouring countries”.
The Ministry of Mineral Resources and Energy (MIREME) is making good progress with a project to make bottled cooking gas available to poor households in the northern provinces of Cabo Delgado and Nampula, and the central provinces of Tete and Zambezia.
Under the plan, by 2025 about 1.4 million small cylinders containing five or six kilogrammes of gas will be made available along with other infrastructures such as communal kitchens and three bottle refilling units in Nampula, Tete, and Cabo Delgado.
Speaking to the Maputo daily “Noticias”, the deputy national director of Hydrocarbons and Fuels, Jose Muhai, explained that the project will cost US$100 million funded through MIREME’s Infrastructure Fund.
However, Muhai warned that it will not be easy to change lifelong habits and explained that this is why the project includes the construction of four communal kitchens to familiarise people with the advantages of gas. Currently, many people use charcoal and firewood for cooking which leads to environmental damage and pollution.
He added that the refilling plant in Nampula is in its final stage of construction and the others, in Tete and Pemba, will also be open soon.
Muhai also revealed that the project is attracting the attention of national and international partners and that negotiations are currently underway with some of them. In particular, he mentioned the World Bank, the African Development Bank, and Mozambique’s National Investment Bank (BNI). However, he stressed that work on the project is currently going ahead with funding through the Infrastructure Fund.
The international NGO, Human Rights Watch (HRW), on 7 December denounced the kidnapping and enslavement of more than 600 women by the Islamic State-linked terrorist group in the northern Mozambican province of Cabo Delgado.
Human Rights Watch pointed out that whilst the Mozambican defence and security forces and their allies have rescued some of the women, many remain missing.
According to the statement, “the group, known locally as Al Sunnah wa Jama’ah (ASWJ) and Al-Shabab (or mashababos) forced younger, healthy-looking and lighter-skinned women and girls in their custody to “marry” their fighters, who enslave and sexually abuse them. Others have been sold to foreign fighters for between 40,000 and 120,000 Meticais (US$600 to US$1,800)”.
The Africa director at Human Rights Watch, Mausi Segun, demanded that “Al Shabab’s leaders should immediately release every woman and girl in their captivity” and added that “they should take all necessary steps to prevent rape and sexual abuse by their fighters, end child marriage, forced marriage, and the sale and enslavement of women and girls at their bases and areas of operation”.
Human Rights Watch carried out research between August 2019 and October 2021, and interviewed 37 people, including former abductees, their relatives, security sources, and government officials, and monitored media reports about kidnappings. This found that Al-Shabab abducted women and girls during attacks in parts of Cabo Delgado, including Mocimboa da Praia in March, June, and August 2020, and Palma in March 2021.
A former abductee from Mocimboa da Praia told the researchers that he was forced to select the women and girls for sex with the fighters on their return from military operations, pointing out that “those who refused were punished with beatings and no food for days”.
The statement notes that the Mozambican authorities have made progress rescuing hundreds of kidnap victims from the terrorists’ bases. However, Human Rights Watch laments that those rescued are kept “incommunicado for weeks or longer without access to relatives, ostensibly for security screenings”. It explains that an official in the Cabo Delgado governor’s office told them that the army was holding people, mostly women and children, freed from the group’s bases in order to separate civilians from suspected fighters. The official said that those held were receiving medical attention, including psychosocial support.
Human Rights Watch stresses that “Mozambican authorities and international and regional partners, including the Southern African Development Community (SADC), should provide rights-respecting, gender-sensitive, child-sensitive, and dignified reintegration and rehabilitation services, including comprehensive post-rape care, to rescued women and girls”
It adds that “the authorities should fully investigate and appropriately prosecute Al-Shabab leaders and fighters for abductions, child and forced marriages, rape and sexual violence, enslavement, and other gender-based crimes in violation of international and Mozambican law”.
