France has a long-standing neighbourly relationship with Mozambique in the Indian Ocean. The departments of Réunion and Mayotte, with a combined population of about one million, are important channels for bilateral cooperation. France also has an extensive Exclusive Economic Zone in the Mozambique Channel, around the Scattered Islands. At the end of the 19th century, France was one of Mozambique’s major trading partners (merchant navy, plantations and imports). The first diplomatic representations and the first bilateral agreements date back to the 19th century.
In the early years of Mozambique independence, France provided substantial development assistance (general cooperation agreement signed in 1981, action from the French Development Agency since 1981). France was one of the countries involved in monitoring the ceasefire in 1990 and then the General Peace Agreement in Rome (1992), which put an end to the civil war. It then granted Mozambique food aid and played an active role in reducing the country’s debt. France is now part of the G19, an informal group of donors participating in general budget support in Mozambique.
President Jacques Chirac’s visit to Mozambique in June 1998 highlighted the importance of French-Mozambique relations after the return to peace in Mozambique. President Armando Guebuza’s visit to Paris in September 2013, beyond economic and trade issues (meeting with French companies, with the Minister for Production Recovery and signing an important contract for some thirty vessels with shipbuilder Constructions Mécaniques de Normandie), enabled discussions on security issues and neighbourhood relations in the Indian Ocean. After the visit of Foreign Minister, Mr Balói, to Paris in 2015, President Nyusi’s official visit to Paris on 20-21 July demonstrated our closer economic ties and cooperation.
- French visits to Mozambique
President Chirac (29/6/98), Minister of Foreign Affairs (20/7/2002) and Ministers Delegate for cooperation:
Messrs Roussin (1995), Godfrain (1996), Josselin (6/97 and 5/2000) and Wiltzer (10-12/7/2003). Missions by the CNPF (French national employers’ association) (6/1998 and 5/2000), and its successor the MEDEF (3/04 and 9/07, March 2012 and March 2013). Mr Camdessus, the French President’s personal representative for Africa, in Maputo in May 2006. France-Mozambique friendship groups: Senator Ferrand and Deputy Chassaigne in March 2007, Deputy Michel Voisin in January 2010.
The most recent visits: Anne Marie Idrac, Minister of State responsible for Foreign Trade, on 11-12 February 2010; Nicole Bricq, Minister of Foreign Trade, on 3-4 March 2014.
- Mozambique visits to France
President Chissano in 2004. President Guebuza in 2005, 2006 (official visit), 2007 (Africa-France Summit in Cannes) and 2010 (Africa-France Summit in Nice).
Mr Manuel Chang, Minister of Finance (5 September 2013). President Guebuza (27 September 2013, accompanied by Ms Esperança Bias, Minister of Mineral Resources, Mr Salvador Namburete, Minister of Energy and Mr Henrique Banze, Deputy Minister for Foreign Affairs and Cooperation). Mr Noormahomed, Deputy Minister of Mineral Resources (on 9 October 2013). Participation of the Minister of Foreign Affairs, Mr Balói, and Mr Inroga, Minister of Industry and Trade, at the Elysée Summit in December 2013. Visit of Filipe Nyusi, candidate for the presidential election (August 2014), visit of the Minister of Foreign Affairs and Cooperation, Mr Balói, on 12 March 2015, official visit of President Nyusi on 20-21 July 2015.
Although France is not yet one of Mozambique’s major trading partners, there is significant trade between the countries: according to IMF data, in 2014 France ranked 8th among Mozambique’s customers and 11th among its suppliers with a market share of 2.1% and 1.2 % respectively.
Although French companies are historically under-represented in Mozambique, French exports (three-quarters of which comprise equipment, transport materials, IT, electronic and optical products, industrial and agricultural machines) have been increasing since 2008. The strong growth of the Mozambican market generates interest. The MEDEF sent teams on assignment to Maputo in March 2012 and March 2013. More are planned for 2016. French companies have a good reputation and can rely on their subsidiaries in South Africa for support. An investment protection agreement has been in force since 2006.
French operators are not very active in exploring and developing offshore deposits, but they are well-established as regards providing services and supplies to large investors in the sector (logistics, services, engineering). New investments are planned in the sectors of hydroelectrics, mining, maritime transport and ports, poultry and cereals, and tourism. Operators from Réunion are successful in the agricultural sector (sugar, aquaculture).
French development assistance mainly flows through multilateral channels (the European Union is the country’s largest donor).
The French Development Agency (AFD) has been working in Mozambique since 1981. Since 1981, a total of €1 billion in grants has been authorized (including €300 million in donations), mainly in the energy and transport sectors. The AFD represents France in the group of donors (G19) which coordinates general budget support. Furthermore, since June 2011 the AFD has been the lead co-ordinator in the energy sector.
The AFD implements Debt Reduction-Development Contracts (C2Ds). It has granted four C2Ds, the fourth of which, for €17.5 million between 2015 and 2019, was concluded during Mr Nyusi’s visit in July 2015. These funds were allocated as follows: general budget support (GBS €10 million); vocational training (€5.5 million in the electricity, tourism and mining sectors); biodiversity (€2 million + €4 million transferred from the previous C2D, mainly on the prevention of poaching).
The France-Mozambique cultural centre, which has an annual budget of €420,000 (half of which is covered by a French grant) is one of the main cultural attractions in Maputo. In addition, since December 2011, it has received €93,996 from the EU’s PALOP project. A French-language bookshop was opened in October 2011. An Alliance française is due to open soon in Matola.
Enrolment at the École française in Maputo has doubled in the last three years. This growth is due to the favourable economic environment and the introduction of bilingualism.
Four technical assistant positions are currently available (finances, French language advisor to the Ministry of Education, support for civil society via the EITI, hospital partnership in the areas of anaesthesia and intensive care). A Priority Solidarity Fund project of €0.9 million on local governance and public finance is being implemented.
Decentralized cooperation is increasing: cooperation between the Seine-Saint-Denis Departmental Council and the municipality of Matola, agreements with Mayotte (health), cooperation with local government in Réunion, particularly in the cultural, educational (Réunion International Centre for Educational Studies (CIEP)), academic and military fields.
Several Mozambique-France-Brazil tripartite cooperation initiatives involving decentralized cooperation actors (Recife, Nantes, Maputo/Matola, Seine-Saint-Denis, Garulhos) are under consideration.
Security and defence cooperation
The military cooperation agreement which entered into force on 21 August 2004 enabled the development of bilateral relations led by the FAZSOI (French armed forces in the southern Indian Ocean).
This cooperation focuses on teaching French in the military, supporting the Mozambique navy, training, including on peacekeeping operations, and participating in FAZSOI joint military exercises. Mozambique is still only moderately involved in peacekeeping operations (PKO) in Africa (Burundi in 2004/2005).
Updated: 29 April 2016