Mozambique’s infrastructure revival to fuel investment surge – Lopes

Through infrastructure developments and natural resources, Mozambique is poised on the edge of a golden age of investment

April 12, 2016

World Finance speaks to Fernanda Lopes, managing partner at Fernanda Lopes and Associates, on Mozambique’s staggering economic revival, and the investment opportunities that exist for those prepared for its challenges.

World Finance: Mozambique’s economic revival has been staggering, and represents many investment opportunities for those prepared for its challenges. Joining me down the line is Fernanda Lopes, managing partner at Fernanda Lopes and Associates.

Fernanda, how does Mozambique’s economy stand today?

Fernanda Lopes: Well it’s not standing up very well – mostly because of lack of investment.

We are all aware of the international crisis. So the majority of the investors withheld their investment, due to the crisis. So we’re not doing very well – but we’re picking up.

The opportunities are very big in Mozambique, so between crisis and opportunity, investors are slowly coming back and starting investments in Mozambique.

World Finance: And in terms of investor opportunities, what sectors should investors be looking towards?

Fernanda Lopes: Natural resources of course; mining, and gas.

I would look as well at agriculture – there’s huge potential for agriculture in Mozambique. I would also look at us as a tourist destination. There’s a huge opportunity, as you’re aware: we’ve got almost 4,000km of coast and sea.

Some of the ports that are corridors to the country, in the south, middle, and north of the country. So I think that the country will pick up very soon, and the opportunities are there.

World Finance: So what should investors be aware of when they’re first approaching Mozambique?

Fernanda Lopes: I would say two points. One is energy: we have some problems with energy. We’re looking at new dams, in order to build more capacity. And infrastructure: roads, ports, railways, need developing in order to shift goods from one side to another.

But we’re doing well on that. In the north of Mozambique the new railway is operating. In the centre of Mozambique the Sena line is operating. In the south everything is okay. So, it’s a matter of time, of course. You don’t build infrastructure from one day to another.

World Finance: So finally, Mozambique is currently placed 133rd out of 189 on the 2016 World Bank Ease of Doing Business report. What are the challenges moving forwards, and how can they be overcome?

Fernanda Lopes: Well you know, our background from the colonial times is very bureaucratic. And I think that we should try to ease the bureaucratic procedures in order to speed up the incorporation of companies, and all that is necessary for the set-up of companies, and for companies to start operating.

There are several projects going on, as far as the removal of bureaucratic procedures is concerned. And I think that it won’t take long for us to go faster than we’re doing now, recalling that several years ago we were much slower than nowadays.