Mozambican defence and security forces along with their allies from Rwanda and the Southern Africa Development Community (SAMIM) are continuing to clear conflict-affected areas and people are slowly returning to their homes.
The Mozambican authorities are working in partnership with the United Nations Children’s Fund (UNICEF) to open ninety boreholes to expand the provision of drinking water in the central province of Manica.
According to a report in the Maputo daily “Noticias”, the project will cost just over 51 million meticais (about US$800,000) and will bring improved water access to 27,000 people living in the districts of Sussundenga, Gondola, and Mossurize.
The opening of the boreholes falls within the emergency programme to repair damage caused in 2019 by Cyclone Idai, one of the worst tropical cyclones to hit Mozambique and southern Africa in recent years,
The governor of Manica province, Francisca Tomas, on 6 December led a ceremony formally opening a borehole in Messambudzi, in the administrative post of Rotanda, in Sussundenga.
During the event, attended by representatives of all of the districts covered by the project, the governor delivered 96 containers of chlorine to be used for purification in the water systems in the districts of Vanduzi, Guro, Tambara, Gondola, and Sussundenga.
The chlorine was donated by the United States Agency for International Development (USAID) and will be one of the Mozambican government’s preventive measures in the face of the expected fourth wave of the Covid-19 pandemic.
Francisca Tomas told the audience that the construction, rehabilitation, and maintenance of the water supply infrastructure remains a challenge for the province’s administration as it works to stimulate development.
She explained that the local government had to step in because of the destruction or silting up of standpipes caused by Cyclone Idai, following which 27,000 people began using unsuitable water from sources such as rivers, springs, and traditional wells.
However, she stressed that it is everyone’s duty to protect the standpipes, pipes, reservoirs, and domestic connections to avoid any unnecessary loss of water and ensure that water is available for the population.
Tomas appealed to the district authorities to ensure proper, rigorous, and professional management of the water infrastructures to protect the longevity and reliability of the system so that water will remain available for human consumption.
President Filipe Nyusi on 6 December, in the district of Katembe in Maputo city, inaugurated Aquila University (UNAQ), which is a private higher education institution.
Speaking at the inauguration ceremony, President Nyusi stated that public and private higher education institutions should focus on promoting knowledge, science, and technological innovation. He stressed that the country in particular values knowledge and science at the service of development.
The President stated, “We welcome the vision of this university to promote high-level qualifications, the creation, critical analysis, transmission and diffusion of a culture of knowledge of science and technology, through the articulation of research, teaching, and experimental development, and the provision of community services”.
President Nyusi promised that his government will always support private initiatives in higher education as long as they bring added value to the country. He said that he wants private higher education institutions to be in the vanguard of meeting the quality indicators defined by the national system of evaluation, accreditation and quality assurance in higher education as managed by the National Council on Quality Assurance in Higher Education.
President Nyusi urged the ministerial department that oversees higher education to promote a comprehensive review and update of the legislative package to adapt it to the current pedagogical, scientific, technological, and market economy needs nationally, regionally, and internationally. In particular, “they must promote and raise the quality of the teaching staff and reduce geographical and gender disparities”.
The President stressed the need for monitoring the process to balance the availability of courses, and to ensure that graduates can meet the needs of the labour market. He noted that this will require effective inspection and monitoring of higher education institutions and guaranteed access to the internet and other electronic platforms to support the teaching and learning process, research, and distance learning.
For the President “it is important that the public and private higher education institutions ensure the preparation and implementation of the teacher training plan, increase the number of full-time teachers, and improve their infrastructures”.
Mozambique has 56 higher education institutions, of which 22 are public and 34 private. These have 14,418 teachers and 239,602 students of whom 46 per cent are women.
UNAQ will teach undergraduate courses including agricultural engineering, nursing, law, and accounting as well as masters and doctoral degrees.
The Mozambique Democratic Movement (MDM), the country’s second-largest opposition party on 5 December elected the head of the party’s parliamentary group, Lutero Simango, as its new President.
