Cashew, telecom and more: The potential of Vietnam - Mozambique ties

09:01 | 29/08/2017 Cooperation

(VEN) - Cooperation between Vietnam and Mozambique has improved in recent years. In particular, a visit to Vietnam earlier this month by Mozambique Prime Minister Carlos Agostinho do Rosario has contributed to boosting ties. The two parties agreed to make Mozambique Vietnam’s leading partner in Africa south of the Sahara, and Vietnam a bridge for Mozambique to enter Southeast Asia.

cashew telecom and more the potential of vietnam mozambique ties
Vietnamese Prime Minister Nguyen Xuan Phuc (right) welcomed his Mozambique counterpart Carlos Agostinho do Rosario on August 1 in Hanoi

Economic tie expansion

During a meeting between Vietnamese Prime Minister Nguyen Xuan Phuc and his counterpart Carlos Agostinho do Rosario, the two parties spoke highly of the ties between Vietnam and Mozambique, including bilateral cooperation in several areas, particularly economics and trade, which are growing rapidly. From 2006 to 2010, trade increased by more than three-fold from US$13.83 million to US$45.35 million, with Vietnam recording a trade surplus. Last year alone, two-way trade revenues reached US$101 million, including more than US$72.5 million worth of Vietnamese exports to Mozambique and over US$28.5 million worth of its imports from this market.

Mozambique took 11th place among the 72 countries and territories in which Vietnam has invested. The Viettel Group, alone, has invested almost US$500 million in Mozambique.

In agriculture, the two countries have joined in R&D activities for the expansion of food crops in Mozambique at a total cost of US$2.2 million. The project has created 10 high-yield rice varieties, which can increase rice productivity by 4-5 times to ensure food security.

The Prime Minister of Mozambique expressed his hope that Viettel would expand telecommunications services in this country. He also called for other Vietnamese businesses to invest in areas such as petroleum, ocean shipping and agricultural and seafood processing in order to rapidly reach their trade and investment goals.

Many potential areas of cooperation

“Vietnam has joined many bilateral and multilateral free trade agreements and it is a member of many trade organizations. This is a basis for Vietnam and Mozambique to expand cooperation in the near future. Vietnam will become a bridge connecting Mozambique with markets in Southeast Asia,” said Vietnam Chamber of Commerce and Industry (VCCI) Deputy Chairman Doan Duy Khuong. He spoke at a Vietnam-Mozambique Business Conference held recently by VCCI, in association with the Ministry of Foreign Affairs, within the framework of the visit to Vietnam by Prime Minister Agostinho do Rosario.

Economic reforms in Mozambique are opening up opportunities for Vietnam to invest in agriculture, fisheries, mineral resources, construction, energy and public infrastructure. Of these, agriculture with a focus on cashews will be a key area of cooperation.

Mozambique has vast land resources and advantages for the development of cash crops, such as coconut, cotton, soybeans and sugarcanes. Vietnam, for its part, can provide a full array of rice, corn and sweet potato varieties for Mozambique.

The two countries have also inked a number of cooperative projects to share experiences and provide technical training in agriculture and aquaculture.

Tourism is a strong sector in Mozambique and the government is implementing incentive policies to lure Vietnamese investors.

To encourage Vietnamese companies to expand their investment, Vietnam and Mozambique have concluded various agreements on investment commitments. The government of Mozambique is offering Vietnamese investors tax exemptions and fee reductions, specifically on machinery and material import taxes and land use.

For now, barriers to expanded ties remain. For example, Vietnam Cashew Association Deputy Chairman Dang Hoang Giang said the association has not yet connected directly with the Cashew Association of Mozambique. This explains why cashew deals have had to pass through middlemen from India and Singapore, which has caused increased costs and reduced profits.

Moreover, according to several Vietnamese businesses, they have faced a language barrier in transactions with companies in Mozambique, apart from difficulties related to financial liquidity, policies and inflation in this country.

Vietnam and Mozambique have concluded various agreements on investment commitments in most areas, including agriculture. Currently, cashew and rice are top priorities in economic cooperation between the two countries.

Nguyen Huong