The Business Year

E Pham Binh Minh

MOZAMBIQUE - Diplomacy

Fertile Relations

Deputy Prime Minister, Foreign Affairs of Vietnam

Bio

Pham Binh Minh was appointed Deputy Prime Minister and Minister of Foreign Affairs at the 6th session of the 13th National Assembly in November 2013. Among the numerous positions held over the course of his prestigious ministerial and diplomatic career he has held the office of Minister and Deputy Chief of Mission at the Embassy of Vietnam in the US. He has a Master’s degree in International Law and Diplomacy.

TBY talks to HE Pham Binh Minh, Deputy Prime Minister and Minister of Foreign Affairs of Vietnam on the broad strategic cooperation enjoyed by the two countries, and the scope for further investment.

How would you describe the evolution of economic ties between Vietnam and Mozambique?

On 26 May 2015, Vietnam and Mozambique celebrate the 40th anniversary of diplomatic relations. We will also share the joy of commemorating the 40th anniversary of Mozambique’s Independence and 40 years of Vietnam’s national reunification. Looking back at our journey over the past 40 years, we have witnessed rapid developments in our bilateral relations in almost all areas, from trade, investment, and agriculture to culture, education, science, and technology. The two countries have established a sustainable cooperation framework through the signing and implementation of various agreements.

In its cooperation with Mozambique, agriculture plays a significant role. What programs will you be supporting in this sector?

Agricultural cooperation projects at a governmental level, between provinces and following the 2+1 model, have brought about tangible benefits and transformed lives in many Mozambican rural areas. In agriculture, Vietnam is keen to cooperate and share experience with Mozambique in the latter’s Food Security Strategy. In recent years, Vietnam has sent hundreds of agricultural experts to many Mozambican provinces. We have also hosted Mozambican agricultural experts, technicians, and students in Vietnam for visits or study tours. In the years to come, the two countries will continue to implement the “Cooperation of Research and Development of Food and Foodstuff Crops in Mozambique” project signed in 2013 and aimed at improving capacity in R&D regarding food and crops, developing production models for sustainable and high-productivity rice and crops in some areas of Mozambique, and training human resources.

In the field of telecommunications, Movitel is a successful Vietnamese joint venture in Mozambique. What is the significance of this investment for the socioeconomic development of Mozambique?

This joint venture between Viettel and the SPI Mozambique is a bright light in bilateral investment relations. With 4 million subscribers, Movitel, the second largest mobile network in Mozambique has already covered 85% of the population, making significant contributions to the development of IT infrastructure. It has narrowed the gap between rural and urban areas and promoted the socioeconomic development of Mozambique. By upholding a development philosophy of associating business with social responsibility, Movitel has made active contributions to Mozambique’s education by providing free internet for 2,500 schools. Movitel is also involved in e-government projects to enhance citizen access to public administrative services.

In 2014, Mozambique and Vietnam renewed the Protocol on education. What are its key points?

Education is a traditional area of cooperation between Vietnam and Mozambique. From 1980 to 1990, together with medical and agricultural experts, Vietnam sent hundreds of educational professionals to Mozambique, and they were well received. After many years living and working in Mozambique, many today consider it to be their second home. Besides, the two sides have paid due attention to tertiary education. During the visit to Vietnam by the Minister of Education of Mozambique Augusto Jone Luí­s, the two countries signed a new Protocol on cooperation in education (June 2014). Accordingly, since 2014, Vietnam and Mozambique have increased scholarships for students of both countries.

How would you describe the business climate in Mozambique for Vietnamese investors?

Over the past 10 years, Mozambique has been successful in reforming its economy. As a result, it has become one of the fastest growing economies in Africa. Ongoing government commitments such as improving the legal framework for investment and taxes and applying information technologies in customs and administrative procedures have turned Mozambique into an attractive destination for foreign investors, including those from Vietnam. Meanwhile, Mozambique’s seaport system is a gateway for trading companies to penetrate major land-locked markets in the region such as Zambia and Zimbabwe.

Besides telecommunications, agriculture, and education, which economic sectors hold the greatest potential for commercial relations between Mozambique and Vietnam?

In addition to telecommunications, healthcare, agriculture, and education, both countries have huge potential, and we need to increase cooperation in trade, investment, sea shipping, construction, science, and technology. These are the areas on which ministries and agencies from both sides agreed for the cooperation roadmap at the 3rd Meeting of the Inter-governmental Committee in Hanoi last June. Besides bilateral trade, both countries should strive to become a gateway for the other to access and penetrate different markets in the South African Development Community (SADC) and ASEAN. Our bilateral relations are built on solidarity and mutual support. I am convinced that the friendship and multifaceted cooperation between Vietnam and Mozambique will continue to blossom, bringing more tangible benefits to and meeting the expectations of the two peoples.

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