Mozambique: President appoints new Minister of Combatants
President Filipe Nyusi said this Tuesday that Total will return to Mozambique when everything “is calm”, he said, referring to the armed conflict in the north of the country, after meeting president of the Total oil company Patrick Pouyaneé in Paris on Monday
“Total may demand that there is tranquillity and peace to develop its economic projects,” the Mozambican president told reporters this morning. “It has helped in terms of social responsibility, with hospitals and schools, they have helped in the distribution of water to the population. [Total will return] when there is calm.”
Filipe Nyusi today participates in the Summit on the Future of African Economies, hosted by the French president, Emmanuel Macron, in the French capital and bringing together more than 20 African and European leaders.
The Mozambican president arrived in Paris on Sunday, taking the opportunity to meet Total management on Monday morning, along with other giants such as Air France and the Société Generale bank, which has an operation in Mozambique.
Total recently suspended work at its US$20 billion investment in the country due to insecurity in the province of Cabo Delgado, the scene of insurgent attacks for three years.
“Total is a private company, it is not militarised nor does it have a force to fight. The obligation to defend economic interests belongs to the countries [where it works]. In this specific case, we all have an interest in stabilising and defending the state,” the Mozambican president added.
At Monday’s meeting, the chairman of Total’s board of directors, Patrick Pouyanné, said the company had experienced a “dramatic” situation.
“Of course we faced a dramatic situation in Cabo Delgado, in Palma, recently, so we had to make decisions.” These included “not keeping personnel in Afungi” (the project construction site). But, he added, the company “fully” trusts the Mozambican government to restore calm in the region.
“As soon as Cabo Delgado has peace again, Total will return,” the CEO of the French oil company promised.
Armed groups have terrorised Cabo Delgado since 2017, with some attacks claimed by the Islamic State ‘jihadist’ group, in a wave of violence that has already caused more than 2,500 deaths, according to the ACLED conflict registration project, and 714,000 displaced people, according to the Mozambican government.
The most recent insurgent attack was carried out on March 24 against the town of Palma, leaving an as yet undetermined number dead.
The authorities regained control of Palma, but the attack led oil company Total to indefinitely suspend work on the gas project, which is scheduled to start production in 2024 and on which many of Mozambique’s hopes of economic growth over the next decade depend.