France cancels Moza debt
Paris – The French government has cancelled all of Mozambique’s public debt to France, amounting to 17.5 million euros (aboutUS$19 million).
The agreement to this effect was signed in Paris on July 20 by Mozambican Foreign Minister Oldemiro Baloi and the French Minister of the Economy, Emmanuel Macron, and witnessed by Mozambican President Filipe Nyusi, who was on a three day visit to France.
The cancellation takes the form of a debt for development swap. Ten million euros of the debt will be converted into direct support for the Mozambican state budget. (France is already one of the 16 countries and funding agencies who provide part of their aid to Mozambique in the form of budget support).
5.5 million euros will be spent on technical and professional training projects, while the rest of the cancelled debt will go towards the protection of endangered species.
Also on July 20, French President Francois Hollande met with President Nyusi for about an hour at the Elysee Palace. The two leaders did not speak to the press or issue any statement at the end of their meeting. Their broad smiles, however, were an indication that the talks had gone well.
Earlier in the morning of July 20, President Nyusi took part in a conference of business people from the two countries, with the purpose of establishing a broader platform to encourage a greater dynamism in Franco-Mozambican cooperation
“Relations between Mozambique and France are excellent at all levels, both from the political and diplomatic point of view, and in terms of development cooperation”, said President Nyusi.
“These relations were built over the years, during which our country has benefitted from multifaceted support from France which, over the past decade, has amounted to more than 100 million euros”.
President Nyusi also visited the headquarters of the IFP (French Petroleum Institute) Group, which has operations across the globe, particularly in countries rich in hydrocarbons, such as Mozambique, where vast deposits of natural gas have been discovered off the coast of the northern province of Cabo Delgado.
The IFP has trained staff of Mozambique’s National Hydrocarbon Company (ENH), and President Nyusi thanked the institute for its assistance.
President Nyusi told reporters on July 21 that he had achieved all the objectives he had hoped for from his three day visit to France.
Speaking to Mozambican journalists, he said he was sure there would now be greater cooperation between the Mozambican and French governments, and also in the field of business.
President Nyusi revealed that one of the major French banks, Societe General, intends to open a branch in Maputo in the near future. He believed that this would act as a signal for other French banks and companies to invest in Mozambique.
Cooperation with France, as with many other countries, would be based on the “win-win” principle of mutual gains, said the President. “The fact is that Mozambique is no longer a country that is talked about, but a country with which one talks (to),” he added. – AIM