Diaspora Matters

Interview with a Zimbo living in Maputo

Maputo apa

The Zimbabwe Business Ideas and Network has adopted Mozambique as our second country. We did this because the nation has a lot of potential and a lot of resources that are still to be discovered. Little is known about this country by the majority of Zimbabweans and the reason could be due to the language barrier! As a forum we therefore adopted this country inorder to track developments in the country located to the East of Zimbabwe. We mostly concentrate on the good stories of Mozambique especially business opportunities!

We have done a number of business tours to this wonderful country and they covered Tete and our next trip will be to Beira. Below we feature an interview with a ZBIN member who is based in Maputo and working as an English teacher.

How is it for a Zimbo to live in Moz? Weather, language, food,cost of living

Zimbos living in Maputo face hot weather challenges but you get used to it with time. The other challenge is language-it is very difficult to be here if you can’t speak Portuguese because they don’t speak English. In terms of their food, it is slightly different from home. The cost of living here is cheaper on rent and transport. A room that would cost between 50-80 dollars in Zim, here you can pay 20-30 dollars. For public transport, we pay an equivalent of what you pay in Zim-50 cents.

Is the Zimbo community big? How about other nationalities?

Zimbo are increasing in number and some bring their families. There are different nationalities but the largest number is that of Nigerians who own 70% of shops in residential areas.

What are the growing or expanding industries?

Construction industry is the fastest growing so you can start small with hardware or cement bricks making. The real estate sector is rapidly expanding especially a suburb called Matola.

What business do cross borders do in  Maputo?

Cross borders have been coming here for more than a decade, most sell bed sheets and duvets. They bring them from Zimbabwe and South Africa. Maputo is a hot region and people here prefer bed sheets and duvets to blankets.

We have heard of stories of the Bond being sold there.Is it true? Are there large amounts being traded? Who buys and who sells?

In Maputo, money changers sell bond notes to 2 types of clients. The first one is cross boarder traders who buy and sell goods in Maputo. The second group includes Zimbabweans working in Maputo who want to change money to send home. We prefer dealing with bond notes because it is cheaper than USD. For instance the street rate of exchange today for USD : Meticals is 1:63, for the Bond it is 1:58.

How do you Zimbos in Maputo remit money back home?

Sending money back home is a challenge. I would not like to generalise but allow me to talk of my own experience.If you have an account, vanhu vekumba vanotogara ne card rako rekubank to withdraw kuZim or ukanochinja unototumira nemunhu wekuziva but munongoziva mari inonetsa.

How about using Western Union to remit funds?

Western Union is here but expensive and with what most people earn, this is not an option. promised a service last year but we are still waiting.

Are Zimbos starting or running businesses there?

Yes,  I know some Zimbos who have companies here example one Elder from our church has an IT company it operates from Maputo to Chimoio.

Is there a Zimbo Association for Zimbos in Maputo?

I haven’t heard about an association, will find out but the major problem is Zimbos don’t like to share ideas and help fellow Zimbos. Most prefer to keep to themselves and not associate with others- a huge problem that the Zimbo community here need to tackle.

Advice for any first time visitor to Maputo

When coming to Maputo first time just learn basic Portuguese it’s difficult to come across anyone who understands English and also move around with your passport police in order to avoid problems with the Police.

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  1. Lets connects guys we have a company doing Civil works and Telecoms in Maputo. Of late we have been lended a friendly ear with the high offices here. We are open to collaboration and crosspolination of ideas and businesses , the time is now people.

    1. Thanks a lot Tinashe, it is good to know that you have grabbed opportunities. The challenge is for you to create a vibrant community of Zimbabweans in Maputo. Together you sure can make it rather than working individually. Will be making follow ups with you so that we network for business success. It is already happening in UK, US and even South Africa.

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