Mozambique

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How to Get Land in Mozambique

How to Get Land in Mozambique

Zambezi sunset
Zambezi sunset
Tash Morgan

While investments in Mozambique may offer high returns, the legal framework can be perplexing to a new investor. There are a number of issues concerning land in Mozambique; the main points are addressed here.

While investments in Mozambique may offer high returns, the legal framework can be perplexing to a new investor. Under the Mozambican Constitution, all land in Mozambique is the property of the state and cannot be bought, sold, mortgaged or transacted. Land-holding follows a concession-type arrangement, based on contracts which are valid for up to 50 years, and are renewable.

Despite this, there are a number of ways to hold land in Mozambique and the main issues are addressed below. Each method has its own merits and a potential investor should consider the various options before deciding which is best suited to their purpose.

Anyone planning to invest in a foreign legal jurisdiction is well-advised to seek reputable legal counsel with sound local knowledge. Obtaining sound advice saves time and money, and ensures that your investment is safe. The contacts of several top law firms with broad experience in foreign investment, land and tourism are available from ACIS at www.acismoz.com

Can foreigners own land in Mozambique?
Foreign individuals cannot hold land in Mozambique, unless they have been resident for more than ten years and can prove this. That being said, legal questions remain about what happens if these individuals then leave Mozambique, and the law on this has not been tested. As a rule, ownership of a company tends to be the safest vehicle for foreigners investing in property.

Can I set up or buy a company?
Owning a company which is incorporated and registered in Mozambique tends to be the most convenient legal option for foreigners wanting to hold land title. A company can be set up or bought. Buying a company that already has secured title to the land you plan to invest in tends to be the fastest route, as registering and incorporating a new company can take many months. Buying an existing company means that land, property built on that land, and other assets transfer automatically to the new owners. However any liabilities also transfer which is why due diligence is necessary.

Is there a difference between property in towns and in the countryside?
Yes, both are treated differently under the law and have different ownership requirements, so be sure to check what type of land you are considering investing in.

What is a property worth?
Because land cannot be bought or sold, it does not have a value. It is the property or infrastructure on the land that holds the value. Perhaps because of the relatively small and exclusive nature of the market, property prices have generally remained stable during the global financial crisis, which makes Mozambique an attractive option for investment.

Where can I get assistance to invest?
The services of a good lawyer with local knowledge are a worthwhile investment for anyone looking at buying property in another country. Lawyers can assist with information about legalities of property transactions, investment incentives, residence requirements and more. Various Mozambique-specific advice and useful background reading material is available through www.acisomoz.com, which also includes a series of guidelines for investors on its ‘Legal Framework Guides’ page.

Read more about the region in our destination guide:
Cahora Bassa & Tete

Read more articles from this issue:
Zambezi Traveller (Issue 07, Dec 2011)