President of Mozambique wants Portuguese business owners to invest in the country

1 November 2006

Maputo, Mozambique, 01 Nov – The President of Mozambique, Armando Guebuza, Tuesday called for the Portuguese prime minister, José Sócrates, to encourage Portuguese business owners to invest in his country.

Guebuza was speaking during a banquet held for Sócrates, which was on a 10-hour visit to Mozambique to sign the agreement to change the shareholder structure of the Cahora Bassa Hydroelectric Dam.

Under the terms of the agreement Portugal will change its shareholding in the dam from 82 percent to 15 percent and Mozambique will control the remaining 85 percent share of the infrastructure.

At the same time. Guebuza pledged his support to the Portuguese prime minister for the hosting of the second Africa-Europe summit in Lisbon.

Guebuza said he wished to boost Mozambican cooperation with Portugal, and highlighted the role of the Portuguese government,, which next year will take on the presidency of the European Union.

The Portuguese prime minister said he was “completely open to being part of development in Mozambique,” and noted the need to set up a joint strategy between the EU and Africa.

Mozambique’s national director for energy, Pascoal Bacelar, told Portuguese news agency Lusa that the board of directors of Cahora Bassa (HCB) would only be changed once Mozambique paid the US$950 million agreed with Portugal.

“The actual transfer of HCB will be carried out after the payment of Mozambique’s debt to Portugal,” which resulted from the construction and maintenance of the facility, Bacelar said.

Portugal currently occupies three of the five seats on HCB’s board, which is presided by Joaquim Silva Correia, nominated by the Portuguese government.

The agreement, signed in Maputo by the two countries, outlines that Portugal will maintain two directors at the company, as well as the president of the General Meeting and Audit Commission, for four years.

After that time, if Portugal keeps its 15 percent shareholding, it will continue to have two directors and, if it reduces that share to 10 percent, will keep one director. (macauhub)