A 60-member strong Mozambican business delegation visited Dubai to explore possibilities of increasing bi-lateral trade and investment. Being the first delegation of its kind, the event was described as a springboard for business interaction between Mozambique and the United Arab Emirates. The delegation was part of the official participation of the country in Dubai’s International Autumn Trade Fair held at the Dubai World Trade Centre.
Trade between Mozambique and Dubai stands in the region of $13 million and has been registering a constant growth in recent years. Air Mozambique (LAM) has played a significant role in the growth of these figures. The airline commenced flights to Dubai last year and has played an important role in establishing a direct air link between Mozambique and Dubai. As a result, an increasing number of business people from Mozambique are beginning to discover the advantages of doing business with Dubai. « Our interaction with the Dubai public and private sectors, will also attract businessmen from the UAE to explore investment opportunities in Mozambique, » said Cabo Delgado Jose Pacheco, governor of the northern Mozambican province who was heading the delegation.
The Mozambique consulate in Dubai, which was opened in 2000, also organised a special seminar on « Tourism and Investment Opportunities in Mozambique, » which was attended by more than 100 businessmen from Mozambique and the UAE.
The seminar highlighted investment opportunities in Mozambique especially in the tourism area, including environmental and coastal tourism. The presentation was also attended by Majed Al-Shamsi, deputy president of the Dubai Chamber of Commerce and Industry (DCCI). « Significant increase in bi-lateral trade, tourism and economic co-operation between Dubai and Mozambique can be achieved through promotional and marketing efforts carried out by agencies operating in Dubai and Mozambique, » he said. Trade, tourism and business missions should be organised regularly, as well as participation in international exhibitions and trade fairs held in Dubai and Mozambique, he added. Crucial to the success of co-operation would be the development of more effective sea and air links between Mozambique and the UAE, he stressed. « Boosting such effective links will further enhance trade, tourism, and the quick movement of people and goods between the two countries, » he said.
« The distance between our countries is becoming very small, » he said, referring to the new Maputo-Dubai route flown by Mozambican Airlines, LAM. Al-Shamsi encouraged the Mozambicans to take advantage of the free zone facilities that the government of Dubai provides. « We invite businessmen from Mozambique to take advantage of the competitive business environment of Dubai and establish warehousing and distribution centres to supply the UAE, the Gulf region, some parts of central Asia, and the Indian sub-continent which comprises a region of 1.5 billion consumers, » he said.
As a direct result of the recent visit by the high-powered delegation, Mozambique is now working to complete two treaties with the UAE on dual tax avoidance and reciprocal investment protection. « We are trying to set up a joint commission between Mozambique and the UAE federal government in a bid to increase our presence here, and hope to open our embassy in Abu Dhabi next year, » said Hipolito P.Z. Patricio, deputy minister for foreign affairs and cooperation. Plans are also underway to set up a Mozambique trade centre in Sharjah. Patricio said Mozambique is considering getting expertise from Jebel Ali Free Zone for its port at Beira. « We are impressed with the efficiency and quality of operations here, » he said.
Recognising the favourable economic environment, a prominent Sharjah-based business group has set up a food processing operation in Mozambique, and is now diversifying into mango and citrus plantations. The level of investment is about $5 million, but the group is also exploring opportunities for a hotel.
Another UAE group has also tied up with energy company Sasol. « These are the pioneers from this part of the world in our country, and we are hoping that more and more businessmen based in the UAE will invest in viable projects in Mozambique, » he said. Mozambique allows businessmen to buy property and guarantees their rights, he said. « Businessmen in Dubai, are known for their enterprise and acumen. We invite investors to explore possibilities of setting up businesses in Mozambique, which offers a conducive atmosphere for enterprising businessmen, » he said. « Investors can also use Mozambique as a springboard to capture markets in neighbouring countries, » he said.
The minister acknowledged his country is poor and needs basic infrastructure development such as roads, bridges, ports and telecommunications, affording investors opportunities in these sectors and in agro-based industries and tourism.
