Creation of Beira Special Economic Zone underway in Mozambique
The creation of the Beira Special Economic Zone (ZEE) will boost relations between Mozambique and China and attract investment to the neglected central area of the East African country, the Economist Intelligence Unit (EIU) said.
Creation of the Beira ZEE (centre), known as Mananga-Mungassa, involves the Mozambican authorities and Chinese company Dingsheng International Investment and joins other special economic zones that are in the pipeline or already operating in the country, namely the Nacala Corridor and the Beluluane Industrial Park, in Matola, on the outskirts of Maputo.
The project “is in line with projected growth in economic relations with China and of strong economic growth,” said the EIU in its latest report on Mozambique.
In their projection, the EIU economists said that investments made by china and other emerging economies, particularly in railroads and the mining sector, “well help to strengthen two-way relations” and that large natural gas reserves will attract heavyweight international investors, as well as new trading partners, such as the main Asian importers of energy.
The project comes at a time when significant Chinese investments are being channelled into Mozambique, such as the acquisition by the China National Petroleum Corporation (CNPC) of a stake in natural gas exploration in the Rovuma basin, and the China Tong Jian Investment’s new car factory in Matola (south).
According to Dingsheng, the investments planned for the Beira ZEE total US$500 million, although there are as yet no firm commitments or schedules.
The start of the project involves laying down infrastructure and basic services to cover an area of 217 hectares near the port city of Beira.
As well as providing services to companies and improved access to transport infrastructure for exports and imports of goods and services, the special economic zones benefit from preferential tax regimes, as well as government guarantees on investments made there.
The ZEE, which will be part of the Beira Agricultural Development Corridor, is expected to attract more foreign direct investment (FDI) and economic development to the city of Beira and to central Mozambique.
The project, “is an indication that economic development is increasingly going beyond the city of Maputo and the regions of southern Mozambique, which in recent decades have received the biggest investments and development,” said the EIU.
Beira, in particular “has been long neglected, despite being the country’s second-largest city and the capital of Sofala province,” it said.
The Corridor involves agricultural projects in Sofala province, as well as industrial development, logistics and tourism.
“Establishing a ZEE will help the city to benefit from industrial investment and services related to expansion of coal mining in the neighbouring province of Tete, for which the city is currently the biggest export hub,” said the EIU.
The Matola ZEE is currently the main one in the country and houses Mozambique’s largest company, the Mozal aluminium foundry.