By Alexandre Nhampossa
The Governments of Mozambique and Kenya are willing to create conditions to boost business relations and have therefore decided to remove visas, including for ordinary passports, and are reflecting on the possibility of eliminating double taxation.Mozambican President Filipe Nyusi made the announcement recently while taking stock of a four day visit and participation at the International Conference on the Blue economy in Nairobi, Kenya.
According to Nyusi, Kenya’s President Uhuru Kenyatta announced at the Mozambique-Kenya Business Forum on 21 May that in order to further strengthen the contact between the two countries, not only from a diplomatic but also a commercial point of view, his country will open a consulate in Maputo in the first quarter of 2019.
During the visit, the two Heads of State reaffirmed that their Governments will continue to create the necessary conditions to encourage investment for a favorable business environment and for the promotion of stability in their countries.
For now, Kenya is considering importing gas and coal from Mozambique to support mainly its energy production industry.Kenya has a huge energy deficit and seeks to put in place various initiatives for its production, ranging from the use of renewable materials to fossils, such as coal. Despite criticism from environmental groups, the country is engaged in the construction of the Lamu Power Plant, a megaproject for the production of coal-fired power, to be installed in the north of the Kenyan coast.
In the face of this situation, Kenyatta announced at the joint conference with the Mozambican Head of State, Filipe Nyusi, held on March 23, that negotiations are underway between the governments of the two countries for an agreement that will ease the purchase of coal and liquefied gas by Kenya.
Mozambican mineral coal has already reached Kenya through exports, which are still small – around 30,000 tons – of the Mozambican Mining Company, SA (EMEM SA). Exports of 70,000 tons / month are expected for 2019,said EMEM chairman Celestino Pedro Sitoe , who was also part of the Mozambican delegation.
Mozambique is also placing at the disposal of Kenya the refined sugar to be produced in the south of the country in a factory to be inaugurated by the head of state on November 29.This means that, from 2019, Mozambique will stop importing this product to supply the domestic market.
Kenyatta said there is still much to explore between the two countries. In 2017 imports from Kenya from Mozambique reached approximately $ 31 million. And exports from Kenya to Mozambique were about $ 12 million.
At the business forum between the two countries, presenting the favorable economic indicators, as well as the potential of the resources – land for agriculture, gas, coal, graphite and tourism – that Mozambique possesses, President Nyusi challenged Kenyan entrepreneurs to seize opportunities and to invest in Mozambique.
Making use of the popular saying “The sleeping shrimp, the wave takes”, Nyusi said: “Let’s not sleep, we Mozambicans, we Kenyans, we Africans, otherwise others will take these opportunities and then we will regret.”
Nyusi’s visit to Kenya was a return to that made in March of this year by Kenyatta to Mozambique. During his stay in Kenya, Nyusi visited several production facilities and went to Mombasa, where, in addition to visiting the local port, one of the most important on the east coast of Africa, he met with the Mozambican community based in that country.
An important population group with origins in Mozambique has been installed in Kenya for several decades, with local authorities eventually recognizing it as the 43rd ethnic group in the country and named Makonde.