RBG Africa Logistics
News or Research Reports
Trading of Mozambique and its Hinterland
Though one of Africa’s poorest nations, Mozambique’s annual growth rate averaged 7% over the past decade. In 2015, real GDP slowed to 6.2% due to a fall in commodity prices as well as floods in the north of the country and droughts in the south. GDP fell to 3.1% in 2017, due to an economic crisis after the discovery in 2016 of $2 billion in government-backed loans made to three state-owned defense and security companies without parliamentary approval and notification to the IMF. Economic growth is projected to be below 4% in 2018 but gradually rise to 8% over the next decade. GDP growth has traditionally been driven by the agriculture, construction, and financial sectors, while growth in the next decade is expected to be driven by the oil and gas industry due to the discovery of vast natural gas deposits.
Basic Economic Statistics:
Total Population in 2018: 30 million
Real GDP Growth in 2017: 3.1%
Nominal GDP in 2016: USD11.00 billion
GDP per capita in 2016: USD382
Total Exports in 2014: USD4.73 billion
Total Imports in 2014: USD8.74 billion
Total Imports from U.S. in 2016: USD147 million
Exchange rate (June 2018): MZN 59 equal USD 1
Average Inflation Rate (May 2018): 3.26%
Commercial Bank Prime lending rate (June 2018): 22.50%
During the second half of 2016 the metical depreciated sharply, though it has since established. The devaluation of the metical caused higher than expected inflation and forced the Mozambican Central Bank to impose harsh foreign currency control measures. Borrowers in local currency face interest rates of up to 30%, which hinders entrepreneurship and business development, although such rates are beginning to decline slowly. To cover the government account deficit, the Government of Mozambique requested a USD283 million loan from the IMF, but this loan was put on hold due to the government’s lack of transparency in its public debt portfolio. The IMF has maintained a technical assistance mission in Maputo, which consults frequently with the Mozambican government, but has declined to offer either a funded or unfunded program until such time as the Mozambican government institutes reforms in public financial management and provides additional details on the use of the $2 billion in government-backed commercial loans made to state owned companies.
The Government of Mozambique encourages foreign direct investment (FDI). Currently, FDI is largely in infrastructure and the extraction of minerals, including graphite, coal, and gemstones. FDI investment slowed dramatically since 2015, largely due to the economic crisis, a drop in commodity prices, especially coal and aluminum, and slow negotiations in the development of hydrocarbon projects.
South Africa and Portugal are Mozambique’s largest trading partners. Brazil, China, India, and Japan have established projects in Mozambique and are increasing their investments. The largest bilateral donor of development assistance is the United States, which until recently was not a major trade partner. However, U.S. involvement in the oil and gas sector will create significant demand for U.S. exports in that sector, as well as others, and the U.S. is likely to become the largest investor in Mozambique in the next decade.
Several mega projects will be the key drivers for the Mozambican economy in the next five years and will provide both direct and indirect business opportunities. The most significant opportunities are the construction of separate onshore Liquefied Natural Gas (LNG) plants by separate consortia led by Anadarko and Exxon-Mobil valued at USD25-30 billion and over $20 billion, respectively. Exploration activities by Exxon-Mobil, Rosneft, ENI, Sasol, and others will provide further opportunities in the oil and gas sector. The development of the Nacala Logistics Corridor, comprising multiple industrial projects and a transportation corridor valued in the billions of dollars, offers additional opportunities. The corridor will serve as the logistics backbone for the north of the country, providing services both for the off-shore development of the country’s hydrocarbon deposits (most of which are found in the northern region)and the development of the northern region’s potentially lucrative inland agricultural and mining sectors