Meeting in Beira, at the party’s third congress, the delegates overwhelmingly chose Simango as their new leader, with 452 votes (88 per cent) to 51 (10 per cent) for his sole opponent, MDM parliamentarian, Silverio Ronguane. There were also two blank ballots and nine invalid votes.
The third candidate, MDM general secretary Jose Domingos, withdrew from the race at the last moment.
According to the report on the Congress in the daily newspaper “O Pais”, Domingos announced his withdrawal immediately after the delegates had rejected his report from the party’s secretariat. He then left the Congress altogether, taking his supporters with him, even before the voting had begun.
The other two candidates were always at a major disadvantage because Simango is the best-known figure in the MDM. He is also the older brother of the founder and first leader of the party, Daviz Simango, who died of illness in February.
“I would like to thank you for the confidence you have placed in me”, declared Simango, after his victory was announced. “This is not the time for speeches – it’s the time to celebrate our internal democracy”.
Just under 200 public servants across the country were expelled from the state apparatus during the first half of this year, as a result of 784 disciplinary proceedings, the Deputy Minister of State Administration, Inocencio Impissa, announced on 2 December in Maputo.
Addressing the central ceremony of the Anti-Corruption Week, Impissa indicated that throughout the period a further 97 public servants were demoted, 88 were fined, 132 received public reprimands, 109 were warned, and 63 were acquitted.
“Among the most important legal instruments to fight corruption is the Public Administration Reform and Development Strategy (2012-2025), which is intended to strengthen the sector, provide information about service delivery and promote an environment that prevents corrupt practices,” he stated.
Impissa declared that in 2020 the public administration filed 1,280 disciplinary proceedings, compared with 911 in 2019, an increase of 40.5 per cent.
“Throughout the anti-corruption week, we want to build awareness for public servants and common citizens not only about the evils of corruption but also the gains we can achieve if we eradicate this unlawful threat to the public administration,” he added.
The Inspector-General of the Interior Ministry, Joaquim Denguenhe, said that the mechanisms put in place to report corruption crimes have become more operational in several subdivisions of the ministry, However, he admitted that from time to time there has not been anyone to pick up the phone calls and provide the needed guidance to the aggrieved and complaining citizens.
Mozambique’s First Lady, Isaura Nyusi, revealed on 1 December that the number of people dying annually from HIV/AIDS in Mozambique fell by 41.5 per cent between 2010 and 2020.
Speaking in Macia, in the southern province of Gaza, at an event commemorating World AIDS Day, she explained that the number of deaths had fallen from 65,000 in 2010 to 38,000 in 2020. In addition, the number of new infections during the same period had fallen by 34.6 per cent, from 150,000 to 98,000.
The First Lady said that the number of people living with HIV, the virus that causes AIDS, stands at 2.1 million of whom 130,000 are children under the age of 15. She pointed out that despite the improvements in reducing mortality, the HIV/AIDS epidemic continues to be one of the biggest public health challenges in Mozambique, with 98,000 new annual infections of whom 28,000 are adolescent girls and women.
Isaura Nyusi said that “we want to express our total solidarity with all children, adolescents, young women, and adults living with HIV, as well as our willingness to continue to give all the support necessary to mitigate the negative impact of this epidemic”.
She urged society to fight inequalities in order to end HIV as a public health threat by 2030. She argued that prevention continues to be the best way for the country to be free of HIV/AIDS, stressing “we must bet on prevention, so that our children, adolescents and young people can have the opportunity to contribute with their knowledge to the development of Mozambique”.
In particular, she called for everyone to continue working towards the elimination of mother-to-child transmission and to ensure that children exposed to HIV are diagnosed and started on antiretroviral treatment as early as possible.
For her part, the deputy chief of mission at the United States Embassy, Abigail Dressel, pointed out that “Mozambique has continuously made progress towards the UNAIDS’ 95-95-95 goal: that 95 per cent of the people living with HIV know their HIV status; that 95 per cent of those people are on treatment for HIV; and that 95 per cent of them are virally suppressed and no longer spreading HIV”.
