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pemba palm roofThere are attractive properties for sale at giveaway prices (US$5000 and less in Pemba town). But be warned - the land of Mozambique cannot be bought. The only title you can get is a concession to build, and that only if you are a permanent resident, or a corporation. If you do not build within the specified time the concession lapses. However, once you have built, and the building inspector is satisfied, you can then register permanent title to the house.

Water carriersA non-resident may buy and own a completed house. ALL productive trees (coconut, banana, caju) are owned by someone. You cannot get a building concession until you have bought out all the tree owners (and new trees have been known to pop up overnight). Once you own a house you are EXPECTED to employ a day watchman and a night watchman. These men double as gardener and housekeeper. They are also essential to preventing petty theft. The going rate is MTN3600 per month (R1200, US$120), and there are plenty of good candidates.

The water carriers in the photo are a reminder that notwithstanding the new popular Government in Mocambique water is only available at a price. Public water supplies are scarce in Pemba city (unlike in many of the smaller towns). The less affluent residents of Pemba have to walk long distances for drinkable water. The manipulations for free water from landowners along the way is entertainment for the idle onlooker, but also a disturbing commentary on a failure of the new wealth to reach the poor.

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