Mozambique : Macau and Portugal invest in banking

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Flag of Mozambique
Flag of Mozambique

A new Mozambican bank with capital from China’s special Administrative Region of Macau, as well as from Portugal and Mozambique, will open later this year, according to the governor of the Bank of Mozambique, Ernesto Gove.

Gove told Mozambique’s news agency, AIM, that the new institution, to be known as Moza Banco, had already been licensed by the central bank.

It will have an initial capital of US$10 million, which is four times more than the minimum figure of US$2.5 million required by Mozambican banking legislation.

In its initial phase, Gove said, Moza Banco would concentrate on investment banking. Nonetheless, its licence also allows it to operate as a “universal bank” which could accept deposits from, and make loans to individuals.

The major shareholder in the new bank is Geocapital, a company set up by the Macau billionnaire Stanley Ho as a vehicle for investment in the Portuguese speaking African countries.

Ho made his fortune in the gaming industry, and held a monopoly on gambling in Macau for 35 years. Forbes magazine ranks him as the 104th richest individual in the world.

Geocapital holds 49 per cent of the shares in Moza Banco, with the remaining 51 per cent held by a variety of Mozambican and Portuguese companies and individuals.

Meanwhile, a second new bank due to open this year is Banco Terra (Land Bank), the first Mozambican bank that will focus specifically on the rural areas, where the majority of the population lives.

The driving force behind Banco Terra is the Mozambican financial institution GAPI (Small Scale Investment Promotion Office), and its strategic partner is the Dutch Rabobank.

Its initial capital is US$5 million.

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