She noted that “while we should celebrate the advances in health care over the last 20 years, there is still much work to be done. For example, today, more than 1.6 million Mozambicans are receiving antiretroviral medication, and everyone who tests positive can immediately begin treatment. Nevertheless, there are still almost 40 per cent of children living with HIV who are not receiving that life-saving treatment. And more than 13 per cent of HIV-positive mothers transmit the disease during childbirth”.
Therefore, “we must continue our hard work in assuring access to treatment for every Mozambican, regardless of their family’s income, their gender, or the area in which they live. This is especially true for children”.
The diplomat praised the country’s healthcare, stressing “I’ve personally witnessed the commitment of the Mozambican government, health professionals, and community health workers, in providing family and client-centred care, which makes a difference in the lives of all Mozambicans, but especially children. Despite the ongoing challenges, we have seen improvements in the quality of life for children living with HIV. More of them are receiving testing and effective treatment and better family support services. These proven interventions need to continue to be scaled up”.
The “Renamo Military Junta”, a breakaway faction from Mozambique’s main opposition party, Renamo, has ceased to exist with its last few members accepting the demobilisation package offered by the government.
On 1 December, Mirko Manzoni, the personal envoy of United Nations Secretary-General Antonio Guterres, and head of the international contact group facilitating dialogue between the government and Renamo said that the last group of 24 members of the Military Junta have joined the “Demobilisation, Disarmament and Reintegration” (DDR) of the Renamo militia. They were demobilised in Murrupula, in the northern province of Nampula.
Manzoni said that, in total, over 85 members of the Military Junta have laid down their weapons and joined the DDR. “This is a significant development”, said Manzoni. “It closes the chapter on the Renamo Military Junta, thus continuing to strengthen Mozambique’s efforts to consolidate a definitive peace”.
The Junta was formed in 2019 by a group of Renamo fighters, who opposed the leadership of Ossufo Momade, even though Momade was elected president of Renamo at a party congress in January 2019. Junta leader Mariano Nhongo said he was the true successor to the late Renamo leader, Afonso Dhlakama, and appointed himself a general. He denounced Momade as “a traitor” and did not recognise the peace agreement Momade signed with President Filipe Nyusi in August 2019. Throughout 2020, the Junta staged murderous ambushes against vehicles travelling on the main roads in the central provinces of Manica and Sofala, killing several dozen people.
But in 2021, the Junta only mounted a couple of attacks, and on 11 October, Nhongo, who had rejected repeated appeals, both by the government and by the Renamo leadership, to join the DDR, died in an exchange of fire with a unit of the Mozambican defence and security forces in Cheringoma district, in Sofala.
Even before his death, Nhongo was an isolated figure, with several of his key lieutenants drifting away and accepting the government demobilisation offer.
Manzoni said that the registration and demobilisation of members of the Renamo militia will continue in Murrupula until mid-December. That should complete the demobilisation of the few militia members living in the northern provinces.
The African Development Bank (ADB) Group is granting US$36 million to Mozambique to support the electrification of the country. The “Mozambique Energy for All Project” will increase the number of residential connections to the electricity grid, enhance power exports, and improve the quality of the supply.
According to an ADB statement, this grant will go towards electrification in Zambezia and Nampula provinces which will be executed in collaboration with the United Nations Refugee Agency (UNHCR) to ensure that it includes internally displaced persons and the Maratane refugee settlement.
It will also fund the updating and construction of a new national control centre to boost power exports by the publicly-owned electricity company, EDM. Overall, the elements of the project funded by the grant aim to triple energy exports, incorporate more renewable sources such as solar and wind power, and attract more investment as domestic power supplies and stability improve. In addition, there will be about 49,000 new electricity connections.
