TOKYO,Mozambican President Filipe Nyusi has urged Japanese businesses to invest in Mozambique to take advantage of the enormous potential the country offers and thus contribute to its growth and development.

He made the call when addressing more than 300 business executives at a Mozambique-Japan Business Forum here Thursday, held as part of his official visit to Japan. The event was also attended by more than 30 Mozambican businessmen who accompanied Nyusi on the visit.

The president told the forum that Mozambique is recognized throughout the world as a country of enormous potential, and its relations with Japan are not limited to the recent discovery of large energy resources. He noted that, in the last five years alone, Mozambique has approved four projects of Japanese direct investment in agriculture and industry.

These are large projects, he said, which place Japan as a strategic partner of Mozambique. In order to stimulate and attract more investments, added Nyusi, the government will continue to take measures to improve the business environment, including the granting of tax and customs incentives.

Nyusi’s delegation was enthusiastic about the possibility of Japanese investment in urban public transport, and Mozambican Deputy Transport Minister Manuela Rebelo signed a memorandum of understanding for the development of transport in Maputo.

She was convinced of the feasibility of an integrated road and rail network for the Greater Maputo Metropolitan Area. Key to this would be an Automated Gateway Transit (AGT) project, relying on computer-operated, driverless trains running along a surface metro. Such systems have been in operation in Tokyo since 1995.

A viability study for the Greater Maputo transport system should begin this year, said Rebelo, and the whole system could be built and operational by 2023.

Asked about the source of financing, Rebelo said the government is looking for partnerships, mainly from Japan, given the support the Japanese authorities have already expressed. She believed that the discussions during Nyusi’s visit to Tokyo showed that Japan was open to helping solve Maputo’s transport problems.