Moza secures US$30m grant
The grant is meant for the reform the country’s professional training system. The agreement was signed in the southern city of Matola last week by Aiuba Cuereneia, the Minister of Planning and Development, and Michael Baxter, World Bank director for Angola, Mozambique, Malawi, Zambia and Zimbabwe. Education Minister Aires Aly told reporters after the signing ceremony that the programmes supported by this loan would ensure greater access by Mozambicans, and particularly women, to professional training. The latest grant brings the total amount for the programme to about US$60 million, following previous contributions from other partners. Aly said to date the number of students in technical schools in Mozambique was very small, amounting to about one percent of all those in general education. “This is a trend we want to reverse, because Mozambique is poor, and its labour market needs trained technical personnel”, he said. As part of the government’s reforms, technical education will be based on occupational skills, and representatives of business and industry will have a strong influence in defining the content of what is taught at these schools. About 40 percent of the money available will be spent on rehabilitating some 16 institutions of technical and professional education, Aly said. Baxter said “the World Bank thinks that one of the most sustainable ways of combating poverty is through investing in the quality of the country’s human resources”. This programme, he added, went alongside the bank’s support for basic education (worth about US$71 million), and for higher education (US$60 million). When the three programmes are taken together, the World Bank’s funding of Mozambican education rises to US$161 million. The government’s reforms, Baxter said, would transform Mozambique’s technical education “into a system oriented towards the needs of the labour market in a sustainable, inclusive, effective and flexible way”. Meanwhile, maize unfit for human consumption is reportedly still being sold in the northern Mozambican province of Nampula. This is despite orders issued by the health authorities, who have warned that the practise is putting the health of consumers at risk. The maize, estimated at 1 500 tonnes in all, belongs to one of the largest of Nampula companies, Gani Commercial. The maize’s peculiar colour and odour led to complaints, and early this month the health authorities ordered that the commodity be removed from the market. When this order was disobeyed, the directorate ordered the closure of the company’s warehouses in Nampula city, and the districts of Monapo and Mozambique Island. Laboratory tests proved that the maize was unfit for human consumption. It contained aflatoxin, which can cause cancer. The maize is not even fit to be used as animal feed, and therefore the health authorities ordered it to be incinerated. But some of this maize has escaped from the warehouses and is still being sold in parts of Mossuril and Monapo districts ‘ under the noses of the local authorities. In another development, investment in the tourism sector in Mozambique continues to grow. In the southern Mozambican province of Inhambane, investment increased by more than US$420 000 US in 2005, when compared with the previous year. During a briefing given to Mozambican President Armando Guebuza during a visit to Inhamban, the provincial governor Lazaro Vicente said that tourism operators invested US$3,2 million last year compared to US$2,8 million in 2004. The tourism statistics show that 26 new tourism establishments were inaugurated in Inhambane in 2005, bringing to 296 the total number of such undertakings in the province. They include 125 lodges, two camping parks, and 45 hotels. The main tourist attractions are pristine beaches, and the Bazaruto archipelago, with its abundant wildlife. The statistics show that 23 624 tourists visited Inhambane in 2005, compared with 21 200 recorded the previous year. Authorities attribute the increase in the local tourism industry to the creation of a site on the internet aimed at promoting and marketing the province’s tourism investment opportunities, and the launching of a tourist guide, with detailed information on tourist activities in the region.