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Edna Simbine: “Maximising Local Content Is at the Heart of Mozambique’s LNG Project Strategy”

Edna Simbine: “Maximising Local Content Is at the Heart of Mozambique’s LNG Project Strategy”

In an exclusive interview with Diário Económico, Edna Simbine, manager of the Local Content Area at TotalEnergies EP Mozambique Area 1 Limitada, highlights the encouraging results of the local content programmes already achieved by the Mozambique LNG project.

While acknowledging the significant challenges that lie ahead, she shares a macro vision of the strategy outlined, which points not only to training programmes and the promotion of local employment, but also to strengthening the skills of the young population of Cabo Delgado province, without forgetting, of course, training and support for Micro, Small and Medium-sized Enterprises (MSMEs) in the region.

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She also reiterated that the focus is on continuing to support the local business community and promoting the development of national capacities so that, in the near future, they will be an integral part of the value chain of the Mozambique LNG project in the country, operated by TotalEnergies.

What is your assessment of the Mozambique LNG project’s Local Content programmes?

Our assessment of the implementation of our local content programmes within the scope of the actions carried out to train and support local entrepreneurs is frankly positive. The aim is to ensure their continuity and strengthen their momentum. It is true, as you know, that we are in a situation of force majeure and, therefore, with the Mozambique LNG project’s operations at a standstill – and this brings limits and challenges to our action – but within these constraints, we have managed to bring a strong approach to local content.

The Mozambique LNG project’s Local Content Strategy is based on three pillars: the promotion of local employment, local procurement of goods and services and the development of local skills and capacities. Each of these encompasses a set of activities and initiatives developed and implemented in such a way as to optimise local content. It is also important to stress that our vision is aligned with the government’s Single Programme for this area.

In addition, I would like to stress that we are implementing our strategy not only with a focus on our Local Content programmes in the Oil & Gas (P&G) industry, but also in transversal sectors such as Construction, Agriculture, General Services, among others.

We want to help make the most of Mozambique’s competitive advantages by optimising the opportunities generated directly or indirectly by the Mozambique LNG Project.

Edna Simbine

You’ve listed the project’s various areas of intervention. I’d ask you for some other concrete examples of results achieved over the last few years…

Always within the framework of our Local Content Strategy, we have implemented initiatives centred on the development of skills and capacities for young people and MSMEs, through CapacitaMoz, a platform that essentially aims to host training initiatives related to Mozambican MSMEs, citizens and public institutions.

Of the different initiatives implemented, I would like to highlight four: the first concerns youth training and, in this context, two memoranda of understanding were signed with training institutes, aimed at the technical and professional training of young Mozambicans in Cabo Delgado, and the practical results are already being felt.

With the Alberto Cassimo Professional Training and Labour Studies Institute (IFPELAC), we have trained 489 young people to date, 196 of them women, and with the Industrial and Commercial Institute of Pemba (IICP), we have trained 195 young people in the first 12-month cycle, 133 of them women.

The second is related to supporting the capacity building of MSMEs: last year, in partnership with the National Institute for Standardisation and Quality (INNOQ), we implemented the ISO 9001 quality certification programme, which culminated in 14 companies in Cabo Delgado obtaining the certificate. In this context, we also promoted a business development programme to train Mozambican companies in the areas of Management, Finance, Human Resources, Marketing, Quality and Hygiene, Health and Safety at Work, followed by orientation and mentoring sessions.

The third initiative I’d like to highlight is our programme to assist entrepreneurs at community level. Here we support the formalisation and expansion of their businesses, providing assistance in setting up and training MSMEs, Cooperatives and Associations, with a focus on the north of Cabo Delgado province, in the Agriculture, Fishing, General Services, Construction, Transport and Logistics sectors.

Finally, we would like to highlight the opening of the Local Content One-Stop Shop last year, which aims to strengthen Cabo Delgado companies and their ecosystem. Its operationalisation in the city of Pemba aims to provide practical assistance to companies and individuals, support capacity-building programmes and identify the right public and private partners to support local MSMEs.

