20 Jun

Scientists are exploring a lost rainforest hidden in a Mozambique volcano

It’s hard to miss Mount Lico, a relatively isolated cliff jutting out 700 meters (nearly 2,300 feet) above the plains of northern Mozambique.

Yet for hundreds of years, people were unaware that inside the ancient volcano lay a hidden rainforest, protected by the volcano’s high walls.

Discovered by conservation biologist Julian Bayliss in 2012, the untouched biosphere is a gift for scientists. The only disturbances it has experienced over centuries are natural, such as droughts, as opposed to man-made.

And so it offers a benchmark that scientists can use to compare the full effect of human interference on rainforests.

Now, for the first time, scientists have scaled the 125-meters up a near-vertical rock face to explore the undisturbed rainforest within.

Bayliss took five years to assemble a team that included biologists, botanists, lepidopterists, and other experts from Mozambique, Swaziland, South Africa and the United Kingdom.

The team also included rock climbers who trained the scientists for the expedition from May 10-24—an adventure that sounds straight out of a Jules Verne novel.

After only one expedition, scientists have already found a new species of butterfly and a mouse species that has yet to be classified, and expect to find more previously undiscovered animals.

Because Mount Lico’s habitat is a rainforest, unique plants and animals have developed there, and can help us better understand both the past and future of the natural world.

The discovery is also noteworthy because it’s the second undisturbed rainforest that scientists have found in Mozambique thanks to Google Earth—offering an example of how big data can lead to new discoveries in long-overlooked habitats.

In 2005, Bayliss noticed Mount Mabu, a 1,700 meters (more than 5,500 feet) mountain range that appears in the middle of a savannah.

Bayliss spotted Mount Mabu while searching the earth’s surface for undisturbed rainforests. The mountain range looked similar to one he was already studying in neighboring Malawi, but scientists had never documented it.

To read the full article, click here.

18 Jun

Mozambique’s own version of Boko Haram is tightening its deadly grip

Mozambique’s Cabo Delgado province is being held to ransom by an Islamist guerrilla movement. After months of skirmishes between police and members of the Al Sunnah wa Jama’ah, the region has now erupted into full violence.

Since mid-May, 35 people have died in a series of brutal attacks. Various people have been beheaded, hundreds of houses have been burned and residents have been advised to be cautious.

On June 8 local staff at Anadarko, an international oil and gas company, refused to go to work because they feared an attack. The company then asked its foreign staff not to leave their compound. The US embassy also asked its nationals to leave the province immediately.

The state has in recent months responded forcefully to the emergence of this threat. Hundreds of men and women have been arrested. Some mosques have been closed and others have been destroyed.

In some areas, Muslims have been discouraged from wearing religious garb. This has prompted some sheikhs to warn that Mozambique’s government must not alienate all Muslims because of a fringe group’s activities.

There are economic as well as religious and security issues at play. Cabo Delgado province borders Tanzania and is home to 2.3 million people, 58% of whom are Muslim.

In the past few years massive oil and gas reserves have been discovered. These resources are set to lead to the development of a multibillion dollar industry in Cabo Delgado, and a rosier future for Mozambique’s economy as a whole.

The prospect of a full-scale war has alarmed many people. The state, civil society and oil explorers are worried about what the violence will mean.

How did it reach this point? Several factors—social, economic and political—have allowed an Islamist insurgency to develop in the north of Mozambique. Most are local issues rather than the outcome of an international, cross-border conspiracy.

To read the full article, click here.

21 Mar

Mozambique to Face Off With Bondholders as Debt Talks Start

Mozambique is set to meet foreign creditors to discuss almost $2 billion of debt in London Tuesday in what will mark the start of formal restructuring negotiations, more than a year after the southern African nation defaulted.

Investors including Credit Suisse Group AG and UBS Group AG have little idea what will be discussed. Mozambique first missed coupon payments on its $727 million Eurobond due 2023 in January last year and has had almost no contact with the holders since then.

“We don’t really have any set expectations,” said Phillip Blackwood, managing director at EM Quest Ltd., which advises Sydbank A/S on its emerging-market assets, including Mozambican bonds. “There are many possibilities,” from Mozambique saying it can’t restart servicing external debts for several years to it resuming coupon payments, he said.

Blackwood will be among those attending a presentation by officials including Finance Minister Adriano Maleiane from 2 p.m. at the offices of law firm White & Case, which is advising Mozambique, the only country aside from Venezuela currently in default on a Eurobond.

Lazard Freres SAS, an investment bank also advising the government, has only said that creditors will be updated on recent fiscal and macroeconomic developments and will also hear “the key elements of debt-restructuring proposals.”

Despite the default, the bonds have soared, with money managers betting that Mozambique’s commencement of liquefied natural gas exports around 2023 will boost one of the world’s poorest economies.

The securities have made a price return — which excludes coupon payments — of almost 30 percent in the past year, the most among sovereign debt in emerging markets, according to data compiled by Bloomberg.

The Eurobonds fell for a third-day on Tuesday, trading 0.4 percent lower at 84.8 cents on the dollar.

The presentation comes after the International Monetary Fund’s debt sustainability analysis this month, which painted a bleak picture of Mozambique’s economy and finances, suggesting it may not be in a position to start paying investors again until LNG production begins.

To read the full article, click here.

22 Dec

Mnangagwa Reveals 30km Walk Escaping G40 Assassins After Being Fired By Mugabe

PRESIDENT Emmerson Mnangagwa has revealed walking more than 30 kilometres crossing the boundary between Zimbabwe and eastern neighbour Mozambique in a dramatic escape from G40 assassins.

He was speaking in South Africa Thursday on his first foreign trip as president, after taking over power in Harare last month.

