By Abdul Rahman Suagibu –
NEW AFRICA DAILY NEWS, Freetown, Sierra Leone- Mozambican President Filipe Nyusi announced on Friday that, the Nacala Special Economic Zone in the northern province of Nampula is now bearing its first fruits.
He was speaking of a logistics complex for graphite that is owned by the South African company Grindrod, which won the logistics contract issued by the Australian company Syrah Resources, which is exploiting graphite in Balama district in the neighbouring province of Cabo Delgado.
The establishment of this logistics complex, according to Nyusi, “means the consolidation of the Special Economic Zone”. The zone was generating jobs and income for Nacala.
He noted that “of the over 200 workers directly hired in this unit, 98% are young people recruited here in Nacala”
The Nacala complex was important in the graphite supply and export chain. “We began this march in Balama when we inaugurated the graphite factory”, Nyusi said. “Today we are continuing here, on the logistics side. We must also express our appreciation to Grindrod, which is contributing to making our vision a reality”.
Nacala port, the President continued, was key for exporting Mozambican natural resources, and thus contributing to the country’s balance of trade. The port was now moving more cargo than projected at the start of the year. Its target for the first quarter of 219 had been to handle 452,000 tones – but it had exceeded this target by more than 13%.
More ships than forecast had called at Nacala, and this was largely because of the graphite exports through the Grindrod complex.
About 20,000 tonnes of graphite are now moving every month from Balama to Nacala, resulting in the export of about 1,000 containers of graphite a month. This is equivalent to more than 45 per cent of the containerised exports from the port.
When the logistics complex is operating at full capacity, it could handle 30,000 tones of graphite a month and export 1,500 containers.
More graphite factories will be installed in Montepuez and Lalaua districts (in Cabo Delgado and Nampula respectively).
Nyusi said, a challenge for Mozambicans is processing graphite locally, adding value and replacing the export of raw materials with the export of finished goods. The time has come, he added, for investors “to consider transforming raw materials into the final product right here in Mozambique”.
For New Africa Daily News Abdul Rahman Suagibu Reports, Africa Correspondent