DIPLOMATIC TIES

Mozambique 2020 | DIPLOMACY | B2B

With Brazil and the UK both having a close and mutually productive relationship with Mozambique, there are many opportunities to further pursue.

Carlos Alfonso Iglesias Puente
CARLOS ALFONSO IGLESIAS PUENTE
Ambassador of the Federal Republic of Brazil to Mozambique
NneNne Iwuji-Eme
NNENNE IWUJI-EME
High Commissioner of the UK to Mozambique

How would you describe the affinity between Brazil and Mozambique?
CARLOS ALFONSO IGLESIAS PUENTE Africa stands at the roots of Brazil's identity, whether one looks at culture, ethnicity, music, and so on. The affinity is all the stronger with Mozambique and the rest of Lusophone Africa. Mozambique has done a great deal to inspire Brazil, and the influence of Brazilian culture in Mozambique is extremely strong in artistic production, music, dance, and TV shows. I would like to see a greater appreciation for Mozambican culture in Brazil than the limited presence we see now. We have the active Cultural Centre Brazil-Mozambique, which stands as a cultural landmark in the heart of Maputo. Brazil is also increasingly becoming a preferred destination for Mozambican tourists and students, replacing traditional European destinations. Among the scholarships granted from the Post-Graduation Convention Student Program (PEC-PG), 60% of the scholarships outside of Brazil went to Mozambicans. As Brazilian higher education becomes more attractive, it is clear that the cultural ties between the two countries are solid.

What are the UK's expectations for President Nyusi's second mandate?
NNENNE IWUJI-EME We would like to commend President Nyusi for his strong leadership during COVID-19, which kicked in just two months after his re-election. From a bilateral perspective, our relationship has traditionally been tilted toward development; however, we have been increasingly focusing on building a true partnership based on strong commercial and cultural ties. Our aim is to unlock mutually beneficial economic opportunities and sustainable jobs for Mozambique's talented youth. From a political perspective, we have closely followed the whole peace process. It was a privilege to witness the signing of the cessation of hostilities between FRELIMO and RENAMO in Gorongosa and to see both parties present and publicly reiterating their commitment to peace when the Pope visited in September 2019. We hope the second mandate is an opportunity to cement and complete the whole disarmament, demobilization, and reintegration process, putting an end to the attacks in the center of the country and leaving this chapter behind once and for all.

What are the biggest investment and trade opportunities in Mozambique for companies in your country?
CAIP Unlike culture and cooperation, Brazil falls rather short in the domain of economic and commercial ties with Mozambique. A notable exception is Vale's coal operations in the country, one of the biggest drivers of development in terms of FDI and job creation as well as its involvement in developing the Nacala logistics corridor. Brazil is also the second market of destination for the coal extracted in Mozambique, after India. Mozambique's future is bright, and it offers great opportunities to Brazilian companies, starting from the oil and gas field, where Brazil has already accumulated extensive experience. We have been actively promoting investment and work opportunities in Mozambique's nascent LNG industry, through high-level bilateral visits, seminars, and events, and we will continue to do so. As more Brazilians come to work in Mozambique, we also foresee an increase in the amount of Brazilian exports to Mozambique. The Mozambican government also has to do its part to better promote the country as a touristic destination for Brazilians, because there is huge potential here.

NI-E While gas will play a pivotal role in Mozambique's future, we want to unlock potential in other sectors to push for sustainable growth. In this regard, we have identified interesting opportunities in sectors such as agri-business, renewable energy, and SME development. We are excited for the future of the gas sector and for the opportunities it will offer to UK companies. There are already a number of UK companies involved in other sectors, from agriculture to renewables to manufacture, and so on. We have seen our total trade in goods and services between the UK and Mozambique increase by over 45% in the last quarter to 2019. An important sector where we want to increase our investments is technology: the digital economy and fintech are in their infancy in Mozambique, with great room to expand. People in Africa are quick to embrace technology, creating an amazing potential for technology leapfrogging. The UK has also committed to scale up female economic empowerment programs such as Mover to ensure that young women partake in the gas sector's eventual success.