Mozambique is one of the few Portuguese-speaking African countries with less attention from global powers like Russia, China, or the US. Still, the country is of significance for its rich natural resources, proximity to UAE-influenced regional countries and its needs for foreign investment. The UAE has been using the country both as a gateway to the continent’s south and consolidating its economic presence in East Africa, particularly in the Indian Ocean’s shores. It is likely that Dahlan was involved in some of the dealings with the country.

“The loan money never went to Mozambique, but was sent to [UAE-based] Privinvest. […] The total of Mozambique’s exposure from the hidden (or rather stolen) debts now stands at $15 billion.”

Local Media  

There is no clear evidence that Dahlan involved in the UAE’s activities in Mozambique. Still, it would not be a totally baseless idea to assume that he would fulfil some roles since Mozambique could be considered as an adjacent territory to East Africa and Indian Ocean where Dahlan has been active almost in every country. 

Also, the UAE has long been pursuing economic interests in the country. In 2000, the two countries declared that they were going to apply dual tax avoidance and reciprocal investment protection. In the following process, Mozambique opened an embassy in the UAE while Emirates Airlines began direct flights. UAE was eager to invest in Mozambique for its ports that would strengthen the UAE’s sea-based commerce policy. In 2019, the UAE became Mozambique’s fifth largest trade partner as the annual volume exceeded 600 million dollars, excluding direct investments. According to APIEX, the UAE invested more than 1 billion dollars in Mozambique, mostly in its ports and arable lands. 

However, Mozambique seems to be used by the UAE for money laundering at top level. Its former finance minister, Manuel Chang was arrested following a US request with the accusation that he was involved in a money laundering mechanism together with an Abu Dhabi-based shipping company. According to court reports, Chang made an agreement with UAE’s Privinvest company to build a gigantic facility for tuna fishing industry and improve maritime security along its southeast African coastline. He borrowed this money from the UAE. In other words, the UAE indebted the country in a corrupt, unofficial and unbureaucratic way with investment promises. According to the local media, currently, “the total of Mozambique’s exposure from the hidden (or rather stolen) debts now stands at $15 billion, equivalent to the entire GDP of Mozambique in 2019.” It is also ironic that he was arrested in South Africa while in transit to Dubai. Recently, the UAE declared that it would cooperate with Mozambique officials for revealing the details of the fraud.  

On the other side, Erik Prince was active in Mozambique. Besides involving his mercenaries in the Islamist insurgency, he was a shareholder of national oil company. There were speculations that Prince’s agenda in the country was overlapping with that of the UAE. Yet, given the fact that Prince was replaced with Dahlan, it is likely that Dahlan carries out UAE operations in the country. 

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