Entities from Mozambique and China on Sunday in Beijing signed eight memoranda of understanding in the areas of infrastructure, industry, telecommunications, agriculture and financial services, during a business forum opened by Mozambican President Filipe Nyusi.
In the infrastructure sector, memoranda were signed for the construction of a road between the province of Niassa in the far north-west of the country and Tanzania and the repair of National Road number 6 linking the city of Beira in Sofala province to the border village of Machipanda in the province of Manica.
Another memorandum signed by the National Road Administration of Mozambique and the China Road and Bridge Corporation includes the construction of a section between Pambara in Vilanculos and Mangungumete district in Inhassoro district in the southern province of Inhambane.
Another document outlines the construction of an integrated transport system between the Limpopo valley and the port of Chongoene in southern Gaza province.
Industrial parks in Boane and Marracuene, in Maputo province, are part of another memorandum signed between the Mozambican Ministry of Industry and Trade and the China Civil Engineering Construction group.
The Ministry of Agriculture and Food Security of Mozambique also signed a memorandum with the China Railway 20 Bureau Group Corporation and Northwest University.
In the telecommunications technology sector, China’s Huawei signed a memorandum of understanding with Mozambique Mobile, while in the financial area Mozambican bank Millennium bim signed a memorandum with UnionPay, a leading Chinese electronic payment systems company.
The event, held on the eve of the start of the Forum on China-Africa Cooperation (FOCAC), was attended by the Minister of Mineral Resources and Energy, Max Tonela, the Director General of the Agency for the Promotion of Investment and Exports (Apiex), Lourenço Sambo and the chairman of Mozambican oil and gas company ENH, Omar Mithá.
Thirty-nine Mozambican business people, from the public and private sectors, also attended.
The president of the Confederation of Economic Associations of Mozambique, Agostinho Vuma, admitted that, although “the internationalisation of China is done by public companies,” the Mozambican business community wants to have greater participation in the economic relations between the two countries.
“We are identifying projects that merit funding from the Chinese government, there are important instruments of cooperation with China in addition to public companies and financial instruments that are making a qualitative leap forward in Chinese direct investment in Mozambique,” he said.
Vuma also noted, “the need to see Chinese companies get involved in major hydrocarbon projects,” and “show the Chinese market the reforms” that are being implemented in Mozambique.
“A labour law is underway that is expected to make labour relations more flexible, such as the quota for employing foreigners and the participation of foreigners in knowledge transfer,” he said.
The third edition Forum on China-Africa Cooperation (FOCAC) is expected to bring together dozens of African heads of state and government in Beijing on Monday and Tuesday.
The summit will include three new countries, including Sao Tome and Principe, which will join the remaining Portuguese-speaking African countries, Angola, Cabo Verde (Cape Verde), Guinea-Bissau and Mozambique.
The other countries attending for the first time are Burkina Faso and Gambia, bringing the number of African nations with relations with China to 53.
Since 2015, China’s annual average direct investment in Africa has been US$3 billion, notably in new sectors such as industry, finance, tourism and aviation.
The first Forum on China-Africa Cooperation was held in Beijing in 2006 and the second edition took place in South Africa in 2015.