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His Excellency Filipe Jacinto Nyusi

MOZAMBIQUE - Diplomacy

Rising Tide

President, Republic of Mozambique

Bio

HE Filipe Jacinto Nyusi was born on February 9th, 1959, in the District of Mueda, Cabo Delgado Province. He is the fourth President of Mozambique, and has been in office since January 2015. Prior to this, from 2008-14, he served as Minister of Defence.

TBY talks to His Excellency Filipe Jacinto Nyusi, President of the Republic of Mozambique, on building a government, the recent historic gas discoveries, and supporting the traditional sectors of the economy.

What were your priorities when nominating the new government?

I have established a government that will meet the requirements of the country in a hands-on and pragmatic manner. It is a government with a structure that is as lean as possible, and one which focuses on solving the concrete problems faced by our people. It is a cost effective government oriented toward the reduction of unnecessary expenditure, and our public service and justice officials will be selected on the basis of merit and professionalism. I have said this many times, but I repeat here that my commitment is to serving the Mozambican people, and respecting and upholding the constitution and existing laws of Mozambique. We have demanded more efficiency and better quality from public institutions, and we want public officials to abide by the principles of impartiality, legality, and transparency in order to deliver better services to our citizens. The measure of our success in doing this is the satisfaction and welfare of the people. We are encouraging leaders who listen to other people even if they hold opposing views.

My Government is guided by the values of humanity, humility, honesty, integrity, transparency, and tolerance. We shall, without fear or favor, take action against acts of misconduct, corruption, favoritism, nepotism, and patronage committed by leaders, public servants, and officials at all echelons. We will not accept the breach of the social contract that has been assumed with our people. No one is above the law, and all are equal before it. These are the basic principles on which we will commit ourselves so that citizens always respect and trust the State.

How would you describe the importance of natural gas dicoveries for the future development of Mozambique?

Mozambique is a country endowed with ample natural resources, namely arable land, forests, and mineral and marine resources. The recent discovery of significant reserves of coal, natural gas, and heavy mineral sands places Mozambique on the international stage and has made it an obvious destination for investment. In my tenure I want to ensure that exploration, production, distribution, and industrialization activities are conducted in a responsible and transparent manner, contributing to the expansion, transformation, and modernization of the Mozambican economy.

What strategies are you employing to ensure that international investment in the mineral and oil and gas industries offers the maximum benefits possible to Mozambicans?

I shall strive to guarantee that Mozambicans are indeed the owners of these resources. We will do this by ensuring the increasing integration of local content and effective participation of Mozambicans in investment projects, particularly in the exploitation of natural resources. My government is acting as a strategic partner in building a broad-based and robust Mozambican enterpreneurial community. I want our state, and Mozambicans at large, to be the true owners of wealth and potential of our motherland.

Agriculture employs a major share of the Mozambican population. How will your government support this sector to create a more efficient and productive industry?

We are fostering enhanced public and private investment in agriculture, fisheries, and livestock. Particular attention is paid to family smallholders who sustain the majority of the Mozambican population. We wilI pursue incentive policies for small farmers to enable them to increase agricultural production and productivity, and to bring them into the mainstream market. We are focusing on the industrialization of our agricultural sector, and the results achieved so far are quite encouraging, with remarkable examples in crops such as cotton, sugar cane, cashew nut, tobacco, and soy beans. Mozambique possesses all necessary conditions for becoming an agricultural powerhouse in the region, and all that is needed to develop a vibrant textile, food, and beverage industry. We are intensifying production and access to food by citizens in order to ensure nutritional security. Decent food should not be the privilege of a few. It is a basic human right that should benefit all Mozambicans. Examples of our activities in this area can be seen in our successful bolstering of the maize, cassava, beans, sweet potato, and peanut crops, and we will ensure surplus in rice, vegetables, Irish potatoes, poultry, and red meats. We will have to utilize our existing human resources, including the graduates coming from our universities, with a view to promoting nutritional education throughout the nation’s communities. We cannot allow chronic malnutrition to prevail alongside food abundance as is the case in some regions of our country.

What are your strategies to incentivize job creation and entrepreneurship in the country?

We are building a country that focuses on the training and development of human capital, the principle national asset. We shall promote new job creation for those of higher level, intermediate, and basic level qualifications. With the advent of the exploitation of natural resources, new activities and demands have arisen, and we have been following these closely to respond to the new requirements of the economy and society. However, we will remain focused on traditional sectors such as agriculture, fisheries, agri-business, transport, tourism, and services, as these have greater potential for the generation of employment. Together with my government we will work with determination to improve the living standards of the Mozambican people, by increasing jobs, productivity and competitiveness, and by creating wealth, in order to achieve inclusive development. For these objectives to materialize it is critical that we all commit ourselves to consolidating the rule of law, good governance practices, and decentralization. We want Mozambique to remain a reference for the rest of the world in boasting high growth rates that are beneficial and positive in the long term. This growth needs to be maintained and valued. We are aware that the welfare of ordinary citizens cannot only be gauged by macro-economic indicators. For this reason, despite the results achieved so far, a number of segments of our people in rural, peri-urban, and urban areas are still living in poverty.

This issue is a priority which we need to address, and we believe that the economic growth we are pursuing should have a direct impact on the improvement of the living standards of the people by contributing to the reduction of social inequalities and the generation of new jobs.

Health and education are key to maintaining strong economic growth throughout the years. What will be your government’s contributions to this field?

We are continuing to build the state’s financial base so we can invest further in the improvement of the quality of education. Since education is crucial for the development of every nation, we will spare no effort in the training of Mozambicans to take up the challenges of national development. No matter how well-intentioned our international cooperating partners may be, Mozambicans are the ones that will have to develop the country. For this reason there is no doubt about the importance of investing in education, science, technology, and innovation. We will continue expanding the school network to reduce the distance from home to school, and will make sure that our schools are properly equipped with furniture, libraries, and laboratories. We will also improve working facilities and living standards for teachers. For this new job creation to be sustainable, my government envisages the strengthening of technical and vocational training institutions in its Five Year Programme (2015-2019) and Annual Plan for 2015, and is also establishing public private partnerships for the promotion of professional internships and creating links between major projects and SMEs. Mozambique still faces challenges in fighting diseases such as malaria, HIV, and AIDS, and other ailments that are major causes of mortality, particularly infant-maternal mortality. We are proceeding with the construction of more health facilities that are equipped with adequate technical diagnosis and treatment resources. We are also investing in the training of medical personnel and other competent and motivated health practitioners to provide care to our people with humanity. We have mainly focused our attention on preventive and health awareness measures so that the communities adopt the practices and procedures recommended by health institutions.

What legacy would you like to leave in Mozambique?

I was greatly honored and humbled to assume office as the fourth President of the Republic of Mozambique. I will devote all my energy to defending, promoting, and consolidating the national unity, human rights, democracy, and welfare of the Mozambican people. I want to leave a better country, with healthier, better educated, and better-fed citizens, as well as improved domestic and external connections and more entrepreneurs. I am confident that together we will create a brighter future for our children and grandchildren.

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