The then vice president was fired by former president Robert Mugabe from government and Zanu PF at the behest of the veteran leader’s wife Grace and her G40 allies in the ruling party.

He then escaped into exile, saying assassins were on is trail but warning he would be back in two weeks to take over power.

In Pretoria Thursday, Mnangagwa told South African business leaders and Zimbabweans based there that he had been warned his life was in danger in the aftermath of his sacking from government as Mugabe’s deputy on November 6th.

“I came here to pay homage to my brother President Jacob Zuma,” he explained. “I spent a good 16 days as a diasporan here in South Africa after walking some 30 kilometres crossing the border into Mozambique.” He added; “After I had been fired around 4 o’clock (on November 6th), intelligence had made me aware of the next move intended to eliminate me.

“Fortunately, I found a (business) card in my wallet which bore the name of a colleague here, Maphosa whom I phoned and he picked me. I came here and I was well looked after.”

An angry Mugabe fired Mnangagwa from government after his wife had been booed at a youth interface rally in Bulawayo as the bitter Zanu PF succession struggle edged towards an explosive end.

The military then entered the fray, first with a damning statement from former Commander Defence Forces General Constantino Chiwenga on November 13th before tanks moved into Harare and Mugabe was placed under house arrest.

To read the full article, click here. 

22 Aug

Mozambique: Gas-Fired Power Station Plans to Triple Production

electricity generation

Maputo — The company Gigawatt-Mocambique plans to expand the electricity generation from its gas-fired power station at Ressano Garcia, on the border with South Africa from the current 120 to 350 megawatts.

Cited by the Maputo daily “Noticias”, the Gigawatt director of operations, Nazario Meguigy, said that an additional 60 megawatts of generating capacity will be added in 2018, with an investment of about 120 million US dollars.

The project to almost triple production, to 350 megawatts, will require a further 700 million dollars, and Meguigy, who was speaking during a visit to the power station by Deputy Labour Minister Osvaldo Petersburgo, said this sum is under negotiation with several financial institutions.

For his part, the Chief Executive Officer of Gigawatt-Mocambique, Bruno Morgado, said the company intends to transfer knowledge from foreign technical staff to their Mozambican colleagues, so that Mozambicans can guarantee the company’s production.

“When the company began its operations, we drew up a plan to reduce the number of foreign workers”, said Morgado. “We are in the second year of the plan and we think that within the next three years the company’s operations will be 100 per cent managed by Mozambicans”.

He added that, whenever necessary, specialists will be hired to support the Mozambican workers in such sensitive questions as the maintenance of equipment. Currently the Ressano Garcia power station employs 112 workers, of whom 102 are Mozambican.

“We have no doubt that, within the next three years, the company will be run by Mozambican workers”, he stressed.

source allAfrica

06 Jan

Mozambique ratifies the Trade Facilitation Agreement

World Trade Organisation
GENEVA, Switzerland, January 6, 2017– Mozambique’s instrument of acceptance was submitted to the WTO on 6 January. It is the 13th least developed country (LDC) to do so. The TFA will enter into force once two-thirds of the WTO membership has formally accepted the Agreement.

In addition to Mozambique, the following WTO members have also accepted the TFA: Hong Kong China, Singapore, the United States, Mauritius, Malaysia, Japan, Australia, Botswana, Trinidad and Tobago, the Republic of Korea, Nicaragua, Niger, Belize, Switzerland, Chinese Taipei, China, Liechtenstein, Lao PDR, New Zealand, Togo, Thailand, the European Union (on behalf of its 28 member states), the former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia, Pakistan, Panama, Guyana, Côte d’Ivoire, Grenada, Saint Lucia, Kenya, Myanmar, Norway, Viet Nam, Brunei, Ukraine, Zambia, Lesotho, Georgia, Seychelles, Jamaica, Mali, Cambodia, Paraguay, Turkey, Brazil, Macao China, the United Arab Emirates, Samoa, India, the Russian Federation, Montenegro, Albania, Kazakhstan, Sri Lanka, St. Kitts and Nevis, Madagascar, the Republic of Moldova, El Salvador, Honduras, Mexico, Peru, Saudi Arabia, Bahrain, Bangladesh, the Philippines, Iceland, Chile, Swaziland, Dominica, Mongolia, Gabon, the Kyrgyz Republic, Canada, and Ghana.

The TFA also has the potential to increase global merchandise exports by up to $1 trillion

Concluded at the WTO’s 2013 Bali Ministerial Conference, the TFA contains provisions for expediting the movement, release and clearance of goods, including goods in transit. It also sets out measures for effective cooperation between customs and other appropriate authorities on trade facilitation and customs compliance issues. It further contains provisions for technical assistance and capacity building in this area.

According to a 2015 study carried out by WTO economists, full implementation of the TFA would reduce members’ trade costs by an average of 14.3 per cent, with developing countries having the most to gain. The TFA also has the ability to reduce the time to import goods by over a day and a half while also reducing time to export by almost two days, representing a reduction of 47 per cent and 91 per cent respectively over the current average. The TFA also has the potential to increase global merchandise exports by up to $1 trillion.

The TFA broke new ground for developing countries and LDCs in the way it will be implemented. For the first time in WTO history, the requirement to implement the Agreement was directly linked to the capacity of the country to do so. In addition, the Agreement states that assistance and support should be provided to help them achieve that capacity.

A Trade Facilitation Agreement Facility (TFAF) was also created at the request of developing and least-developed country members to help ensure that they receive the assistance needed to reap the full benefits of the TFA and to support the ultimate goal of full implementation of the new agreement by all members. Further information on TFAF is available at www.TFAFacility.org.

More information on the WTO and trade facilitation is available at www.wto.org/tradefacilitation.