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‘Mozambique will be the model for Africa’

Interview - July 8, 2013
Intelec Holding is one of the top companies in Mozambique and is strongly involved in the energy and mining sector. Its chairman, Salimo Abdula, speaks to Worldfolio about the direction in which the country is heading following the discovery of abundance of mineral resources that are set to bring the country to new heights. To take advantage of this mineral wealth, Abdula says development of human capital will be the key and is urging foreign investors to come and “invest in the development of Mozambican partnerships.”
What is your opinion about the current direction in which the Mozambican economy is heading and how will the energy sector fit into the new developing model that is being consolidated?

We are still at the beginning of the process; it is a very important road because the mineral resources boom is recent. Mozambique was caught by surprise with this news and does not yet have the organization and human resources to lead this boom efficiently.
The country is aware that this potential will not be enjoyed tomorrow; it will require a lot of planning and organization to improve ourselves, starting with the formation of human resources. We are a young country, not only in terms of the age of the country, but rather in terms of the age of the population (more than 50% of the population are 20 years old or younger), and the adult society has a big responsibility to prepare this generation to lead, sustainably, in the future.
The fact is that Mozambique is in a delicate situation: it recently changed from a centralized economy to a market economy and found itself in a moment in which the world is very attentive to the way public affairs are handled. 
Mozambique is diversifying its economy and not depending only on oil and gas (without which we grow at around 8%). We need the Mozambican product to have value added, in order feed employment, the transfer of technology and the creation of auto-sustainability.
The largest consumers of our resources will be China and India, and they will also be the largest financers, but the ones who can bring technology and leverage partnerships with Mozambicans are the European countries, because they know Mozambique better and have very old bonds. They will need to be innovative and to have a win-win spirit rather than a supremacy one; in the medium and long term, they have to invest in the development of Mozambican partnerships.
What message should the country transmit to foreign investors?

Come to Mozambique to invest in value added stages of the supply chain. If come to explore and leave, they will continue to be welcomed but not so much so. Companies should come to invest and transfer technologies, to contribute to employ and become a national company which will use the references to export to other markets.
Mozambique will be the model for Africa, because it is not located in a single block. It does not only work with a single country; Mozambique has opened itself toward a mix of investments and has a complete relationship with the world.