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   News Archive News
    23 September, 2009
Private banks “responding positively”

The Governor of the Bank of Mozambique, Ernesto Gove, declared on 18 September that the national and foreign private sector has responded positively to the reforms carried out by the government, thus contributing to growth in the Mozambican financial sector.

He was speaking at a ceremony to inaugurate new headquarters in Maputo of the companies Moza Capital and Moza Banco Private Banking.

Moza Banco is the newest of the country’s banks, inaugurated in June 2008, with initial capital of $15 million. Its shareholders are Geocapital, owned by the Macau businessman Stanley Ho, and Mocambique Capital, a grouping of 218 Mozambican individuals and companies.

Gove said that the positive response from business to government initiatives had led to a sharp increase in the number of financial institutions operating in Mozambique. The country now has 14 traditional banks, 11 financial cooperatives, 10 micro-banks, three financial leasing companies and “a considerable number of micro-credit institutions”.

This rapid increase “shows how our partners in the financial system, have responded to the challenge we launched in 2007 of spreading the banking system throughout our economy”.

Gove stressed that, in the expansion of banking services, healthy and prudent management criteria must be strictly observed. The country, he said, counted on “healthy and competitive financial institutions”.

Gove told reporters that citizens were once again beginning to save their money in banks, thanks to the gradual expansion of the financial system into the countryside.

“People previously kept their savings in their houses, with all the risks that entails”, he said. “Depositing savings in the financial system is important because only thus can the resources be used for investment”.

For many years, banks refused to open branches in rural districts, arguing that there was not enough economic activity to justify opening branches there. The picture is gradually changing: in 2004 just 28 of the 128 districts had banks, and the figure now has risen to 44.

The government expects that shortly 50 per cent of the districts will be covered by the banking network. “In expanding into the rural areas the banks are not doing the authorities a favour”, said Gove. “There are business opportunities for them in the countryside”.

The chairperson of the Board of Directors of Moza Banco and Moza Capital, Prakash Ratilal, told the ceremony “we want to be part of the efforts of our government, of the development partners, and of the businesses who are seeking to break the cycle of dependence and poverty in our country”.

Ratilal told AIM that he expects Moza Banco to make a profit of $2 million this year. Last year it made operational losses of about $1 million, which Ratilal attributed to implementing new projects, and to accumulated costs in the months prior to the bank starting its operations. Currently the bank only exists in Maputo, but it plans to open branches in Nampula, Nacala and Tete in 2010, and in Beira in 2011.

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