Mozambique is primed to become an important player in the world of LNG production. With the pandemic having a negative impact on the global oil and gas industry, the Government, the private sector, and development institutions need to double down on their already proven ability to resolve and expand existing efforts to safeguard economies and livelihoods across the country.
Mozambique has caught the eye of investors from all areas around the globe and, unsurprisingly, of the biggest companies on the planet, with everyone hoping to reap a piece of the pie and explore this massive potential. The growing influx of foreigners in Mozambique due to increased investment is expected in the long term, despite the unexpected break caused by the Covid-19 pandemic.
Those who had the vision to make the trip years ago and invest in the country will probably tell you that it is “Maningue nice” to live here. Quite often one hears of someone who came for a 6-month assignment but ended up staying here for years, sometimes decades. However, it isn’t always easy to adapt and learn the charm of the Mozambican way of life, in particular for those who can’t handle the disparity of living in a thriving economy of an impoverished sub-Saharan country.
Whoever lands in Maputo to settle in the city for a year or more is faced with a reality that can prove to be difficult to navigate without proper guidance. Learning how to move about in the city, find a house, choose the right school for your children and adapting to a new culture are some of the processes that the growing number of expat families have to deal with. A puzzle that will be much easier to solve with the support of specialized assistance.
After surviving a brutal civil war 28 years ago, one would be a fool not to expect that the country is still considerably short of local qualified staff. Keen and focused on changing this status-quo, the Mozambican Government has nevertheless imposed restrictions on the number of foreigners that companies may hire to work in the country with the intention of tackling perhaps the biggest obstacle that it faces: a young, poor and vastly unemployed population in dire need of jobs and training. In contrast, money is being invested and projects of all sizes and shapes are growing in the country, in particular in the provinces of Maputo, Sofala, Nampula, Tete, Niassa and Cabo Delgado.
Expats represent a considerable cost for their companies, so their successful mobilization is a critical tool for their immediate productivity in the company. Many people have mixed feelings and wrong perceptions about moving to Mozambique. Violence, poor health care, lack of good schools and broken or inexistent infrastructure are the main concerns. To some extent, they have sound reasons to be worried – until they arrive and find a generally peaceful country, a warm culture and a wonderful quality of life. Even so, there are many cultural barriers – the values, customs, communication styles, the way you deal with hierarchy, to name a few. Timing is different, the warmth and closeness of the beach gives a feeling of almost being on a holiday, but in fact, work can be hard and intensive, especially if you do not take the time to build intercultural awareness to work in multicultural teams.
Medical care has also improved immensely as a result of a substantial effort from the Mozambican Government and the humanitarian and financial assistance of some donor countries. Maputo offers a variety of private healthcare options, including private hospitals and several clinics, while neighboring South Africa has top quality private hospitals and clinics to deal with the most difficult situations.
Mozambique, mainly Maputo also has a few international schools, with different curriculums, such as the Portuguese, French, IB and Cambridge Curriculums.
All foreign nationals are required to obtain a Residential Permit and those who’ve been hired to work in the country also need to apply for a Work Permit with the Labor Authorities. With the right guidance and preparation, all these time-consuming processes can be easily dealt with. Having set aside the red tape of bureaucracy of those permits, you’ll have time to work and enjoy the trendy restaurants, bars and nightclubs, shopping malls, supermarkets, cultural venues, beautiful secluded beaches and animal parks during your time off.
A word of advice to assist in the decision to relocate and ease the integration of expats and their families would be to take the time to know the rich history, customs and tradition of the country, the icons, values and local culture, and the excessive cost of living conditions. The sooner these obstacles are overcome – i.e.- health, education, housing, local laws and required permits – the sooner the assignee will be able to perform the duties that she or he was hired for.
Bringing on board the services of a professional team with extensive experience in the provision of relocation services in Mozambique may be the key to attract in-house or headhunted talent, qualified staff for the project and the swift transition and adjustment of its expats. More importantly, it effectively entails a competitive advantage of the companies who offer these services to their prospective employees.
Moving to Mozambique can then become an easy and pleasant surprise.