The history of cooperation between Mozambique and Japan has lasted for 20 years. During this period, the Japanese Government has invested about US$1.6 billion in different development projects, with emphasis on infrastructure.
In an interview with DE, the representative of the Japanese International Cooperation Agency (JICA) in Mozambique, Otsuka Kazuki, gives a retrospective of the Japanese presence in the country.
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Japan has been financing development projects in Mozambique for years. What have been the pillars supporting JICA’s cooperation in the country?
Our cooperation with Mozambique is based on two pillars: financial and technical cooperation. In the first, we have a reimbursable and a non-reimbursable component. The latter has to do with capacity building projects and assistance in establishing regulations for government institutions as well as small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs).
Under the reimbursable co-operation, we invest in large-scale infrastructure, with emphasis on projects for the construction and rehabilitation of ports, power stations and access roads, while under the non-reimbursable co-operation we focus on small-scale infrastructure development projects. As such, we combine all these systems to meet Mozambique’s needs in ways that improve the lives of rural and urban citizens.
How many and which co-operation projects has JICA funded in the last five years?
Overall, the volume of JICA’s co-operation projects in Mozambique over the past 20 years is valued at 230 billion yen (equivalent to 104.8 billion meticais, 1.6 billion dollars). In the last five years, we have invested in six non-reimbursable financial cooperation projects, six reimbursable cooperation projects and 47 technical cooperation projects.
What has been the impact of this aid from Japan to Mozambique?
Mozambique still lacks basic infrastructure to boost development. In this sense, we note that we are bringing changes to the lives of Mozambicans by meeting this need, such as the port of Nacala, whose works are in the final stages. The aim is to improve its operation. We have also invested in the water supply network, helping to expand it and rehabilitate sources.
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“We want to continue to be one of Mozambique’s major development partners”
Another area where JICA has focused in Mozambique is the training of young people in income generation projects as well as strengthening the health network to provide better basic services to the population.
What are the other major projects that JICA is currently funding?
Currently, the biggest project is the construction of the port of Nacala, which is already in its final phase, and will be officially inaugurated next September.
We also have the Maputo thermal power plant in Maputo province, which is undergoing maintenance and long-term assistance. These are investments valued at 62 billion yen, equivalent to 441.1 million dollars.
JICA has invested USD 197.7 million in the Nacala harbour alone, and USD 125.1 million in the Maputo thermal power plant.
What has been the priority of JICA’s funding at the moment?
In recent years, JICA has focused its cooperation mainly on regional economic revitalisation, including corridor development, human development and measures related to natural disaster prevention and climate change. We are developing a pilot project to train Mozambican staff in bridge management and maintenance, in coordination with the Mozambican Government. This project comes in the context of filling the gap in technical and practical knowledge that we have noticed in Mozambicans.
Our idea is to continue with this pilot project, to boost the implementation of more projects in the country and, at the same time, to provide Mozambicans with technical and practical knowledge, as we believe they need not only funding, but also information.
We don’t want to transfer our experience to Mozambique, but we want to think together about the best way to support the country based on its plans.
What are the short-, medium- and long-term prospects for Japanese co-operation in Mozambique?
We have a limit on financial co-operation at the moment. However, we are studying and developing guidelines to help address some problems in the country, such as urban transport in the greater Maputo region and flooding in Maputo.