Many of us could spend a few moments daydreaming about winning the lottery or finding a pot of gold at the end of a rainbow. But in resource rich countries like Mozambique, the discovery of coal and natural gas, among other mineral resources, can place a Government within a tempest of rapidly evolving circumstances where decisions with regard to the legal, policy and fiscal regimes can mean the difference between sustainable development for all or battling the resource curse for decades to come.
UNICEF’s entry point to the evolving debate surrounding Mozambique’s natural resources has been linked to ensuring all Mozambican children and their families benefit equitably from their “national inheritance.” This line of thinking leads to significant questions of how UNICEF can place children into the core components of conglomerate project financing? If $700 million for a “domestic stability payment” to the Government of Guinea can be absorbed into Rio Tinto’s costs of doing business, where is our “ask” for children? If constructing a deep water port and railway line of several hundred kilometres from scratch is any indication of the “get it done” attitude of corporates in Mozambique…how do we support Government to be ready at the negotiating table? While the World Bank estimates tax revenue flows from coal exports to begin in approximately 2022, due to current tax depreciation policies in place, we hope to lay the groundwork for an appropriate “ask” for the children of Mozambique – an “ask” that will attempt to mirror the 30-50 year expected lifespan of the mines and the corresponding hundreds of millions of dollars of investment in mining infrastructure.
Other countries have sat at the negotiating table and succeeded, why shouldn’t Mozambique?