One of the biggest debates in the African pharmaceutical industry is the same as in the wider health sector – who should pay for medication and care: patients, the state or even employers?
Mozambique’s quest for economic glory has been brought closer to reality by the opening up of massive gas and coal deposits in the country. In a sudden turn of economic events, the southeast African country stands to score massively from rich newly identified coal and gas deposits, and droves of investors have arrived to claim a stake. Report by Tom Nevin.
The 1,500 km rail line to Walvis Bay would cost $11bn to develop and would also require the construction of a new $4bn coal terminal at the port, as the existing coal facility would be unable to cope with the volume of expected coal exports.
The Japanese International Cooperation Agency (JICA) has agreed to provide an $84m loan and $31.5m grant to build and equip a new container terminal at the port of Nacala in Mozambique.
According to the government’s new gas master plan, the industry should eventually generate $6-8bn a year for the state, far more than Maputo’s entire budget for 2012.
Tanzania and Mozambique already have combined reserves of 110 tcf (trillion cubic feet) and so could easily become one of the world’s big three centres of production. Nigeria took about 12 years to achieve LNG (liquefied natural gas) production capacity of 25m tonnes year. As a result, expectations of first gas by 2018 from East Afica are optimistic.
Mozambique has one of the smallest banking sectors for a country of its size on the African continent. Yet the growing number of banks operating in the country, steady increases in the size of retail networks and the focus on grassroots banking all suggest that the market is set for substantial growth over the next few years.
It may be a long time before Mozambican financial institution feature in the upper echelons of African Business’s survey of the Top 250 banks in Africa but they will surely play an important role in ensuring that the benefits of the country’s burgeoning export industries help to drive wider economic development.
Sometimes it is difficult to believe how far Mozambique has come. Infrastructure of all kinds needs rehabilitation but Maputo has made giant steps in the right direction since the end of the civil war in 1992. With a sound economic base, huge gas and coal discoveries have been made that should guarantee sustained progress for at least another generation. Neil Ford provides an overview of the country’s economic structure.
Now in his second term, Frelimo candidate Armando Guebuza won the 2009 presidential election by a landslide. Guebuza joined Frelimo in 1963, at the age of 20 and distinguished himself a general in the battle for independence against Portugal. After independence, he served in various high-level positions during both the Samora Machel and Joachim Chissano administrations. He became a successful businessman before winning the Presidential election for the first time in 2004. African Business editor Anver Versi interviewed President Guebuza during his recent visit to London.