(2015-12-03) The former president of South Africa, Thabo Mbeki, defended in Maputo that the natural gas from neighbouring Mozambique could help mitigate the energy crisis facing his country as well as boost the economic development of Mozambique.
Mbeki, who is in Maputo to attend the first economic and social forum under the motto ‘A Challenge to the Future’ that Mozambique is hosting since Wednesday, stressed that his country already has technology that converts coal into gas and could do the same with gas from Mozambique.
“Conversion of gas from Mozambique would help solve the energy problems we have, as well as reduce high energy prices. And, on the other hand, South Africa, would provide the market for marketing the Mozambican gas,” Mbeki said.
To a question on whether the gas exports would result in an inclusive economic growth, Mbeki replied that “we can call inclusive or not” but would help solve the problem that the two countries face at present, energy shortfall.
South Africa and Mozambique are the two largest energy producers within the Development Community of Southern Africa (SADC), which consists of 14 states of southern and eastern Africa.
The region has a shortfall in its installed generation capacity which has compromised industrialization and economic development within SADC.
“When Mozambique found large amounts of natural gas it gave the operating license to the [US already bankrupt] ENRON but the company did not know where to sell gas. They had license but what to do with the license? It took a long time until ENRON could leave. What impact had that for Mozambique?” Mbeki asked and then added that cooperation in this field between the two countries would help Mozambique to face another challenge, the ability to use its gas domestically.
The former South African statesman further argued that the Government of his country had came to the conclusion that the daily deportations of Mozambicans crossing illegally in search of employment did not solve the problem. So our country should help level the development in Mozambique so that Mozambicans have jobs in their own country.
Mozambique has the potential to become part of the top 10 gas suppliers in world after the discovery of gas reserves in the Rovuma basin, estimated at 50 to 70 trillion cubic feet(TcF) of recoverable natural gas.
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