Mozambique rolls out “red carpet” to Chinese investment
Ressano Garcia, located on Mozambique’s border with South Africa, is to get an Italian-style “gelato” [ice cream] production facility and a training centre aimed at creating job opportunities for disadvantaged young people.
A social organisation in the small Mozambican village of Ressano Garcia is overseeing the creation of an ice-cream production laboratory and training centre. In a country with one of the lowest gross domestic products in the world and high rates of youth unemployment, the project is aimed at helping young people find employment.
Three Mozambicans travelled to Bologna in northern Italy for an intensive course at the Carpigiani brand “University of Gelato”. José Maria was one of them. Born in Maputo and now 21 years old, his disabled mother died the day he turned 11.
He describes that the training is “incredible”, and says it gave him something new. “I did not grow up eating ice cream. It was something they sold in KFC [Kentucky Fried Chicken], and not just anyone could go there,” he recalls.
This particular style of ice cream, Italian gelato, has been gaining popularity all over the world in recent years. As well as being creamier and having less fat, it is tastier and healthier.
Missionary Carla hopes that the product will be well-received in the community. “I hope it is a success! Our great desire is that our gelato becomes known, tasted and sold,” the missionary says.
When she returns to Mozambique, Carla will teach five orphans and four young mothers to make gelato, a novelty in a country where vocational training courses are usually not accessible to the poorest of the poor.
In addition to the production laboratory and training centre, the facility will also have a small truck specially adapted for the transport of ice cream.
Mozambican resorts along the coast are very popular with South African tourists. There are constant queues of cars waiting to cross the border, with vendors selling drinks to the occupants of the vehicles.
In the worst of the heat, Carla thinks that gelato would be a good option to offer tourists, and a good way to expand the business. “Let’s have a small cart selling at the border – we can employ other young street vendors, too.”
When he left school, Jose Maria did odd jobs as a mechanic, fixing trucks by the side of the road. When he returns to Mozambique, he will be responsible for the equipment. Thanks to this “great opportunity”, he feels that he has a brighter future, “It was my dream to work with mechanical equipment other than just cars. So it’s a dream come true,” he says.
In addition to making gelato, José has also started studying environmental engineering at university, hoping to use the knowledge he acquire to make the gelato business more productive and sustainable.
He believes in the success of the initiative and wants the transfer of knowledge to start a virtuous cycle of people training, beginning work and then training others. He is confident of the success of gelato here.
“I think that, in future, people will be able to open their own businesses. It will be a way for my country to develop a new market. The term gelato will become famous here,” the young man hopes.Source: Deutsche Welle