Mozambique and Italy in Maputo signed an agreement of general principles to strengthen bilateral cooperation on Tuesday, as part of a working visit that the Italian head of state, Sergio Mattarella, is making to the African country.
“It is a broad working instrument that will allow us to cooperate as two countries,” Mozambique’s president, Filipe Nyusi, told the media moments after receiving his Italian counterpart at the Presidency in Maputo.
The agreement, called the Multi-Year Indicative Plan, will cover the period between 2022 and 2026, with the emphasis on strengthening cooperation between the two countries in energy, agriculture, industry, and culture. “It is an agreement for the development of Mozambique,” stressed the Mozambican head of state.
Nyusi highlighted the importance of Italy for the country’s pacification, recalling Rome’s role in reaching the historic General Peace Agreement between then-president, Joaquim Chissano, and the leader of the Mozambican National Resistance (Renamo), Afonso Dhlakama, signed in the Italian capital in 1992.
“We are glad that this visit is taking place at a time when we will celebrate the 30th anniversary of the Rome General Agreement,” the Mozambican president stressed, adding that Italy continued to play an essential role in achieving the Maputo Agreement for Peace and National Reconciliation, signed by Filipe Nyusi himself and the current Renamo leader, Ossufo Momade.
Sergio Mattarella is the first Italian head of state to pay an official visit to Mozambique.
The visit comes when the Italian oil company Eni leads the start of natural gas exploitation in the Rovuma basin through a floating platform stationed about 40 kilometres off Cabo Delgado.
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The reserves are among the largest in the world, and the only reason there are not yet more projects to exploit them is due to the armed insurgency in northern Mozambique, which has halted work onshore.
In the case of the offshore platform, gas has started to be pumped for liquefaction and export to begin in the coming months.
Italy was in 2020, the date of the most recent official statistics, the leading destination for Mozambique’s exports to the European Union (EU), made up mainly of aluminium.
On the other side of the balance, Italy was the second EU country (after Portugal) on the list of imports, supplying Mozambique mainly with chemical products and metal parts for infrastructure.
Mattarella’s visit comes three years after Nyusi visited Italy.