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Fresh from their success in the Mozal linkages programmes supported by the International Finance Corporation (IFC), the private sector arm of the World Bank Group, a group of 15 Mozambican small and medium enterprises are now winning contracts from other large scale investments in Mozambique.

The group of enterprises represent former and current suppliers to the Mozal aluminium smelter plant that had all successfully supplied contracts to Mozal under linkages programmes for small firms facilitated by IFC, African Project Development Facility (APDF), World Bank PODE-CAT, Mozal, and the Center for Investment Promotion.

With the assistance from APDF and the Center for Investment Promotion, the 15 small and medium businesses have now joined forces to create the Mozambique Business Network. The network focuses on accessing and winning contracts from other large-scale businesses in Mozambique.

One of the main functions of the network is to hold monthly forums to link its members with corporations, financial institutions and other relevant stakeholders. The first forum was held in September 2003. APDF has helped support and facilitate other monthly fora, involving, among others, presentations from the Port of Maputo, Mozal, Chibuto Corridor Sands, two large sugar mills.

Eight members of the Mozambique Business Network have been awarded contracts by large local firms valued at US$500,000, owing to the fora – and this number is expected to double within the next year.

These two programmes have built the capacity of small businesses to meet the rigorous qualifying standards of Mozal and other leading international firms. Based on their successful experience with Mozal, the SMEs formed the network to access business opportunities with other large firms operating in the country.