The ADB Country Manager for Mozambique, Cesar Augusto Mba Abogo, said that the approval of the project by the Board of Directors was a significant milestone. He added, “the African Development Bank and its partners in the “Mozambique Energy for All” project are committed to working collaboratively with the government, local communities and authorities to implement such an important project for the country”.
He stressed that “this project will contribute to the government’s ambition to provide every Mozambican citizen with electricity by 2030 with particular attention given to residents of Nampula Province, which shelters internally displaced persons who fled militant attacks in northern Cabo Delgado Province as well as refugees from abroad”.
UNHCR Representative Samuel Chakwera said, “Mozambique’s development needs hinge around providing stable electricity for industry while also ensuring that the poorest are not left behind”. He pointed out that “providing affordable electrical connections to displaced persons and refugees, while ensuring that Mozambique’s electrical grid can better support the country and the region’s needs, creates a win-win situation that will improve the lives of forcibly displaced people and the communities that host them”.
The project will also support Mozambique’s membership of the Africa Trade Insurance Agency (which provides insurance against political and commercial risk) and improve the financial health of the national electricity utility. The project will be co-financed by the governments of Sweden and Germany through the German development bank KfW.
In October, President Filipe Nyusi inaugurated the connection to the national grid of Mazucane, in the southern province of Gaza. This was the 37th out of 45 administrative posts that will be connected to the grid by the end of 2024. Speaking at the event, he stressed that “the government will spare no effort to electrify the country, especially the rural areas where the majority of the people live”.
The partners of the Mozambique LNG Project, who hold the rights to market the natural gas found in Area One of the Rovuma Basin off the coast of the northern province of Cabo Delgado, could decide before the end of this year to resume work on building natural gas liquefaction plants on the Afungi Peninsula.
The French oil and gas company, Total, which is the operator for Area One, decided in March to halt work and evacuate the construction site following nearby attacks by islamist terrorists.
Some commentators suggested that the work might never resume. However, on 24 November, following a meeting between President Filipe Nyusi and the vice-president of one of the partners, Mitsui, the Minister of Mineral Resources and Energy, Max Tonela, said that there could be an imminent decision to restart work.
According to Tonela, “we have recently held meetings with Total, we have had meetings with ENI, and today we met Galp and Mitsui; and the outlook is that before the end of the year we are going to have all the conditions for us to sit down and decide to resume the project”.
Total halted construction work and pulled many of its staff out of Afungi following a terrorist attack on 1 January on the resettlement town of Quitunda, a new town built to house people resettled from the areas of the Peninsula where the gas liquefaction plants will be built. In March, it planned to resume work, but terrorists attacked the town of Palma which lies 15 kilometres from Afungi and within the 25-kilometre security perimeter. During the attack, over 30,000 residents fled the onslaught and dozens of local people and foreign contractors were murdered.
However, since then the Mozambican armed forces together with their allies from the Southern Africa Development Community Mission in Mozambique (SAMIM) and Rwanda have continued to make progress in returning security to the areas affected by terrorist attacks.
Tonela stressed, “we want a situation of sustainable security that will allow all the planned investment projects in that area to take place”.
Total is the operator of the Mozambique LNG project and has a 26.5 per cent holding. The other members of the consortium are Mitsui of Japan (20 per cent), PTTEP of Thailand (8.5 per cent), the Indian companies ONGC Videsh Rovuma Limited, Beas Rovuma Energy Mozambique Limited and BPRL Ventures Mozambique B.V. (10 per cent each), and Mozambique’s own National Hydrocarbon Company, ENH (15 per cent).
The consortium is investing about US$23 billion in constructing two LNG trains with the capacity to produce 13 million tonnes of LNG a year. The gas will come from the Atum and Golfinho fields in Area One.
President Filipe Nyusi and his Malawian counterpart, Lazarus Chakwera on 23 November officially launched the Mozambique-Malawi Regional Interconnector Project that will transmit electricity between the two countries.
