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Tuesday, 08 July 2014

Helping boost trade and the private sector in Mozambique

Mozambique has seen promising growth rates in recent years. According to the African Development Bank, its real gross domestic product grew by 7.4 per cent in 2012, with predictions of a 8.5 per cent and 8 per cent growth for 2013 and 2014 respectively.

To ensure this growth is sustainable and that it benefits all, Mozambique is diversifying its economy, which still largely depends on unprocessed agricultural exports and extractive industries.

“Diversification is vital to the countries' long-term economic growth,” explains Bernardo Calzadilla, Director of the Trade Capacity-Building Branch of the United Nations Industrial Development Organization (UNIDO). “This diversification process should be accompanied by quality products that can compete. It is not only about accessing international markets but making sure that the national market is protected and that local consumers enjoy high quality goods.”

To complement national efforts, UNIDO is implementing a project funded by the European Union (EU) with support from the Austrian Government. Entitled Competir com Qualidade (Competing with Quality), the project helps create an environment in which local enterprises can flourish and export quality goods, and where consumer confidence is strong.

To access international markets, the private sector must produce high-quality products that meet the standards, specifications and regulations of importing countries. To this end, the project is upgrading, among others, the metrology, certification and standardization services at the National Institute for Standards and Quality (INNOQ), the main quality infrastructure body in Mozambique. The project will also assist in strengthening the capacities of the network of laboratories.

“Projects like this are very important and result from the long lasting working relationship between INNOQ, UNIDO and the EU. The last project we worked on was a success and I hope that this one will also bring significant results in the area of quality,” says Alfredo Sitoe, Director of INNOQ.

Armando Inroga, the Minister of Industry and Commerce adds: “Small and medium enterprises are our focus. They employ a large number of people and have the flexibility to adjust to market needs.”

Since small and medium enterprises (SMEs) form the backbone of economic activity and constitute the bulk of employment in the majority of countries – developing and developed alike - the project is helping enhance the competitiveness of local SMEs by developing institutional capacities and supporting key stakeholders. The project thus assists the Institute for SME Promotion (IPEME) and the National Directorate for Industry (DNI) in developing, coordinating and implementing SME development programmes, giving special attention to institutional and public-private partnerships that deliver business advisory and incubation services or provide industrial skills training.

“I think this project is significant because it works with the private sector, with SMEs, and it will promote business which will generate jobs. Many developments will take place in Mozambique with large investments but few jobs. This project is working with the creators of jobs on a much larger scale,” says Paul Malin, Head of the EU Delegation to Mozambique.

Mozambique is developing a flourishing and dynamic private sector and robust quality system, which are important to sustain the country’s economic growth and assure the well-being of its people.

Watch the video

By Simone Carneiro and Amalia Berardone
Posted July 2014