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Mozambique's President Filipe Nyusi, left, shake hands with China's President Xi Jinping, prior to their bilateral meeting at the Great Hall of the People, in Beijing, China, Saturday, Sept. 1, 2018 ahead of the Forum on China-Africa Cooperation which will be held Sept. 3-4. Photo: presidencia.gov.mz
Eight memorandums of understanding in the infrastructure, industry, telecommunications, agriculture and financial services sectors were signed by Mozambican and Chinese entities in Beijing during a business forum inaugurated 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 extreme north-west of the country and Tanzania, and the rehabilitation of National Road Number Six linking the city of Beira in Sofala to the border village of Machipanda in Manica province.
Another memorandum between the National Road Administration of Mozambique (ANE) and China Road and Bridge Corporation (CRBC) concerns the construction of a section of road between Pambara in Vilanculos district and Mangungumete in Inhassoro district in the southern province of Inhambane, while a similar document provides for 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 the subject of a memorandum signed between the Mozambican Ministry of Industry and Commerce 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 has signed a memorandum of understanding with Moçambique Celular, while in the financial area Mozambican bank Millennium Bim has signed a memorandum with UnionPay, a leading Chinese electronic payment systems company.
The event, held on the eve of the start of the China-Africa Cooperation Forum (FOCAC), was attended by the Minister of Mineral Resources and Energy, Max Tonela, the Director General of the Agency for the Promotion of Investments and Exports (APIEX), Lourenço Sambo, and the president of the National Hydrocarbons Company (ENH), Omar Mithá.
Thirty-nine Mozambican entrepreneurs from the public and private sectors, were also present.
Speaking to the Lusa news agency, the chairman of the Confederation of Economic Associations of Mozambique, Agostinho Vuma, said that, although “the internationalisation of China is done by public companies”, the Mozambican business community wanted greater participation in economic relations between Beijing and Maputo.
“We are identifying projects that eligible for Chinese government funding. There are important instruments of cooperation with China besides the public companies and financial istruments, which are making a qualitative leap forward in Chinese direct investment in Mozambique,” Vuma said.
Vuma also acknowledged “the need to see Chinese companies get involved in major hydrocarbon projects” and to “show the Chinese market the reforms” that are being implemented in Mozambique. “A labour law is under way that is expected to make labour relations more flexible, such as the quota for employing foreigners and the participation of foreigners in the transfer of know-how,” he said.
The third edition of the China-Africa Cooperation Forum (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, namely Sao Tome and Principe, which will join the remaining Portuguese-speaking African countries, Angola, Cape Verde, Guinea-Bissau and Mozambique.
The remaining countries premiering at FOCAC are Burkina Faso and Gambia, bringing to 53 the number of African nations with relations with China. Since 2015, China’s annual average direct investment in the continent has totalled US$3 billion (2.5 billion euros), with new sectors such as industry, finance, tourism and aviation the highlight.
The first China-Africa Cooperation Forum took place in Beijing in 2006 and the second edition in South Africa in 2015.
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