Increased local content remains a government priority - Mozambique
Nuno Uinge, Mozambican businessman
There are opportunities for Mozambican entrepreneurs in hydrocarbon exploitation, says Nuno Uinge, who already operates in the sector. But the businessman warns that firms have to be well prepared, and invest in training.
When talking about the exploitation of natural resources in Mozambique, we usual hear only about large multinationals. And national companies? Where do they stand? Almost nothing is known about their involvement, but there are some entrepreneurs who are already taking advantage, even if with overseas partners.
One such, through his company Energy Works, is Mozambican businessman Nuno Uinge. DW Africa talked to him about it.
DW Africa: Are there opportunities for small and medium-sized enterprises to leverage, thereby contributing to the country’s development in this sector?
Nuno Uinge (NU): There are many opportunities for small and medium-sized national companies to participate. But from what I see, it does’nt depend only on willing and wishing: companies have to prepare a lot, because these are sectors which require technology, and companies that want to operate in them have to live up to that.
There are also a number of internationally required safety and hygiene at work standards, as well as environment and quality certification, and those who don’t prepare simply cannot get there. In Mozambique, the government has, through recent legislation, opened doors for entrepreneurs to take advantage of these opportunities, for example with the law on local content being approved.
DW Africa: Talking about knowledge, the exploitation of these resources is still something new in Mozambique. Does this mean that, in the first phase, partnerships with international companies would be the solution?
NU: No-one in the world can say that they are sufficiently prepared, because we see that with every passing day there are new scientific discoveries, there are new applications, new requirements, so we all have to learn. I see in big companies complex contests: companies come together, and every company knows that it cannot do anything alone. So we Mozambicans do not need to feel inferior about it. We do not have references from the past, but if we have the will, we can do well, through partnerships with other companies.
DW Africa: What are the challenges for local companies that outsource services to large multinationals, in the case of mining and oil companies?
NU: The first challenge is the country itself. Mozambique has to invest in its human potential. There has to be a great investment in training in Mozambique, as the basis for any success. Companies must include staff training in their programmes.
DW Africa: The mineral resources sector is still very much dominated by the government. Is there a solid bridge between the government and the private sector?
NU: Through the legislation it has created, the government has opened the doors. And we, as Mozambicans, depending on our knowledge and experience, have the freedom to apply for licenses and so on. From what I know, what I feel and see, the government has not made this so difficult. Often what happens is that people have the licenses and are just sitting on them, either because they do not have the financial resources or the knowledge to proceed. And then, after some time, the government takes back [the licenses]. But I can say with assurance that I do not feel that the government is preventing its nationals from doing anything. Currently, the problem lies in the lack of knowledge, lack of resources and so on.
Source: Deutsche Welle