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Economic diplomacy

Mozambique represents an important partner for Italy on the African continent in terms of economic and commercial cooperation. Until 2016, the country recorded growth rates among the highest in sub-Saharan Africa, supported in particular by activities in the mining and energy sector, as well as by infrastructure investments. In 2022, Mozambique’s economic growth was around 4%, a sharp increase compared to the years of the Covid-19 pandemic.

In 2022 Italy confirmed its place among the top European investors in Mozambique, with around 155 million dollars (according to data from the local Central Bank), recording a decrease compared to 2021, when Italian FDI amounted to 200 million USD. In any case, Italy ranks fourth by level of FDI, after Mauritius, the Netherlands and the United Arab Emirates.

Bilateral trade is still relatively limited and in 2022 it reached 915 million euros, recording a marked increase compared to 2021 (over 90%), approaching the record levels of 2018. Imports from Mozambique have more than doubled ( +113%), reaching over 860 million euros, while Italian exports to Mozambique decreased (about 57 million euros, -25% compared to 2021). The trade balance, which is traditionally imbalanced in favor of Mozambique, reached a deficit of 803 million euros in 2022.

To date, there are about fifty Italian companies in the country, mainly active in the hydrocarbons, construction and infrastructure, tourism, logistics and transport, consumer goods sectors.

Mozambique’s growth expectations are positive. The discoveries of huge deposits of natural gas (by ENI and Anadarko) and the country’s mineral wealth (coal, graphite and heavy mineral sands in particular) will be able to continue to attract an important flow of direct foreign investments in the medium term, also fueling related activities and thus creating new spaces for SMEs as well. In particular, ENI (in a consortium on a par with the American ExxonMobil) has already started in 2017 an off-shore natural gas extraction and liquefaction project (Coral Sud). The latter project went into operation and the first load of LNG left in November 2022. The IMF estimates that in the three-year period 2023-2025 economic growth will reach rates of 6% per annum supported by the extractive sector (concentrated in particular on LNG , whose extraction started in 2022) and from unprocessed raw material exports.

In terms of official development assistance (ODA), Italy has invested significantly in Mozambique, the first beneficiary country of the Italian Cooperation: between 1992 and 2014, 538 million Euros were donated, in addition to two debt cancellations in 1996 (154.3 million Euros) and in 2002 (557.3 million). In 2022, the development and humanitarian initiatives promoted by the Italian Agency for Development Cooperation in Maputo amounted to approximately 243 million euros, including grants and subsidized loans. On the occasion of the visit of the President of the Republic Sergio Mattarella, in July 2022, a Pluriannual Indicative Plan (PIP) 2022-2026 was signed for a total of 85 million euros (of which 50 in credit, for the first three years).