Doing Business in Mozambique
Expats doing business in Mozambique will find themselves in a relatively traditional setting. Upper management is usually responsible for final decisions and plans, however input from all employees is common too.
Mozambicans are typically hard-working and motivated. Expats will find that they are welcomed and respected in the workplace, and therefore should adjust easily.
Business hours are Monday to Friday, from 07:30 to 17:30, with a long lunch break in between.
The language of business in Mozambique is Portuguese. For those who can't speak Portuguese, translators can be hired.
The dress code in Mozambique is formal. For men, a suit and tie is appropriate for most workplaces. For women, a blazer with a dress of an appropriate length is acceptable.
Socializing is an integral part of doing business in Mozambique, however female expats should bear in mind that touching a member of the opposite sex during conversation is taboo. Men generally dominate the workplace in Mozambique, however this has slowly changed, with the introduction of gender equality measures.
Business culture in Mozambique
Business culture in Mozambique is characterised by a sense of respect for seniority. Mozambicans tend to avoid confrontation and conflict, however showing emotion is acceptable in the workplace.
The lax attitude to time that Mozambicans have can be frustrating for expats, who may find that family commitments contribute significantly to lateness or even absenteeism, whilst foreigners are still expected to be on time for everything.
It’s important to address someone by his or her professional title, and to shake hands upon meeting.
Mozambicans take their time to make decisions, so expect to wait a while for a decision. Also be ready for ongoing back-and-forth negotiations. It is best to not show eagerness over a deal, in order to negotiate a better one.
Small talk always precedes any formal conversations. It is appropriate to inquire about one's health, families and other social matters before dealing with business. The person who initiated the meeting should be the first one to start actual business conversation, whilst the most senior person typically ends the discussion.
Attitude to foreigners
Mozambicans are respectful of foreigners, especially for their perceived experience and education.
Starting a business in Mozambique
Mozambique is ranked 133rd out of 189 countries in the World Bank’s Ease of Doing Business Survey for 2016. The country ranked relatively well in getting construction permits (31st) and resolving insolvency (66th) but faired terribly in getting electricity (164th) and enforcing contracts (184th).
Do's and don'ts of business in Mozambique
Don't expect Mozambican colleagues to be on time.
Do be aware that January is the main holiday month, therefore business trips shouldn't be scheduled then.
Do give and receive business cards with one's right hand.