The first phase of the project will involve the construction of a 218-kilometre long transmission line from Matambo in the central Mozambican province of Tete to the Phombeya substation in the Malawian district of Balaka.
It is being financed by the World Bank and other cooperation partners with a credit of US$127 million and construction is expected to be completed by next November.
The electricity will be generated by the Cahora Bassa dam in Tete and will meet much of Malawi’s significant electricity deficit that currently leads to power cuts. It is envisaged that a second phase could extend the transmission lines back into Mozambique to feed its northern region.
Speaking at the ceremony in Phombeya to launch the project, President Nyusi stated that it is part of the strengthening of friendship, solidarity, and cooperation between the two members of the Southern African Development Community (SADC).
He explained that the energy supplied from Cahora Bassa will make a considerable contribution to Malawi’s development.
Chakwera stressed in his speech that the project will lead to improvements in the supply of electricity which will “galvanise and dynamize the progress of our country because, in addition to serving the population, it will boost the country’s economic growth”.
He added, “our thanks for this project and the thousand jobs it will create goes to the Mozambican government under the leadership of His Excellency Filipe Jacinto Nyusi”.
Speaking on the sidelines of the event, project director Joao Manuel Catine explained that the contractor is currently carrying out aerial topographical surveys along the route of the transmission line.
He added that the project will enable, for the first time, Malawi to be integrated into the Southern Africa Power Pool (SAPP).
The railway linking the central Mozambican port of Beira with neighbouring Malawi is expected to be reopened in the first half of next year following extensive reconstruction on the spur off of the Sena line that runs between the Dona Ana bridge over the Zambezi River to Vila Nova da Fronteira on the border.
This stretch of the railway has been paralysed since September 1986, when it was sabotaged by the apartheid-backed Renamo rebels during the war of destabilisation.
President Filipe Nyusi laid the first stone for the reconstruction of the spur in May this year and work has already been completed on 44 kilometres of the track, which has a budget of US$30 million. A further 26 kilometres of the railway has been completed on the Malawian side.
Once operational, the line will take much of the traffic between Beira and Malawi off the road network. It will also compete with the rail route between Malawi and the northern Mozambican port of Nacala.
According to the Maputo daily “Noticias”, the Secretary of State for Tete province, Elisa Zacarias, inspected the construction work on 23 November.
During her visit, she noted that “the work in Malawi is also ongoing and soon we will be able to open”.
The Executive Director of Mozambique’s publicly-owned ports and rail company, CFM, for the central region, Asinio Bainha, explained that technical work is continuing on the Mozambican side of the line including the completion of signalling and railway crossings. However, he stressed that there is no rush because some of the work can be completed whilst the trains are running and, in addition, the main delay is on the Malawian side.
In total, the line covers 115 kilometres with 71 kilometres lying on the Malawian side.
Mozambique’s publicly-owned electricity company, EDM, on 24 November announced that it has completed the restoration of power supplies to all districts in the northern province of Cabo Delgado that had been affected by terrorist attacks.
The last district to be reconnected to the national grid was Muidumbe, where an EDM brigade completed its work on 22 November. Muidumbe had been without electricity since 20 August 2020.
The key to restoring power in the northern districts of Cabo Delgado was repairing the sub-station at Awasse in Mocimboa da Praia district, which the terrorists had knocked out in August 2020.
Electricity was restored to Mueda district on 3 September and to Mocimboa da Praia town on 11 September, after repairing the power lines from Awasse to Mocimboa da Praia. Nangade district was reconnected on 27 September and Palma on 8 October.
EDM says it financed the restoration of the Cabo Delgado power supply out of its own funds, and with finance from the central government.
“Mobilisation of funds from our cooperation partners is now underway”, said an EDM press release, “for the definitive reconstruction of the electricity system in that part of the country”.
