Until very recently, when natural gas put it on the map, Palma was a forgotten district in northern Mozambique. Now the region is in the sights of multinationals because it has some of the largest gas reserves in the world.
DW Africa interviewed David Machimbuko, district administrator of Palma, Cabo Delgado province, northern Mozambique, who recently visited Bonn, Germany, to attend the ICLEI (International Council for Local Environmental Initiatives) annual meeting, a forum aimed at involving governments in sustainability issues.
DW Africa: What has changed in the district of Palma with the investments in the gas area?
David Machimbuko (DM): In addition to the investments in the gas production and processing area, we have seen the birth of companies linked to tourism, in the form of hotels that are sometimes linked with hotels in Pemba. And then the population also has opportunities to bring their product to market, given the population growth following the investments.
Given the search for jobs, the different sectors which are currently providing services are recruiting local staff and this is an added value, as the population itself has been gaining employment as well as promoting products that they produce locally.
DW Africa: Could you possibly mention the gains already obtained in Palma with these investments, whether in the area of gas or tourism?
DM: In the area of tourism we already have four four-star hotels. In the economic area, also linked to employment, more people are employed, because the [land] compensation taking place is enabling the population to promote self-employment by carrying out economic activities such as selling or buying products on the local market.
DW Africa: In terms of health and education services provided to the population, what has been the gain for communities so far?
DM: As a result of corporate social responsibility activity, we now have an operating theatre unmatched by any other in the country.
We have a lighting system set up for the local hospital which not even the central hospital of Maputo has. We also have modern X-ray machines which can be repaired locally and a biochemical analysis laboratory of at least provincial hospital standard.
As far as gains in education and the equipping of schools, we have the only secondary school in our district, and have received desks for the library and a computer room from multinational companies operating in the district.
What we are talking about now is the prospecting phase, which is also the construction phase to ensure that the factories are built. They also building oxygen production equipment in the city of Pemba based on the multi-national companies that are based in Palma.
DW Africa: And who funds these key services to communities?
DM: Here we are talking about two companies which at this moment are already giving their support. One is ENI-West Africa, which equipped the surgery block, built Maternity Houses [Casa Mãe Espera], equipped the analysis block and the laboratory, as well as the X-ray machines, and has also sunk boreholes for water supply for four to five thousand people at the district headquarters. Anadarco meanwhile stepped in with the computer equipment for the secondary school and the desks there too. In Pemba, the chief benefit is the oxygen production factory that can distribute oxygen throughout province and also supply neighbouring provinces – this was ENI-West Africa again.
Source: Deutsche Welle