Mozambique emerges as the latest African rising star on investors horizons as an Anadarko Petroleum consortium discovered a huge liquified natural gas (LNG) reserve in deep water off the coast of Mozambique and the subsequent investment boom is expected to transform the country into a gas supplier to the world. The size of the discovery is significant, as is its proximity to large markets in Asia.
“This could be one of the most important natural gas fields discovered in the last 10 years, with significant long-term benefits for Mozambique,” said Jim Hackett, Anadarko chairman and CEO, in a recent statement. “In parallel, we’ve continued to advance an expandable LNG development that will support this world-class field. This is great news for Mozambique, as our ongoing activities will continue to spur meaningful investment in the region, generate significant revenue for the government and offer a multitude of opportunities for the people of Mozambique.”
According to the Word Bank in a September 2019 article: “It [Mozambique] is endowed with ample arable land, water, energy, as well as mineral resources and newly discovered natural gas offshore; three, deep seaports; and a relatively large potential pool of labour. It is also strategically located; four of the six countries it borders are landlocked, and hence dependent on Mozambique as a conduit to global markets. Mozambique’s strong ties to the region’s economic engine, South Africa, underscore the importance of its economic, political, and social development to the stability and growth of Southern Africa as a whole.”
After a 16 year civil war, Mozambique declared its independence from Portugal in 1975, ending colonial rule, although peace was only established in 1992 and its economic recovery has been slow. However, the recent discovery of enormous natural gas fields has rocketed Mozambique’s economic growth prospects and raised a great deal of investor interest in this market . Soaring investments to tap into the country’s vast natural gas reserves should also lend support to overall economic growth and activity as the filter-down effect of this investment is felt in other sectors and the income of average Mozambiquans. The country was battered by severe tropical storms and flooding in low lying regions in early 2019, and recovery from the devastation has hampered development.
Mozambique has a moderate tropical climate, beautiful beaches and coral reefs, great food and a lively, colourful culture to discover.
- Capital: Maputo
- Climate: Warm to hot, and frequently humid on the coast, and cooler inland. Dry season April – September, rainy season October – March.
- Type of Government: Presidential Republic
- President: Filipe Nyusi
- Currency: Metical (MZN/Mt)
- Dialing Code: +258
- Time: GMT + 2
- Weights and Measurements: Metric System
- Languages: Portuguese is the official language
- Note: endemic malaria
Living in Mozambique:
Most expatriates tend to live in the capital Maputo. It remains to be seen where expatriates associated with the LNG projects located in the north east, will be situated. The north east of the country is comparatively underdeveloped, and doesn’t offer much by way of expatriate housing and schooling. The likelihood is that housing compounds will be developed, and assignees will work on rotational assignments, with families based in Maputo or remaining in their home location.
- Housing - Housing in Maputo is relatively expensive. Prices vary somewhat from area-to-area. The demand for property in the city is high, particularly in the older, more central areas of Polana and Sommerschield where the supply is limited. Other areas such as Triunfo and Sommerschield II, where most of the newer housing developments have been built, are located in the outskirts of the city.
- Safety and Security – It is recommended that expatriates live in gated communities or secure apartment complexes where possible, as these provide better security than free standing homes. Available homes in gated communities are limited, however and expats often end up in free-standing properties. A free-standing house will often have a private security guard, who will monitor the residence 24 hours a day. There has been rapid urbanization in Maputo, and since much of the city’s population is poor, opportunistic crime does exist.
- Schooling – There are a number of international schools available for expatriate children in Maputo – the most popular of which include the American International School of Mozambique and Maputo International School. However, the demand for places in these schools currently considerably exceeds supply, so it is advised to apply as early as possible.
- Driving and Transportation - Public transport in Maputo is very limited and traffic levels relatively high (particularly in the Central Business District). Expatriates will need cars for both themselves and their spouses.
- Visa and Immigration – The Mozambican work permit process is notoriously lengthy and can be difficult, so expatriates are advised to start the process as early as possible.
- Although Maputo is a relatively small city, traffic congestion is problematic. Getting around can take time, especially when heading out to the areas of Sommerschield II and Triunfo. An orientation with 2-3 typical properties can be covered in 1 Day, but we would not recommend less time than this.
- Good quality expat housing is available, and it generally takes between 1-3 days to settle on a suitable property as long as criteria are aligned with market realities.
- Owners prefer not to show their properties over weekends, and therefore it is better to schedule a Home Search programme during the week.
- Pre-assignment visits are highly recommended to assist assignees in making informed choices.
- Cultural training and settling-in support assists expatriates and their families in developing an understanding, tolerance and open mindedness of how things work, how culture impacts on both daily living and the workplace. This can avoid frustrations, disconnects and alienating locals. Portuguese language competence is a definite advantage.
- Facilitate quick turnaround of lease signature and initial payments (first month’s rent and security deposit) – landlords will not permit occupation without payment.
- Take advantage of pre-assignment look-see visits to gain a better understanding of lifestyle, housing, schooling options and security issues.
- Be informed, but open minded – a great deal of information on websites can be misleading and alarmist, particularly regarding security.
- A sense of humour and a tolerant attitude are great assets. Things do not always come together as planned, but they do come together.
- Public transport in Maputo is very limited and traffic levels relatively high (particularly in the Central Business District). Expatriates will require at least one and possibly two cars if relocating with a family.
- Private medical care in Maputo is adequate for most illnesses or conditions. For surgery or more complex medical problems, expatriates are advised to travel to South Africa. Comprehensive healthcare insurance is essential, and ensure cover for evacuation to Johannesburg is included, should any serious medical condition or emergency occur.
- Maputo is relatively safe when compared to cities in other developing countries. However, safety precautions should be taken as in any city, particularly those with high levels of income inequality such as Maputo.
Intouch Relocations offers a full range of relocation solutions in Mozambique and we welcome any inquiries sent to firstname.lastname@example.org