EDM, the release concluded, “is committed to its mission to electrify Mozambique, and it appeals to everyone to mount permanent vigilance against the sabotage of electrical facilities, which hinders the progress of national electrification”.
The Swiss Government will increase, over the next four years, its financial support for Mozambique from 1.5 billion meticais to 1.9 billion meticais (about US$30 million) which will be invested in areas such as economic development, service delivery and decentralisation. This was announced on 1 December in Maputo by the Swiss Ambassador to Mozambique, Olivier Burki, who addressed a meeting of Innovation for Agribusiness (InovAgro), a Swiss funded project (2011-2021) implemented in the provinces of Nampula, Niassa and Cabo Delgado.
“Though Switzerland supports several development projects across the country, the provinces of Nampula, Niassa and Cabo Delgado, where about one-third of the population lives, will remain the main part of our intervention,” Burki said.
The next Swiss Cooperation Programme for Mozambique, he added, will remain focused on areas such as economic development, service delivery and decentralisation, but because of the growing humanitarian necessities, as a result of natural disasters and conflicts, Switzerland will also increase its finance to humanitarian projects.
The global goal of the Swiss Cooperation Programme for Mozambique is poverty reduction, where economic development and job creation will remain the cornerstones.
Switzerland, he stated, will continue supporting selected projects and intervention policies to improve the business environment, and support smallholder farmers, as well as small and medium companies, so that they can reach business opportunities that will help them to recover from external shocks.
As for InovAgro, a Swiss Development and Cooperation Agency (SDC) funded project, which uses a market systems development approach to improve the incomes for poor women and men smallholder farmers, he declared that it has brought sustainable changes that will continue to benefit farmers. “For instance, the smallholder farmers who have benefited from the InovAgro Project continue to use modern agriculture practices, thanks to their empowerment through the sustainable development market. The project has also influenced a massive presence of input suppliers from the private sector, which include seed and fertiliser companies,” he said.
The project has also strengthened relations between market stakeholders and the smallholders as well as enabling the smallest farmers to participate in the market, as it brought creative solutions fitted to the local context, especially improved access to certified seeds, and financial services in the country’s northern region.
He added that the project has demonstrated the efficacy of the Market Systems Development approach which among other issues facilitates the right solutions and adapts the solutions to the local context in a bid to ensure sustainability. “Switzerland will continue to support market systems development in the future value chain programmes”, he declared.
South African police on 26 November rescued Jahyr Abdula, the son of prominent Mozambican businessman Salimo Abdula, 42 days after he was abducted. Police found Abdula in Heidelberg, Gauteng province, in what they describe as a malnourished and traumatised state.
Abdula was kidnapped on 15 October whilst travelling in a car from Mozambique to a wedding in Johannesburg. The car was pulled over by a BMW with flashing lights and a siren and Abdula was seized.
According to police spokesperson Colonel Athlenda Mathe, “the search for Mr Abdula continued, but ended on 26 November 2021 when a multidisciplinary team consisting of members of the SAPS Crime Intelligence, the DPCI, Special Task Force (STF), SAPS Airwing, SAPS Johannesburg flying squad and security companies successfully pounced on an identified address and rescued the traumatised and malnourished victim”.
National police commissioner General Kehla Sitole commented “we applaud all involved for the safe return of Mr Abdula and his friend. We are intensifying efforts to arrest the remaining suspects”.
Salimo Abdula and his wife Maria expressed praise for those involved in their son’s rescue, stating “we wish to express our sincere gratitude to the South African Police Service, all private security companies that were involved and the Mozambique government. Our family is thankful that justice is taking its course".
The police are continuing their efforts to track down the kidnappers.
The United Nations’ World Meteorological Organisation (WMO) has declared that a La Nina weather phenomenon has developed for the second year in succession, albeit that it is likely to be a weak to moderate event.
