Russian President Vladimir Putin (right) greets Mozambique's President Filipe Nyusi prior to their meeting at the Kremlin in Moscow, August 22 2019. Picture: ALEXANDER ZEMLIANICHENKO/ AFP
Russian President Vladimir Putin (right) greets Mozambique's President Filipe Nyusi prior to their meeting at the Kremlin in Moscow, August 22 2019. Picture: ALEXANDER ZEMLIANICHENKO/ AFP

Moscow — Mozambique’s President Filipe Nyusi signed energy and security agreements with Russian President  Vladimir Putin on Thursday in the first visit by a leader from the southern African state in two decades.

Nyusi’s visit came weeks after his government signed a peace deal with former rebel movement Renamo and just two months before elections   where the Mozambican leader will seek a second term.

Russia has been looking to expand its influence in Africa and oil and gas producer Mozambique already signed a debt swap agreement with Moscow in 2017.

“On the commercial and economic side our relations are still modest,” Putin said after signing the accords. “But we have good prospects.”

Bilateral trade between the two countries was $115m in 2018.

The two countries have historic ties stretching back to the 1960s when Soviet Moscow supported Marxist-inspired fighters against Portuguese colonial rule.

Thursday’s agreements include cooperation between the two countries’ interior ministries on information protection and a deal with Russian oil producer Rosneft.

“We have natural resources and we expect Russian investments to use those resources for the good of the people,” Nyusi said in an interview with Russian news agency Tass, published ahead of his meeting with Putin.

Mozambique is looking to develop natural gas reserves that could make the African state a major exporter of liquified natural gas. 

An emerging threat is an Islamist insurgency in the country’s north. In 2018, Russia and Mozambique agreed to send Russian military advisers to the country.

AFP