Mtwara port project in Tanzania now 55% complete, "with specific focus" on serving neighbouring ...
Friedrich Kaufmann (in file CoM)
Armed attacks in northern Mozambique are already having a negative impact on foreign investment, Friedrich Kaufmann, the representative of the German Chamber of Commerce in Maputo, says. He hopes the situation will not last long.
Last week in Germany, DW discussed the issue with Friedrich Kaufmann on the sidelines of a seminar on mineral resources in Mozambique and about the German entrepreneurship in Mozambique and the obstacles related to the business environment.
DW Africa: One of the complaints of investors in Mozambique, not just foreigners, is about the business environment. They complain of difficulties in opening businesses and corruption, among other problems. Have members of your organisation experienced these problems?
Friedrich Kaufmann (FK): My organisation has not, but some companies have. And we, as a lobby chamber for the private sector, are in contact with the Chamber of Industry and Commerce, which is currently working on a business improvement strategy. We are providing inputs, comments, [and presenting] problems, to contribute to their solution. Another initiative that I think is very important for Mozambique, together with our German Chamber, is that we form a working platform at European level, with Swiss, Italian, Spanish, etc. representation, and we would like to create a task force under the leadership of the MIC [Ministry of Industry and Commerce] in Maputo, which meets to solve problems of investors in Mozambique or who have problems with the business environment, corruption or lack of coordination. And before traveling to Germany, to Chemnitz, we had a meeting with the Minister of Industry and Commerce, Ragendra de Sousa, to launch the idea of the task force. Then we’ll meet again to get things rolling.
DW Africa: In your opinion, what are the challenges that the Mozambican market has yet to overcome in order to reach the desired levels in terms of the business environment and the relationship with other investors?
FK: The question is very complex, because you can discuss several points. But beyond the infrastructure and technical staff, logically, business environment issues are beyond the current financial crisis. So the business environment is a very important topic, because small and medium businesses especially are suffering a lot due to a less favorable environment.
DW Africa: And since you’ve been in Mozambique (for about three years) have you seen any developments?
FK: Yes, there are always strengths and weaknesses, but fortunately, in the indicators that everyone knows, like Doing Business and others, there was a positive trend – it was more up than down. But in general, the problems that we have known for more than twenty years still continue.
DW Africa: With regard to the instability in northern Mozambique, do you believe that this could negatively influence the interest of the German business community in risking the country?
FK: Germans are, as I said, [affected] indirectly as a supplier [of the oil companies operating there]. For example, Anadarko, one of the leading companies for exploration, has already announced that it has withdrawn some personnel from the area where they are going to work because of security concerns – this the area where there is that terrorism problem. This will delay and even stop jobs and investment. We hope it will not be for long, but for now it is having a negative impact.Source: Deutsche Welle