China is Mozambique’s largest financier and builder of infrastructure

30 April 2018

China is now the largest financier and builder of infrastructure in Mozambique, and built the Maputo-Catembe bridge, the Maputo circular road, National Road 6 and the fishing port of Beira city, said the ambassador of China to the country, in statements made in Maputo to Macao magazine.

In order to reinforce the importance of the bilateral relationship, Ambassador Su Jian also recalled that China is Mozambique’s main trading partner and also the main foreign investor, “a position that has been consolidated.”

Su Jian highlighted the existence of other projects that are part of a list compiled by the Mozambican government including 13 priority areas in a memorandum of understanding was signed in 2017 including industrial parks, highways, agriculture, exploration of natural and energy resources and ports.

The ambassador added that the delicate financial situation in Mozambique requires greater attention to the sustainability of the financing, “as we do not want to aggravate the financial burden of the country,” a consideration that led China to seek, together with the Mozambican government, alternative solutions that allow the sustainable development of the country.

Su Jian called for the establishment of public-private partnerships to carry out these projects, instead of demanding allocation and sovereign guarantees from the Mozambican government, “in order not to contribute to the aggravation of the already very difficult financial situation of the country.”

Against a backdrop of the rise in debt levels of the Mozambican state, which is in default with its creditors, the Chinese authorities have been, according to Su Jian, encouraging Chinese entrepreneurs and bankers to experiment with diversified forms of financing.

The ambassador noted the case of the China National Petroleum Corporation group, which has already invested more than US$5 billion in the consortium of the Area 4 block in the Rovuma basin where it has an indirect stake of 20%, as an example of this new way of working.

The diplomat pointed out that Mozambique, which has 2,600 kilometres of coastline and many ports, including the Nacala deepwater port, which can serve as a platform between the Indian Ocean and some landlocked African countries, may have a role to play in the natural expansion of the 21st Century Silk Road, as stated by Chinese Foreign Minister Wang Yi when he visited the country in 2016.

Su Jian, a former ambassador to Cabo Verde (Cape Verde), told Macao magazine in a statement to be published in the May issue that the future of business relations between the two countries is expected to move more towards special economic zones and light industry parks, such as production of materials and construction and processing of agricultural products.

Mozambique will be a partner at this year’s Macau International Fair (MIF 2018), which is happening for the first time, an opportunity to “use the Macau platform with the establishment of partnerships,” said Lourenço Sambo, president of the Agency for the Promotion of Investments and Exports of Mozambique.

“With China we have to define what we want, we need Mozambique to have an action plan to make bilateral cooperation operational,” Sambo told Macao magazine. (macauhub)