Chinese president visits Mozambique to boost economic ties

8 February 2007

Maputo, Mozambique, 8 Feb – The President of China, Hu Jintao, is due Thursday to begin a two-day visit to Mozambique where he is expected to announce the pardon of Mozambique’s bilateral US$15 million debt, officials said.

Hu will attend the signing of several cooperation and commercial agreements Thursday and Friday will attend the launch of the technology Demonstration Center in Nampula, northern Mozambique.

Figures issued by the Chinese embassy in Maputo showed that Chinese companies had built over 30 projects in Mozambique, including an international conference center, the Foreign Ministry building, the parliament and would begin work on the new Maputo sports stadium with a capacity for 42,000 people.

Bilateral trade between the two countries in 2006 totaled US$210 million, against US$165 million in 2005 and US$119 a year before.

China recently granted Mozambique the status of approved tourist destination, which will encourage Chinese tourists to visit the East African country.

China’s particular interest in Mozambique’s Zambeze Valley became clear in 2006, when the Exim Bank of China granted a loan of over 1.5 billion euros to finance the reconstruction of the Mpanda Nkua dam, the second along the Zambeze river, after Cahora Bassa.

The Zambeze Valley, as a source of power of the size it already is, but which could be increased in the future, is China’s main interest in Mozambique.

The power produced, or potentially produced, by the Zambeze encourages the creation of industrial, agricultural and other projects.

According to Portuguese news agency Lusa, China is interested in acquiring a stake in the Cahora Bassa project as soon as Portugal’s majority stake is handed over to Mozambique, and it has been suggested that China also planned to become involved in coal mining in Moatize.

Chinese president’s is due to end on February 10 in the Seychelles and he has already visited Cameroon, Liberia, the Sudan, Zambia, Namibia and South Africa.

The African tour is the third Hu has taken since taking office in 2003, and the second in less than a year.

China and Mozambique set up diplomatic relations in 1975 when Mozambique became independent from Portugal. (macauhub)