Mozambique: Debt solution involves more production, exports – president

The president of Mozambique, Filipe Nyusi, has said that the best way to combat public debt is through financial discipline, increased production and exports and incentives for the private sector.

Asked about how Mozambique faces the challenge of public debt during a debate at the annual meetings of the African Development Bank (AfDB), Nyusi recalled that the debt is just one of the challenges of his country, as well as being a challenge common to the whole of Africa.

The Mozambican head of state recalled other challenges, such as cyclone Idai, the biggest recorded in the whole of Africa, Covid-19, which “slowed development,” and terrorism, which “is destroying a part of the country,” as well as the energy transition.

On debt, he said that “the best way to combat debt is not to take on too much debt” and, when necessary, to take it on rationally.

“A country does not take on a lot of debt when it increases production, or when it increases exports and imports less. It does not contract debt when it has financial discipline, greater transparency,” he said.

Stressing that Mozambique “embarked on this battle,” Nyusi explained, “We lived for some time at our own expense and the solution was always more production, especially in traditional areas,” such as agriculture and fisheries, but also in transport, by improving infrastructures such as roads, railway lines and ports.

“That makes the country more revenue and reduces debt. Financial discipline, more production and incentives for productive areas – the private sector. These investments alone will help that not too much debt is incurred,” he stressed.

Questioned at the same event about the AfDB’s position that the energy transition in Africa cannot exclude natural gas, the Mozambican President said that “the AfDB’s position summarises the feelings of its members,” among which is Mozambique.

He said the world should give Africa a chance because this “is the moment when Africa can discover its resources”.

“In Mozambique, we have coal – lots of coal and quality coal, we have the gas that is said to be in huge quantities, but we also have the soil, we have the winds and the sea, in addition to the rivers – of the 15 basins in Southern Africa, nine flow through Mozambique. Africa has to be given the opportunity to emerge because if we don’t give it a chance when others have had it, we will be blocking development.

The Mozambican president also said that “it is not all about gas”: “Who is polluting the world? My country does not even account for 2% of the pollution, but it is a victim of those who pollute”.

Filipe Nyusi is currently on a state visit to Ghana, which coincided with the annual meetings of the AfDB, taking place in Accra until Friday.

The Mozambican president attended the opening ceremony of the meetings on Tuesday and was one of the speakers at the debate that followed, in which also participated the president of Ghana, Nana Addo Dankwa Akufo-Addo, the president of Tanzania, Samia Suluhu Hassan, the vice-president of Ivory Coast, Tiémoko Meyliet Kone, the prime minister of Rwanda, Édouard Ngirente, by videoconference, and the president of Comoros, Azali Assoumani.