“We have in recent years consistently recorded dual-digit growth, » he said. « GDP growth may slow this year to 4-6 per cent due to extensive flood damage, but 2001-02 will likely see a return to growth rates of 10-12 per cent. »
As part of the rebuilding process, Mozambique is augmenting infrastructure with a $1.3 billion aluminium smelter, major hydro-electric projects aimed at generating 6,000 megawatts, and setting up an ambitious iron and steel smelter. It is also linking up its national park with those of South Africa, Zimbabwe and Swaziland through a transfrontier border project aimed at highlighting its tourism potential. « Tourism is expected to grow into a multi-million dollar industry in Mozambique in coming years, » said Fernando Sumbana Junior, Minister of Tourism, while speaking to Business Guide in Dubai. « We are hoping to attract a large number of tourists from the UAE and the Gulf region by promoting Mozambique’s tourist attractions through a series of seminars and presentations, » he said.
Dubai’s leading English newspaper, Khaleej Times, recently published a special supplement on Mozambique, highlighting the country’s major tourist and investment attractions. The introduction of direct flights between Dubai and Maputo is sure to result in a marked increase in tourist traffic between the two countries.
Mozambique And United Arab Emirates
MOZAMBIQUE HAS HISTORICAL TIES WITH THE ARAB WORLD
The The United Arab Emirates and Mozambique enjoy a close commercial and historical relationship. Recognising each other’s strengths, the two countries have moved quickly to establish mutually beneficial ties, spanning not just the areas of trade and commerce but also high level government-to-government contacts that culminated in the visit of Mozambique President, Joaquim Alberto Chissano last year.
Mozambique opened its consulate in Dubai in 2000 in a bid to further strengthen these ties. This early show of support by Mozambique has laid a solid foundation for cooperation between the two sides in the new millennium. According to Isaias Elisio Mondlane, Mozambiquen Consul-General in Dubai, growing economic and trade ties underpin the strong relationship between Mozambique and the United Arab Emirates. The fact that these ties are growing exponentially, is due to the support such activities receive from the authorities in the two countries. The UAE is undoubtedly the trading centre of the Middle East, just as Mozambique is the gateway to the African hinterland. Both countries are economically vibrant and have enterprising business communities.
Overall trade between the two countries stood at approximately $15 million in 2000. « The UAE is Mozambique’s second largest trade partner in the Gulf, » said Isaias Elisio Mondlane. According to Isaias Elisio Mondlane, Mozambique is very keen to attract investments from the UAE. The Mozambique Consulate will hold a series of investment workshops in the UAE later this year with the aim of garnering a larger share of UAE overseas investment.
« Many UAE businessmen are looking at short-term investments at the present moment and projects in tourism and infrastructural development could be major attractions, » he said. Pointing out the various attractions of Mozambique as a destination for foreign investment, he points out that the country has a sound banking and distribution infrastructure. It offers skilled labour, a well established legal system, and a reasonable telecommunication network. With the large-scale economic reforms now being carried out, the earning capacity of large numbers of the country’s population is expected to go up in the coming years, leading to a burgeoning market.
« We have the raw materials – land, water and mineral resources including some hydrocarbons which can be exploited. The UAE can find great value in Mozambique not only in gas and oil, but to transform our mineral resources, » said Joaquim Alberto Chissano, the President of Mozambique during a brief stopover in Dubai on his way to Malaysia recently. Speaking about the steps being taken by the Mozambique Consulate to facilitate trade and allow for easy movement of business visitors and tourists to Mozambique, the Consul-General said that the Mozambiquen Consulate in Dubai has been organising presentations and seminars on ‘investment opportunities in Mozambique’ in Dubai.
In addition, the consulate has a special commercial section to assist the growing bi-lateral trade between the two countries. Tourism is another area that has witnessed tremendous growth over the past few years. Following the establishment of direct air services between the two countries by LAM, Mozambique’s national airline, leisure-related travel has gone up by leaps and bounds. « Our country offers a huge variety of locations and activities to tourists from the Gulf… from beautiful wildlife parks with a huge variety of big game, to exciting holiday resorts… we have attractions to suit all tourists, » Isaias Elisio Mondlane said.
Mozambique is also a major participant at various exhibitions held in the UAE. The country’s governor of the northern Mozambican province, Cabo Delgado Jose Pacheco, led a high-powered Mozambiquen delegation to the International Autumn Trade Fair in Dubai. Mozambique had also participated in the Afro-Arab Trade Fair held in Sharjah where the potential for ever greater trading and commercial ties was explored through a series of seminars and workshops.