Moz president unveils Chinese built palace

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iol pic afr moz unrest politics AFP Mozambique President Armando Guebuza speaks with an AFP journalist in Chimoio on October 30, 2013.

Maputo - Mozambique President Armando Guebuza inaugurated an opulent new Chinese-built presidential office complex in the capital Maputo Friday.

“We express our gratitude and appreciation to the government of the People's Republic of China creating the conditions for the construction of this project,” Guebuza said during a banquet.

The peach-coloured, two-storey building overlooking the azure waters of the Maputo Bay boasts crystal chandeliers, marble interiors and a sumptuous banqueting hall.

It dwarfs the previous, single story edifice where Guebuza used to receive foreign dignitaries.

Officials have not made public the building costs, which were financed through a loan arranged by the Chinese government.

During a speech that included a champagne toast Guebuza called the new building “another testimony to the friendship and cooperation between the people of Mozambique and the people of China.”

China's Foreign Economic Construction Corporation (AFECC) built the sprawling two-story edifice in just 18 months.

The company, which also constructed new domestic and international air terminals and a national football stadium, this month began work on a $250 million five-star hotel in Maputo.

Guebuza, 71, has only months to enjoy his new office before presidential polls in October. He lives in the presidential villa nearby.

Last year he travelled there to raise funds for infrastructure projects.

Much of the existing electricity, rail and road network dates back almost four decades to the colonial era, while parts were destroyed in a 16-year civil war which ended in 1992.


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