Marcopolis presents the Mozambique Report focused on topics such as investments, doing business, economy and regional integration, featuring interviews with Mozambican leaders. The sectors under review in this issue are agriculture, banking, energy, industry, telecom, IT, tourism, logistics and many more.
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Joaquim Alberto Chissano was the second President of Mozambique, serving from 1986 to 2005. Since leaving the presidency, he has campaigned for peace through his work as an envoy and peace negotiator for the United Nations. Chissano also served as Chairperson of the African Union from July 2003 to July 2004. In 2007, he was awarded the inaugural Prize for Achievement in African Leadership by the Mo Ibrahim Foundation. Joaquim Chissano is also a member of the Fondation Chirac's honour committee, as well as an eminent member of the Sergio Vieira de Mello Foundation. He is Chairman of the Board of Directors of the Joaquim Chissano Foundation, a private, non-profit organization dedicated to the promotion of peace, economic and cultural development in Mozambique.
Joaquim Chissano shares his vision for Africa's development in the medium term, saying that "Africa is the future of the world".
"The economic crisis we're going through today is not only African in origin, nor is it limited to Africa. But I would urge all forces that have a stake in world economic development to look at Africa as one of the continents that will safeguard the world's future, given its virginity in terms of resources; both in material and human terms. This is a young continent when it comes to the age of its population, and Africa's population growth rate is high, which means it will be a well populated continent within a few years, with a significant workforce. It matters that this workforce is well qualified, thus enabling it to make a difference not only to Africa but to the world at large. Raw materials are the most dormant of Africa's resources, and one can take the example of Mozambique. Having both qualified manpower and raw materials can make a big difference if we are further able to preserve our forests and our environment by making use of sustainable forms of agriculture, while also developing industry, since we should not pollute the atmosphere. Africa therefore enjoys all the assets needed to become an important player on the world economic stage", says Joaquim Chissano.
"Of course, Africans have the responsibility of voluntarily trying to decrease their dependency on external sources, by acquiring ever greater knowledge; but above all, by building up our self-confidence and convincing ourselves that we are able to do things. Not only Americans can, but we can also do things. It's crucial for us to be self-confident, and we have to motivate our youth to do things. I'm happy to see more and more young people working in Mozambique. I was working with an insurance company this morning, represented by a very young lady. We didn't see this in the past. In the banks too you find young people, who have been able to master the technology, among many other such cases. This is clearly the future, but in the short term, much will depend on the willingness of our partners to say "Yes, Africa is the future, so we have to help them now", and not leave things for later. If we combine both of these, Africa can actually lay the foundations for reversing the world economic crisis", he adds.
"In the 70s, we had the oil crisis. This was an important crisis in an era of Cold War confrontation. Nowadays, I believe interests should converge, and if these are able to converge, for the sake of the future, now is the time to build it – within the next 2 to 3 years. We should not wait for the conflict to end completely in Mozambique. Increased involvement should in fact be among the ways to end conflict, in order to motivate the population. As someone in the farming business, I can say that when us farmers see clouds, we go and start sowing the fields, then wait for the rain to come; rather than waiting for the rain to fall first, then going to buy seeds and coming back, start preparing the land, etc., after which we may miss the opportunity. This is time for sowing. We shouldn't be discouraged by the fact there may still be drought. The clouds are there and rain may come. In fact, during my lifetime, even as President, I had a good experience when travelling to the countryside. I went to places where there was no rain and it was completely dry. I found people crying for rain. I talked to them and comforted them, by giving them many explanations, after which I said "do you have anything else to ask me?" One of them said: "Yes, I have". "What is it?" I asked. He said: "Please, we don't have water, we don't have rain". So what I had to say to that was: "No, please don't stay idle, because there's no rain. Make sure your farms are prepared, even while you're crying. One day rain may come without you knowing it." I went to another place the same day, some distance away, perhaps 150 km. Upon my arrival, I took the same discussion there, because it was also dry: "Rain may come any time". Exactly as I was saying it, it began to rain. It rained heavily. When I arrived at my destination, late at night, I made radio contact with the first and second places I had travelled through, in order to ask whether the rain had indeed arrived. They informed me that the dams had filled up in less than one night. This contrasted precisely with the examples they had given me: "Look at how the dams are dry, the cattle have no water, the people have no water, because we drink from the same source." They now reported that the dams were full. This is the example I wish to give. Investors therefore must invest knowing that the rain may come", he concludes.