A rapidly developing African country, Mozambique has become an attractive destination for business and commerce. This holds especially true for the country’s capital, Maputo, as it remains the main destination for business travellers.
Every country has its own customs and traditions. So, when travelling to sunny Mozambique for your next business venture, keep the following guidelines in mind for sure success:
First impressions count. So, make sure you get your greeting right. How? It is customary for both men and women to shake hands. Men commonly use both hands when greeting someone, with the left hand placed on the upper arm of the other person.
Don’t be surprised if women look down when speaking with men – this is a sign of respect.
If you’re meeting more than one person, acknowledge everyone with a nod until you are formally introduced.
If you have a title, flaunt it. Always address people in Mozambique by their professional title. Or, if you’re not sure about the title, address men as O Senhor (Mr.) and women as A Senhora (Mrs./Ms.). It is frowned upon to address someone by their first name, unless they have indicated you are allowed to do so.
Always set up a meeting time and venue in advance, and arrive punctually. Even though meetings in Mozambique rarely begin on time, foreigners are still expected to be punctual.
Mozambicans are quite social, so try to start your meetings with small talk about families and health. Know that it is customary for the person who initiated the meeting to open business conversations, while the most senior person in the room closes discussions.
Dress for success in Mozambique. Men are expected to wear a suit or dress pants with a button-up shirt and tie. Women can opt for a dress with a blazer or a suit.
Most business conversations are conducted in Portuguese. So, make use of translation facilities, which are readily available in Maputo. Or, if you really want to impress, get to know the language first-hand.
January is not a good month to arrange business meetings or negotiations in Mozambique. During this month, national holidays take precedence.
Also keep in mind that business decisions are not made on the fly. Negotiations tend to linger, so be prepared for ongoing back-and-forth discussions following your initial meeting. Be patient and do not try to rush a decision from your business partners in Mozambique – it could cost you the entire deal.
It’s all about relationships in Mozambique. Make a real effort to get to know your associates socially, as this will end up helping you professionally.
Also take note of the following:
• It is seen as a sign of respect to give and receive something using both hands
• Don’t worry if you find people hissing at each other or even at you. It is custom in Mozambican culture to make a hissing sound when someone wants to get your attention.
• Extending a fist covered by the opposite hand is an indication that someone has had enough
• Women should keep in mind that touching a member of the opposite sex during conversation indicates strong interest, and is generally considered taboo.
Want to know more about Mozambique? Read the following blogs:
Hit the road…self-drive to Maputo
Ibo Island Mozambique: A piece of paradise on Earth…
Gorongosa National Park: The Return of a Paradise Once Lost
Maputo Nightlife: Where to let loose in Maputo…
Things to do in Maputo
Four Reasons why you should visit Mozambique
Anantara Medjumbe: Barefoot luxury in the islands…
Gorongosa National Park
Discover the best of Mozambique
Mozambique Beaches: Tap your inner beach bum