Santiago Miralles Huete, Spanish Ambassador in Maputo (Mozambique)

The Spanish Embassy in Maputo expresses its gratitude to MAFEX for supporting on Mozambique and for taking the initiative to explore the market and encourage their companies to know about it.

With an average of 8% annually over the past decade, Mozambique is one of the fastest growing coun­tries in Africa. Huge deposits of natural gas in the Rovuma Bay and coal reserves in the province of Tete have been discovered, which explains the remarkable economic and social transformation that this country is experiencing. Appropri­ate macroeconomic policies and the political stability Mozambique has nowadays is attracting foreign investment.

There are many opportunities for Spanish companies to participate in the development of transport infrastructure. The privileged geo­graphical position of Mozambique has made this “pearl of the Indian Sea” the natural outlet to the sea for neighbouring countries such as Malawi, Zimbabwe, Botswana and Zambia and even north-eastern South Africa. The maintenance and updating of the rail network that be­gan in colonial times is essential to stimulate the dynamics of regional economic integration. Mozambique has over 3,000 km. of railways, but these were destroyed after the war of independence and the civil war (which ended in 1992). Today its reconstruction is essential for struc­turing the country economically. The national railway company, Caminhos de Ferro de Moçambique (CFM), es­timated that an investment of over twenty billion dollars is needed.

To attract private investors and share the costs, Mozambique has adopted a legal framework that develops public-private partner­ships (PPP). So far, it has been the mining industry that has stimu­lated the development of rail-port systems and has led the mod­ernization of the railway network around corridors linking the coun­tries of the interior to the ports of Mozambique. The corridor that arrives to the port of Maputo in the south, the port of Beira in the centre and the port of Nacala in the north, are the main centres for regional economic development, including the transport of persons and passengers, which has also been anticipated by CFM.

In these large infrastructure pro­jects Spanish companies can con­tribute a lot. Mozambique has sympathy and admiration towards Spain, and knows the technology and the capacity Spanish compa­nies have in this field. Spain already left its mark in Mozambique when, during the late eighties, RENFE technicians supported Caminhos de Ferro to train staff and develop the Beira Corridor. Today exports of railway equipment from Spain to Mozambique are in a good po­sition within our trade flows, al­though they are still very modest.

I am honestly very glad that Mafex is betting on Mozambique and that it has taken the initiative to explore this market and encourage their companies to know and explore it. There is no doubt we all have much to gain. The Spanish Embas­sy in Maputo is available to support companies in the Spanish railway sector who wish to seize market opportunities in this country.

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