Official visit to Mozambique: Official dinner in Maputo
Ladies and Gentlemen,
Boa noite! Good evening!
I would like to start by thanking you, Mr President, for the kind invitation to visit your beautiful country. It was a great pleasure to receive you and your delegation in Norway two years ago, and I am grateful for this opportunity to return the visit. I particularly appreciate having the chance to see positive developments, both in Maputo and in our bilateral cooperation, since my last visit here in 2002.
Norway’s relations with Mozambique were born out of your country’s struggle for independence. When liberation hero and former President Samora Machel met my grandfather King Olav during his official visit to Norway in 1977, this marked the beginning of deeper and broader cooperation between our countries. Since then, we have worked very closely on many issues, including the fight against apartheid and our common strive for poverty eradication.
During your visit to Oslo, Mr President, you commented that the relations between our two countries were at their highest moment. In my view, this is still the case. Not only do we have a common development cooperation agenda that is one of Norway’s largest and encompasses a number of sectors, including civil society, but our business relations are also evolving.
You brought a large business delegation with you to Norway. I am also accompanied by a delegation of Norwegian businesses. Some of them are already active here, while others are examining the many opportunities for investment and cooperation that are now opening up in Mozambique.
Hopefully, this visit gives both our countries a chance to deepen and strengthen several aspects of our partnership. I cannot mention all of them here today, but I would like to highlight a few – which I know are also close to your heart, Mr President.
Together with your Minister of Energy, I will tomorrow visit a family in Matola as their home is being connected to the power grid. This is part of the impressive Energia para todos programme, which aims to ensure that all Mozambicans have access to energy.
Not only is access to energy a Sustainable Development Goal in its own right – it is also a vital prerequisite for achieving many of the other SDGs.
When households gain access to electricity, as we will see in Matola tomorrow, this instantly improves the lives of the people concerned. Electricity is an enabler, which creates a great many opportunities.
Mozambique is rich in natural resources and has potential to become a major player in the global energy market. The next few years will be of vital importance to the development of a sustainably managed industry. In Norway, the careful management of our natural resources has brought us prosperity. We hope it will do the same in Mozambique. We are pleased to be your partner in this regard.
I would like to congratulate you, Mr President, as well as the leader of the opposition, Mr Momade, on the peace agreement signed last year. Norway will continue to support your efforts to sustain peace in Mozambique.
Tomorrow I am attending a seminar on women, peace and security. Both our countries agree that there can be no lasting peace without the involvement of women. Indeed, without the involvement of half of a country’s population, there can be no development at all!
A year ago, the world watched in horror as Mozambique was struck by two devastating cyclones. Let me once again express my deepest sympathy to all Mozambicans, but in particular to all those who were directly affected. Norway will continue to stand by Mozambique, including during the challenging rehabilitation and reconstruction phase.
Mozambique is one of the countries in the world that is most exposed to the impacts of climate change. I look forward to learning more about how your country is dealing with more frequent cyclones and extreme weather. We are seeing the effects of climate change in Norway, too: shorter winters, shrinking glaciers and receding sea ice in the Norwegian Arctic. We see peace and security, climate action and sustainable development as closely interlinked.
The future of the planet depends on the health of our oceans and climate, and on our ability to work together.
Finally, Mr President, our two countries are both small actors on the world stage. We rely on the United Nations and the rules-based international order to create a level playing field for all nations. Our approach is to listen, to consult with other countries and to create alliances that can help us to achieve our goals. In our work to address the huge global challenges confronting us, I am convinced that we are stronger when we work together.
If we are to succeed in combating poverty, managing our ocean resources in a sustainable manner, fighting climate change, and building robust societies for the future, we need each other. In this important work, Norway is fortunate to have a long-term partner like Mozambique.
Mr President, My delegation and I have had an exciting first day of our visit. We all look very much forward to the days ahead. Thank you so much for the warm welcome to your country.
In closing, I would like to propose a toast to President Nyusi and to the friendship between our two countries.