Speech King Willem-Alexander at the reception lunch for the President of Mozambique at Paleis Noordeinde
Mr President, Mrs Nyusi,
We are delighted to welcome you to Noordeinde Palace. Your visit highlights the strong ties that have existed between the Republic of Mozambique and the Kingdom of the Netherlands for more than forty years now.
For my wife and me, those ties have taken on a personal dimension: we have come to know your country well, and it is very close to our hearts.
Mozambique and the Netherlands have been working together ever since your country gained independence in 1975. In that time, we have never lost sight of each other, even in the turbulent years when Mozambique was plagued by violence.
You, Mr President, were only a boy when your country was fighting for independence. Later you experienced the devastating effects of a bitter civil war on an exhausted population longing for peace, justice and a better life. And now, as president, you bear an important responsibility for Mozambique’s future. You may rest assured that the Kingdom of the Netherlands feels a close bond with your country and wishes to deepen our cooperation.
Mozambique has achieved a great deal in just one generation. The number of people suffering hunger has more than halved, and many Mozambican families have managed to rise out of poverty. These are admirable achievements. But we are also well aware how much still needs to be done. Youth unemployment remains a major problem. The peace process remains fragile. And as long as human rights are not firmly entrenched in society, people’s trust in each other and confidence in the rule of law will be under pressure.
Mozambique knows it must never again produce a lost generation that turns, in its despair, to violence. You have clearly chosen the path of dialogue and of overcoming differences. That deserves our respect and support.
Mozambique now has a historic opportunity to create a better future. Mother Nature has blessed your country with mineral resources that can provide a solid foundation for development and prosperity. These resources are a prized possession, but they also mean you face complex choices. The key question is how to ensure that all Mozambicans can profit from those opportunities, so that future growth will benefit everyone.
Only together can the Mozambican people put the pain of the past behind them and allow hope and reconciliation to triumph.
Your country’s strength lies not only in its natural resources, but also – in fact, especially – in its people, in all their diversity. In the farmers who – often against the odds – keep going, even in times of drought or upheaval. In the workers who are giving their all to help build industry and the energy sector. And in the students who are working so hard to prepare for their future roles in society.
We stand side by side with them! We stand side by side with everyone who is working towards a strong and peaceful Mozambique, where every person counts. Your visit to the Netherlands shows that you appreciate our engagement, and for that we thank you.
Specifically, we’re enhancing our ties in the areas of energy, port development, education, agriculture, nature and – especially close to my heart – water management.
When I chaired the UN Secretary-General’s Advisory Board on Water and Sanitation, I got to know your country as an impressive delta of many rivers, including the majestic Zambezi. We know the impact climate change is having on people’s lives, in both rural and urban areas. Drought and flooding are taking a terrible toll. And that’s why we’re collaborating to find sustainable solutions, for instance in Beira. The Netherlands is keen to continue sharing knowledge and practical experience with you.
We believe that unprecedented opportunities lie ahead for your country. Mozambique has seen so much tragedy in its short history, but it has now embarked on an upward path. It will not be easy: the path is full of pitfalls and unexpected obstacles. But we are convinced that together the people of Mozambique can overcome them.
Please know that we attach great value to the special ties between our peoples, which you have reaffirmed with your visit to the Netherlands. So let me close by saying: kanimambo. Vamos trabalhar juntos.
May I now invite you all to raise your glasses.
To your good health, Mr President and Mrs Nyusi.
And to the future of the Republic of Mozambique.