The government intends to submit new applications to the Development Fund of the Forum for Economic and Trade Cooperation between China and Portuguese-speaking Countries, also known as “Forum Macau”, in sectors such as energy and natural resources for 2024, the Mozambican Information Agency (AIM) reported on Saturday, 10 February.
The guarantee was given recently in a document to which AIM had access, signed by the Mozambican delegate to the Permanent Secretariat of Forum Macau, Francisca Reino, who said that she had already sent the projects to the fund, awaiting the time for their approval.
“We understand that the fund has its own criteria and we’re happy that there has been some reform of these access criteria. We hope that in the near future we’ll be able to present two or three projects with a view to applying to the fund,” said Francisca Reino.
According to the source, the Mozambican delegation in Macau met and realised that it is easier to invest in the energy sector than in any other sector, given that energy is a resource that quickly bears fruit and better fits the criteria for access to the fund.
The delegate spoke of Sino-Mozambican cooperation, which included the cultivation of “Bom Gosto” rice in the Limpopo valley, in the southern province of Gaza, produced by the company Wanbao Africa Agricultural Development, as a good example of the type of investment that the Mozambican authorities want to attract to the country.
“We want sustainable, structuring investment that can involve the local population in the process of wealth creation. Rice is an increasingly common sight on Mozambicans’ tables,” the source emphasised.
For the delegate, the rice cultivation project in Gaza is also tangible proof of the success of Forum Macau’s strategies, given that the agricultural park operated by the Hubei company a decade ago was the first initiative to be financed by the Development Co-operation Fund between China and Portuguese-speaking Countries.
The investment made it possible to rehabilitate 20,000 hectares of farmland and increase production from one and a half tonnes of rice per hectare to eight tonnes per hectare.
“The project has strengthened food security, it’s still going strong and is now at a much more advanced stage. We’re very happy that they [Wanbao Africa Agricultural Development] are investing there,” emphasised Francisca Reino.
The success of Wanbao’s investment in the fertile lower Limpopo region, about two hundred kilometres from Maputo city, was a response to the relaxation of the criteria for access to the Forum Macau Development Fund, which convinced the Mozambican authorities to submit new applications for funding.
In this case, according to Francisca Reino, the Mozambican government has already identified the sectors that best serve the country’s interests in line with the Fund’s guidelines. The energy sector is the one that looks the most promising and is seen by the government as one of the fundamental pillars of the country’s economic development, along with agriculture, industry, tourism and infrastructure construction, a branch of economic activity in which cooperation with China is seen as fundamental.