WCS participated on 29th August in a meeting related to natural gas exploration organized by WWF Mozambique and their partners, in Maputo City.
This meeting takes place in a context where Mozambique was hailed as the new Qatar after oil companies announced giant gas finds off the coast of Cabo Delgado at the beginning of the decade. For business people, the natural resource boom offered the potential of huge profits. For the ordinary people of Mozambique, the owners of the resources, it offered the potential of escaping poverty.
The sector is growing fast - but expectations are growing faster as the government, companies and donors have overstated the speed with which benefits would flow. More than a decade after the start of pipeline gas exports to South Africa, and the award of the Moatize coal concession to Vale, the beneficiary impacts for ordinary Mozambicans have been modest.
Now that Anadarko has taken FID of the first $20 billion onshore LNG project it is hoped that the real change will come. It will only be positive if the sector is properly managed. Mozambique van benefit from its natural resources, but the local organizations must work together to ensure this. History shows that countries depend on windfall revenues require strong civil society, media and government institutions to keep the oil companies and politicians accountable.
This is aim of this first in a series of learning and information sharing conferences: to bring key stakeholders from the public sector, the private sector, civil society, journalists and independent experts together to build a community of learning and practice to ensure that the right questions are asked and crucial information is shared in a order to prevent the resource curse in Mozambique. Drawing of the experience of the key actors, the organizations will look at national and international developments in the gas industry and what steps they should take next to ensure ordinary Mozambican can benefit from the natural resource boom.