Distinguished Minister Terzi,
Distinguished Minister Baloi,
Directors Belloni and Magliano,
Bom dia e bem-vindo para a Itália,
First of all, I would like to thank the Ministry of Foreign Affairs for having organized and hosted this Country Presentation and for continuing to support these important initiatives.
It is a great pleasure for us to be here today, participating in the presentation of a key country for the development of the African continent and a priority for the Italian foreign policy.
This event is particularly special because it coincides with the twentieth anniversary of the Rome General Peace Agreement (4October 1992), an historical milestone achieved through a fundamental support from the Italian Diplomacy.
From the end of the civil war, Mozambique has experienced a period of political and economic stability, which led to growth rates among the highest throughout the African continent. The huge amount of natural resources available, accompanied by market reforms, allowed the establishment of a favorable environment for foreign direct investments.
Among the sectors that propelled the Mozambican economy, agriculture, fishery, tourism, transportation, energy, and manufacturing have played a driving role. Although it was supported by large scale industrial projects, the expansion of the local economy has registered an increase in domestic demand and the growth of local companies.
UNIDO has started developing its activities in the country since 1980, implementing nearly 100 projects over the years and as of today most of them are concluded, for a total of about USD 23 million. During the ‘80s and ‘90s, the technical cooperation enacted by UNIDO was mainly based on individual projects through training activities for human resources and the promotion of small scale industry.
In 1999, UNIDO changed its approach introducing the first Development Program known as “Development Program to Facilitate Private Sector Development in Mozambique.” This program involves an integrated approach to local economy development, and is focused on supporting small and medium enterprises, as well as industrial value chains present throughout the country. This strategy has turned Mozambique into a model for the development of similar projects throughout the African continent.
With an eye to reducing poverty through productive activities, UNIDO currently has 16 ongoing projects in Mozambique, amounting in an investment of over EUR 11 million. These projects concern issues related to the development of entrepreneurship, with particular attention to women, as well as the reduction of environmental impacts and the development of renewable energies.
UNIDO ITPO Italy, for its part, has implemented a program called Platform for the Development of the Private Sector in Senegal and Mozambique, funded by the Italian Cooperation, with the aim of supporting local entrepreneurship. In this particular context, we supported the growth of small and medium enterprises, through a dialogue that involved both Italian and Mozambican public and private stakeholders.
We have also developed a series of initiatives, such as capacity building activities, company visits, study tours and, more importantly, the implementation of two “Delegate Programs,” involving representatives of Mozambique’s local institutions, such as IPEME and CPI, which deal with local investment promotion.
Thanks to this program, ITPO hosts within its premises the representatives of developing countries, identified among officers belonging to local institutions, in order to support promotional activities for their countries of origin.
During their stay in Italy, the delegates become familiar with the tools and strategies of UNIDO, they establish direct contacts with Italian entrepreneurs, and improve their knowledge about technologies and best practices offered by the Italian industry.
Once back to their countries of origin, the delegates represent an important link with our office and a valuable connection between Italy and their countries’ economic systems. For this reason, I am particularly pleased to see here today Mr. Gil da Conceição Bires of the CPI, who took part in our Delegate Programme last year.
Mr. Bires still represents an important reference point for our activities on field. Thanks also to his support, we concluded a Memorandum on Fishing, recently signed in Mazara del Vallo between the Institute for Marine Coastal Environment of the National Research Council and the Mozambican Fisheries Research Institute.
This July, the Memorandum turned into a Cooperation Agreement, through which the two institutes committed themselves to the development of joint scientific activities. As a first result, a field mission is expected to take place in November, starting from the North of the country (Cape Delgado) and ending in Maputo.
Finally, I would like to conclude by personally thanking Her Excellency the Ambassador Ms. Carla Mucavi for being always available to cooperate with us. I also would like to express our gratitude to the Ministry of Foreign Affairs for its integrated internationalization activities, while coordinating the efforts of existing institutions and directly involving companies in the development cooperation policies.
Developing countries have huge developing potentials and hold unlocked investment opportunities. Italian companies have to take advantage of these opportunities, by fitting themselves into the local economic context and becoming part of the emerging economies.
As I have pointed out before, this does not turn into enterprise delocalization, but into the establishment of an increasingly close relationship between entrepreneurs coming from different economic contexts, generating new investment opportunities and propelling sustainable development.