The area of training and skills creation, essentially among the young population of Cabo Delgado, is, as we know, one of the focal points of TotalEnergies’ work in the province. Why are you doing this and what is your strategy in this area?

Mozambique has a young demographic profile, with a substantial part of its population being made up of individuals under the age of 25. As a result, access to quality education and employment opportunities remains fundamental to sustainable development.

To contribute to access to education (and as mentioned above), the project has signed two memoranda of understanding, both aimed at improving the skills of young people in Cabo Delgado.

While we recognise that the emphasis on training young people was mostly directed at Cabo Delgado, we are also proud to have extended our support to promoting employment with internship programmes in the country and abroad, aimed at young people from different provinces.

As a result, for example, ten young Mozambican engineers were integrated into internship programmes abroad – six in Ghana and four in the United Arab Emirates – and 50 young people were placed on internship programmes in the country.

In addition, in a joint programme with the French Embassy in Mozambique, last year we awarded 27 scholarships to young Mozambicans to continue their higher education in that European country.

Moving on to the area of MSMEs, what work has been done to benefit Mozambican companies?

I’ve already mentioned some of the actions we’ve carried out, including the one that led to the certification of several Mozambican companies. In fact, we have developed significant initiatives that have mostly been geared towards capacity building and support for financing, with an emphasis on community content.

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By way of example, the project introduced a microfinance programme to assist in the creation and/or recovery of business projects in Cabo Delgado. This involved strengthening the capacity of MSMEs, Community Associations and Cooperatives through training and technical assistance and also the creation of a fund of grants and credits to support businesses, with a special focus on the districts of Palma and Mocímboa da Praia. All of this has resulted, among other actions, in the formalisation of entrepreneurial initiatives for 104 projects in different areas of activity.

In addition, an Entrepreneurial Development Programme is being implemented to train national companies in various areas. The programme includes guidance and mentoring sessions to improve daily activities and internal processes in order to improve the companies’ positioning in the market. Twenty-three MSMEs have successfully completed the training. A second group of 25 companies is currently undergoing training, out of a total of 100 to be worked with in the first phase.

Meanwhile, under the pillar of local procurement of goods and services, one of the main objectives is to promote the creation of joint ventures and partnerships between local companies and local and foreign companies, to foster technology transfer and capacity building within and outside the oil and gas industry.

To this end, we supported a business mission to France, thus establishing a link between Mozambican business associations and EVOLEN, a French business association in the energy sector.

With regard to this partnership with EVOLEN, what does the memorandum signed between this association and CTA advocate?

The interaction with EVOLEN was a good opportunity to establish the bridge I was talking about between Mozambican and foreign companies. That said, this is the first in a series of similar initiatives that we intend to implement in order to stimulate partnerships that can help strengthen national companies and maximise local content.

The memorandum of understanding signed between CTA and EVOLEN therefore aims to foster, facilitate and promote collaboration between economic agents and between Mozambican and French institutions. The agreement covers the exchange and sharing of scientific, technical and economic information, the establishment of partnerships in the industrial, technological and commercial fields and the encouragement of business opportunities and the development of the supply chain between French and Mozambican companies.

With the channels of communication already open and the co-operation agreement in place, the next steps involve the participation of companies affiliated to each association in bilateral and multilateral meetings, in order to assess the potential for forming partnerships, including in cross-cutting sectors. Our fundamental aim, through this and other partnerships to be developed, is to help strengthen the competitiveness of Mozambican companies and maximise Local Content. In fact, maximising this aspect is at the heart of our strategy. We want to help make full use of Mozambique’s competitive advantages by optimising the opportunities generated directly or indirectly by the Mozambique LNG Project.

BI – Edna Simbine

Edna Simbine is the Local Content Manager for TotalEnergies EP Mozambique Area 1 Limitada, operator of the Mozambique LNG project. Before taking on this role, she was the supervisor of Local Content contracting strategies.

With a master’s degree in Supply Chain Management and Logistics from the University of Warwick in Great Britain, she has extensive experience in Procurement, Inventory and Logistics strategies and management in the Mining sector.

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