La Nina is the opposite of the better-known El Nino phenomenon. El Nino refers to higher than usual surface water temperatures in the eastern central Pacific, whereas in a La Nina period, the surface water temperature in the Pacific drops by three degrees or more. Both events can have a major impact on rainfall patterns and, in the past, La Nina has been associated with an increased number of cyclones and excessive rain in the south and centre of Mozambique.
As a result, according to the US-funded Famine Early Warning Systems Network (FEWS NET), “there is an increased likelihood of an above-average number of cyclone strikes in Mozambique”.
The World Meteorological Organisation pointed out that despite the cooling impact of the previous La Nina, 2021 will be “one of the ten warmest years on record, rather than THE warmest year”. According to its Secretary-General, Professor Petteri Taalas, “this is a short-lived respite and does not reverse the long-term warming trend or reduce the urgency of climate action”.
The Ministry of Health on 29 November said it makes no sense to close borders because of the newly discovered “Omicron” variant of the coronavirus that causes the Covid-19 respiratory disease.
Speaking on the Radio Mozambique breakfast programme “Café de Manha”, the National Director of Public Health, Quinhas Fernandes, said there was no scientific justification for banning flights or closing borders over the Omicron variant. “Mozambique has been very cautious and prudent in the measures it takes”, said Fernandes. “All the measures we have taken are guided by the scientific evidence. Right now, we have no scientific evidence that supports these measures”.
Fernandes stated it is important to step up vigilance at all entry points to detect anyone infected by the coronavirus. But he stressed that the scientific evidence does not suggest closing borders.
The United States, members of the European Union, Britain, and Saudi Arabia are among the countries that suspended flights from seven southern African countries, including Mozambique. Angola, although a member of the Southern African Development Community (SADC), has taken the step of suspending its Luanda-Maputo flights. This is all in the name of blocking the spread of the Omicron variant. But, although it was South African scientists who identified the variant, and analysed its genome, there is no evidence that Omicron originated in southern Africa – and even if there were, by now the variant has spread across the globe.
Fernandes said that countries ought to pay attention to international health protocols – and the World Health Organisation is not in favour of closing borders.
“In the final analysis, countries have enough sovereignty to take these measures”, he said. “But all these states are signatories to international health regulations. They should understand this, and above all, they should guide their decisions on the basis of the scientific evidence, and that evidence is not sufficient to support the measures they have taken”.
Fernandes said the best way to fight the Omicron variant is to step up the current vaccination campaigns.
The United Nations’ International Organisation for Migration (IOM) has donated six Mahindra pickup trucks to the Mozambican police to strengthen the relationship between the police and the local communities in the northern province of Cabo Delgado.
Islamist terrorism has caused enormous economic damage and human misery and driven hundreds of thousands of people from their homes in the province. According to the latest figures from IOM, in September there were 744,949 internally displaced people in Cabo Delgado.
However, since then the Mozambican defence and security forces, along with their allies from the Southern Africa Development Community Mission in Mozambique (SAMIM) and Rwanda have continued to make progress in returning security to areas affected by terrorist attacks. As a result, the authorities are now restoring basic services and people are returning home.
According to the IOM Mozambique chief of mission, Laura Tomm-Bonde, this has prompted IOM to donate the six vehicles “to ensure that migration flows are safe, orderly, and regular and that positive relations between communities and law enforcement contribute to a peaceful and resilient society”.
On formally receiving the vehicles, the General Commander of the Mozambican police, Bernardino Rafael, explained that “the vehicles will go to the southern districts of the province, where the community has taken refuge from the attacks”.
Mozambique has been a member of IOM since 2011 and the organisation has a head office in the capital city Maputo with four sub-offices. The work of IOM focuses on migration, health, protection and assisted voluntary return, migration research and emergency programming related to displacement in northern Mozambique, and the continued response to Cyclone Idai and Cyclone Kenneth which struck the country in March and April 2019.
IOM has been providing technical support and assistance to the Mozambican government since 1994 on migration management, health, disaster risk reduction and emergency response.
email: Mozambique News Agency