5. Protection of Property Rights
The legal system recognizes and protects property rights to buildings and movable property. Private ownership of land, however, is not allowed in Mozambique. Land is owned by the State. The government grants land-use concessions called DUATs (Direitos de Uso e Aproveitamento de Terra, or a land-use title) for periods of up to 50 years, with options to renew for an additional 50 years. Essentially, land-use concessions serve as proxies for land titles. There is no robust market in land user rights and land use titles are not easily transferable. The process to award land concessions is not transparent and the government at times has granted overlapping land concessions. It takes an average of 90 days to issue a land title for most of the concessions. The Mozambican banking community uses property other than land – cars, private houses, and infrastructure – as collateral, as it is not possible to securitize property for lending purposes.
Investors should be aware of the requirement to obtain endorsement of their projects in terms of land use and allocation at a local level from the affected communities. APIEX assists investors in finding land for development and obtaining appropriate documentation, including agricultural land. The government advises companies on relocating individuals currently occupying land designated for development; however, companies are ultimately responsible for planning and executing resettlement programs.
Intellectual Property Rights
The Parliament passed a copyright and related rights bill in 2000, which, when combined with the 1999 Industrial Property Act, brought Mozambique into compliance with the World Trade Organization (WTO) Agreement on Trade-Related Aspects of Intellectual Property Rights (TRIPS). The law provides for the security and legal protection of industrial property rights, copyrights, and other related rights. In addition, Mozambique is a signatory to the Bern Convention, as well as the New York and Paris Conventions.
Despite enforceable laws and regulations protecting intellectual property rights (IPR) and providing recourse to criminal or administrative courts for IPR violations, it remains difficult for investors to enforce their IPR. The registration process is relatively simple and private sector organizations have been working with various government entities on an IPR taskforce to combat IPR infringement and related public safety issues.
IPR enforcement in Mozambique remains sporadic and inconsistent. Mozambique’s National Inspectorate of Economic Activities (INAE) has increased seizures of counterfeit goods since 2017, confiscating Hewlett-Packard (HP) toner cartridges, Nike, Adidas, and Ralph Lauren and other falsely branded merchandise in several large busts, but raids and prosecutions are limited. Pirated copies of audio, videotapes, DVDs, and other counterfeit goods are commonly sold in Mozambique.
Mozambique is not included in the United States Trade Representative (USTR) Special 301 Report or Notorious Markets List.