Su, 1.10.2023

Honorary Consul of Estonia in Mozambique: Estonian companies could benefit from Africa's rapid development

Kaja Koovit
, majandustoimetuse juhataja
Honorary Consul of Estonia in Mozambique Jose Dai
Honorary Consul of Estonia in Mozambique Jose Dai Photo: Mihkel Maripuu
  • The rapidly developing Mozambique needs new technologies.
  • The country could alleviate Europe's gas hunger.
  • More lenient customs rules apply when trading with Mozambique.

Estonian companies have great opportunities in Mozambique, confirms Jose Dai, honorary consul of Estonia in the African country with a population of 31 million people.

«Africa is developing rapidly. What took twenty years in Europe and America, we have to do in five years,» says Dai in Swissôtel in rainy Tallinn on the last day of his stay in the city. He is visibly pleased that, in addition to the gathering of foreign representatives, he took a few extra days to learn about the companies here. Dai, who studied electrical engineering at Lund University in Sweden, is no stranger to Europe.

«Things move quickly with Estonian companies. People are specific and ready to act immediately,» he says, citing as an example that two technology companies were ready to start pilot projects with them soon. This speed ​​proves that in today's world, no distance is too big or insurmountable. Technology is the most important and the main thing that Mozambique needs now, because without it, it cannot compete in the world. According to Dai, Estonia has excelled in the field of technology.


However, the relations are not one-sided and, according to him, both parties win in cooperation.

Mozambique is an agricultural country, and so far raw materials are mainly exported. For example, pineapples, avocados, coffee, nuts. But with direct investments, factories could be built that add value to this pineapple, and instead of one euro, a kilogram could be sold for five euros. «Estonian entrepreneurs have an opportunity here. And we are not only looking at Estonia, but the entire European market,» Dai confirms.

In 2016, an agreement was signed that allows goods from Botswana, Lesotho, Mozambique, Namibia, the Republic of South Africa and Swaziland to enter the European Union market duty-free.

Companies from neighboring South Africa have been operating in the gas fields of the southern part of Mozambique for twenty years. However, two new projects are being completed in the deposits discovered in the northern part of the country. Italy's ENI operates at sea, and according to Dai, it will take a few months until the first shipment from there reaches the market. In the coming year, the global market will start to feel the impact of Mozambique gas. The French energy company Total is working on the second project. This project is on land, which is more beneficial to the local community as a whole because it provides many jobs. Food is ordered from the locals, building materials are also bought from local companies. «Mozambique will be among the five largest producers of liquefied natural gas in the world,» Dai is convinced. This is important information for Europe, including Estonia, which is suffering from a lack of gas.

Although Dai believes in the strengthening of cooperation between Mozambique and European countries, he also mentions one possible obstacle – the language barrier. In Mozambique, which was a Portuguese colony until 1975, speaking English need not be much help.

Entrepreneur Joakim Helenius: There are great temptations and great risks in Africa

Joakim Helenius
Joakim Helenius Photo: Mihkel Maripuu

The risks are very high in Mozambique. I had a stake in an agricultural and logistics company. The partner was a very experienced South African family who had been doing business in Mozambique for 20 years. We got large areas of about 20,000 hectares for agriculture under a 50-year lease.

But what followed: floods, droughts, insect swarms and finally a civil war started by Islamists. Our trucks were burned or stolen and the logistics business became impossible. The company is currently in liquidation. The lesson was expensive, but I have become a «realist» in relations with Africa. However, this does not mean that I am not ready to invest in Africa again. In life, you have to take risks and do exciting things.