Mozambique 2015 | ECONOMY | VIP INTERVIEW

TBY talks to Rogério Manuel, President of the Confederação das Associações Económicas de Moçambique (CTA), on promoting public-private dialogue.

What have CTA's key achievements been over the past 18 years?

The main achievement of those 18 years has been the institutionalization of a private-public dialogue and consolidation of a partnership with the government. This has helped in the pursuit of reform initiatives. CTA has grown as an organization, putting us in a position to meet the demand for reforms in Mozambique.

How would you describe the significance of the association for the community?

I have noticed a distinct improvement in civil society organizations (CSOs) in Mozambique; conscious of their weaknesses, CSOs have sought to consolidate their achievements and evolve their practices. Mozambique is on track with a global movement towards sustainable democratic rule and rule of law. However, good governance remains a challenge within CSOs.

“By the end of 1H2015, the Business Centre will be in operation."

What are the key sectors that SME operate in in Mozambique, and what challenges do they face?

The lack of a reliable national database of companies makes it difficult for analysts and policymakers to get a clear perspective of businesses operating in different sectors and provinces. However, several studies reveal that access to credit, technology, and land remain major challenges for SMEs. Operating in Tete and Moatize, there are nine coal mining companies including Vale Mozambique, Rito Tinto Mines of Benga, Mine of Moatize, JSPL, Mines of Revubué, Mid West 1151, Rio Tinto Coal Zambezi, and Nkondeze; this group of companies invested $8.5 billion in 2012, which represented approximately 60.70% of GDP. In Nampula the main mining operations are the heavy sands Moma, Kenmare, and more recently the heavy sands of Sangage in the Angoche district, operated by Chinese company Haiyu Mozambique Mining Company. Heavy investment in mining has stimulated growth in the turnover of certain national companies. Rio Tinto spent $776 million between 2011 and 2013 on local acquisitions and created a business center that had trained and certified 90 local companies by the end of 2013. Also by the end of 2013, Vale Mozambique had spent $2.8 billion with local suppliers, involving more than 1,800 companies

What will be the role of CTA's Business Centre?

By the end of 1H2015, the Business Centre will be in operation. It will be a space for businesses to network, receive the CTA's advice and assistance, and will ensure access to legal requirements for consultation. We are preparing simplified manuals relevant to Mozambican business legislation to make it easier for entrepreneurs to comprehend legal provisions.

What are the main CTA initiatives in terms of education and training?

The CTA, in partnership with the Fund for the Environment of Business (FAN), approved a project to train policy makers and entrepreneurs on how to approach the subject of local content, for greater involvement as the government addresses the issue.

You recently organized a conference on the impact of natural resources on tourism. How do you foresee the tourism sector developing over the next five years?

Tourism will continue to grow if certain measures are taken by the government to prevent the exploitation of natural resources. Currently, business tourism is on the rise, while leisure tourism is declining. This may be the result of new businesses being encouraged by the influx of FDI, or it could mean the country is not doing enough to attract tourists for leisure. Over the next five years, this trend is likely to continue given that the constraints that leisure tourism faces are structural in nature.

What are your objectives for the upcoming few years?

In terms of the CTA's role as the leader of public-private dialogue to improve the business environment, the priority is to reform the current DPP model, and the CTA is already working on a blueprint to this end. Another critical consideration is Mozambique's need for a policy on local content and an aligned industrial policy to ensure that the benefits of natural resource exploitation are also extended to Mozambicans, and to set up bases for industrial development and structural transformation.

© The Business Year - February 2015