The Lord Alton of Liverpool House of Commons London
Dear Lord Alton,
James Duddridge MP
Minister for Africa
King Charles Street London
Dear Lord Alton,
Thank you for your correspondence of 10 December regarding the humanitarian situation in Cabo Delgado, Mozambique.
I am deeply concerned by the deteriorating security and humanitarian situation in northern Mozambique, and the increasing attacks by groups with links to Islamic extremism. To date, the insurgency has claimed over 2,000 lives and created over 515,000 internally-displaced people. On 10 November this year, the Foreign Secretary and I publicly condemned the recent attacks in which over 50 people were reportedly beheaded.
Your email highlighted that the Catholic Bishops of Southern Africa’s (CBSA) report suggested that the insurgency was not linked to the Islamic State. The drivers behind the conflict are multiple and complex. However, groups under the umbrella of IS-Central Africa Province have claimed several of the attacks in Cabo Delgado, including the capture of Mocimboa de Praia in August 2020. We do not therefore believe the available evidence supports the Bishops’ view on the drivers of the insurgency.
The UK has so far provided £19m of humanitarian and development support to internally displaced people in northeast Mozambique through UN agencies, supporting displaced people’s access to food, shelter, and water and sanitation. Specifically, UK support has included the provision of food assistance to over 110,000 people, and shelter and non-food assistance to more than 17,000 people.
We are working with the Government of Mozambique to address the root drivers of conflict and instability in northern Mozambique, including through engagement with the Integrated Department for the Development of Northern Mozambique (ADIN). We are also providing targeted technical assistance under the framework of
a Defence Memorandum of Understanding. I spoke to the Mozambican Foreign Minister on 23 July to reiterate the UK’s offer of support for an approach that addresses the causes as well as the impact of the conflict.
You are correct that UK Export Finance (UKEF) has agreed to provide up to US$1.15bn of export finance support for UK exporters as part of the design, construction and operation of a liquefied natural gas (LNG) project in Mozambique. The financing of the US$24.5bn Project involves multiple commercial lenders, the African Development Bank (AfDB) and a number of Export Credit Agencies (ECAs) from the USA, Italy, South Africa, Korea, the Netherlands, Japan, and Thailand. Both the World Bank and the IMF have indicated that they are supportive of the project proceeding because of both its commercial viability and the benefits it brings to Mozambique. The international elements are therefore subject to significant scrutiny.
The UKEF-funded element will support multiple UK businesses across the UK, including SMEs, and in excess of 2,000 UK jobs. Even more importantly, gas from this project will support Mozambique’s energy transition in line with its Nationally Determined Contribution (NDC) and its Paris Agreement commitments. The project will also generate significant revenue for Mozambique. Exports of LNG are expected to contribute much-needed public revenues; support economic diversification; create jobs and generate wider economic benefits to the country. We are working with the Government of Mozambique to ensure that the benefits of these projects are felt by local communities, in order to promote inclusive, sustainable development and, ultimately, address the drivers of conflict and instability in Cabo Delgado.
James Duddridge MP Minister for Africa