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Cablegate: President Guebueza Discusses Poverty Reduction

VZCZCXRO3751
RR RUEHBZ RUEHDU RUEHJO RUEHMR RUEHRN
DE RUEHTO #1227 2920554
ZNR UUUUU ZZH
R 190554Z OCT 07
FM AMEMBASSY MAPUTO
TO RUEHC/SECSTATE WASHDC 8098
INFO RUCNSAD/SOUTHERN AF DEVELOPMENT COMMUNITY COLLECTIVE
RUEHLO/AMEMBASSY LONDON 0061
RUEHLMC/MILLENNIUM CHALLENGE CORP WASHINGTON DC

UNCLAS MAPUTO 001227

SIPDIS

SIPDIS

STATE PASS USAID/AFR/SA

E.O. 12958: N/A
TAGS: PGOV EAID ECON EAGR MZ
SUBJECT: PRESIDENT GUEBUEZA DISCUSSES POVERTY REDUCTION
PLANS


1. Summary: President Armando Guebuza told diplomats on
October 17 that the government of Mozambique (GRM) would
address poverty more quickly through initiatives for advanced
schooling, tourism, and business competitiveness/investment
that would require further donor assistance. These broad
themes certainly strike the right chords with the
international community, but short-term implementation will
be challenging. End Summary.

2. At a dinner for 50 chiefs of diplomatic missions on
October 17, Guebuza laid out the general framework for his
administration's plans to combat poverty with the support of
the international community.

----------------------------
Improving Tertiary Education
----------------------------

3. First, Guebuza said the GRM would look to establish
professional and technical schools in each of Mozambique's
127 districts within two years, with financial and technical
assistance from donor countries. These schools would target
training based on the primary economic strengths of each
district. For example, if timber production is a primary
source of income, then the technical school in that district
would focus on forestry. Ismael Valigy, the MFA's head of
the Europe and Americas department, later told the Charge
that establishing economically targeted technical schools
throughout the country would encourage Mozambicans outside of
Maputo to remain in their provinces for education and work.
This would help reduce the migration of talented Mozambicans
from the provinces to Maputo and lead to a more equal rate of
economic improvement throughout Mozambique.

--------------------------------
Improving Tourism Infrastructure
--------------------------------

4. Moving to the theme of strengthening sustainable growth
in the tourism sector, Guebuza emphasized that to combat
poverty, Mozambique would need donor assistance to improve
infrastructure in tourist areas. For example, he said that
construction of hotels, construction of better roads,
improved air service, and an enhanced telecommunications
infrastructure would attract more tourists and create more
jobs for Mozambicans.

------------------------------
Improving the Business Climate
------------------------------

5. Guebuza said that Mozambique needed assistance to make
its products more competitive in the international market,
pointing to rice and wheat production as prime examples. He
recognized that there were impediments to foreign direct
investment, citing the Mozambican bureaucracy and corruption
as two key factors that discourage economic activity.
Guebuza also noted that Mozambique needs to strengthen its
good governance initiatives with more transparency in its
processes.

-----------------------------------------
COMMENT: Good Goals, Tough Implementation
-----------------------------------------

6. Guebuza's thoughts on education, infrastructure, and
business show a clear recognition of the country's major
weaknesses and potential areas for real, sustainable economic
development. These ideas will be well-received by the
international community; however, creating 127 new vocational
schools in two years, building many roads and hotels, and
making the commercial environment more efficient and
attractive for investment are very tall orders in just two
years. For this audience, Guebuza seemed more interested in
introducing broad ideas to potential donor nations than in
offering specifics on how these initiatives would be
implemented and what level of funding would be required.
Additionally, while he mentioned that Mozambican bureaucracy
and corruption often discourage investment he made no mention
of any new initiatives to address these pressing issues.
Jones

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