Mozambican businesses are optimistic that the two-month long truce announced by Afonso Dhlakama, leader of the Renano rebels, will establish conditions for relaunching the economy and reducing the prices of goods and services.

At a media conference here Wednesday, the deputy chairperson of the Confederation of Mozambican Business Associations (CTA), Agostinho Vuma, said while armed attacks had continued in the central provinces, many investments had been held back.

Had that situation continued, it would not have been possible to think about the recovery of the economy in the near future. The military hostilities had affected economic life very directly, he said, with Renamo gunmen on major roads in the centre of the country preventing the free movement of people and goods.

The country had already been facing severe economic and financial difficulties, Vuma said, adding that any continuation of the armed conflict would make matters worse, as well as damage Mozambique’s image in the outside world.

Now, with the declaration of the truce, the CTA was receiving requests from potential foreign investors about the prospects for a definitive halt to the Renamo insurrection. Even within a matter of days, said Vuma, there were signs of a renewed interest in investing in Mozambique.

The end of the conflict, he added, would send a clear message to all Mozambicans, investors and tourists that 2017 will be better than 2016.

What the CTA wanted, he said, was for the talks between the government and Renamo to continue for the establishment of a definitive peace. The CTA urged President Filipe Nyusi to continue seeking the paths of peace, and hoped that Dhlakama will understand, as he has understood this time, that Mozambicans need this inalienable precious commodity which is peace.

According to a second senior CTA figure, Adelino Buque, cited in Thursday’s issue of the independent daily, O Pais, the first week of the truce had already brought tangible results. Trucks driving from the south to the north of the country now made the trip in one day rather than three because they no longer had to travel in convoys under armed escorts along two stretches of the main north-south highway in Sofala province.

The costs of road haulage operations were thus falling, said Buque, and so were consumer prices. He expected the flow of merchandise between the various regions of the country to increase, and prices to fall still further.