Mozambique is one of the few Portuguese-speaking African countries and receives less attention from global powers like Russia, China, or the US. The country is of significance for its rich natural resources, proximity to UAE-influenced regional neighbors, and its need for foreign investment. The UAE has been using the country both as a gateway to the continent’s south and to consolidate its economic presence in East Africa, particularly on the shores of the Indian Ocean. 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 is involved in the UAE’s activities in Mozambique. Yet, it would not be baseless to assume that he would fulfill some roles since Mozambique could be considered an adjacent territory to East Africa and the Indian Ocean where Dahlan has been active in almost every country.

Furthermore, 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 years, 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 5th-largest trade partner as the annual volume exceeded $600 million, excluding direct investments. According to APIEX, the UAE invested more than $1 billion in Mozambique, mostly in its ports and arable lands.

However, Mozambique seems to be used by the UAE for money laundering. Mozambique’s former Finance Minister, Manuel Chang was arrested on a US arrest warrant on charges of involvement in a money-laundering mechanism jointly undertaken 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 the tuna fishing industry and improve maritime security along its southeast 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. 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,” according to local media reports. It is ironic that Chang was arrested in South Africa while in transit to Dubai. Recently, the UAE declared that it would cooperate with Mozambique officials regarding details of the fraud.

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

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