Mozambique ‘a Very Important Country for UK’

Maputo – The Secretary of State for Scotland in the British government, David Mundell, told reporters in Maputo on Monday that Mozambique “is a very important country for the UK, which is why we have invested so many resources here”.

Mundell explained that the main purpose of his visit is to support the development of a memorandum of understanding between the Scottish city of Aberdeen and the northern Mozambican port of Pemba, the city nearest to the massive discoveries of natural gas off the coast of Cabo Delgado province.

The memorandum of understanding, laying the ground for a formal relationship between the two cities, is expected to be signed later this year.

Mundell noted that, prior to the discovery of oil and gas in the North Sea, the Aberdeen economy had depended on farming and fishing. Now it is effectively the capital of the British hydrocarbon industry.

He believed that Pemba can benefit from Aberdeen’s experience, as the Mozambican natural gas industry takes off.

The business community, he said, should work with the Mozambican and UK governments “so as to make the most of the opportunities presented by gas”.

Mundell believed that the Mozambican offshore gas discoveries were “a huge opportunity” for Scottish energy companies. He regretted that the scale of these discoveries is not yet widely known – in particular, Mozambique has the potential to become the world’s third largest producer of gas (after Qatar and Australia), and the reserves discovered so far could last for 70 years.

A release from Mundell’s office declared that “the Aberdeen oil and gas hub model, built on lessons learned from 40 years of North Sea operations, sets the highest standards in governance, transparency, value for money, quality and environmental responsibility”.

Mundell believed that the partnership between Aberdeen and Pemba “will not just help protect existing jobs and businesses – it is a chance to develop new opportunities and markets and create new sources of employment for people in the north-east and Scotland as a whole”.

“This is a win-win situation because Mozambique can benefit greatly too”, he said, “with an injection of expertise which can help it in taking the next step towards becoming a major gas producer”.

A second goal of Mundell’s visit is to protect Scotch whisky producers from imitation drinks. He is lobbying the Mozambican government to grant Scotch whisky “geographic indication (GI) status”, in order to help genuine whisky producers to market their products and be protected against imitations.