Mozambique and it’s capital, Maputo, has become an attractive destination for business and commerce. For your next business trip here, keep the following guidelines from our DMC member in Mozambique, Dana Tours, in mind to ensure success.
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 can 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. It is customary for the person who initiated the meeting to open business conversations, while the most senior person in the room closes discussions.
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.
A few more tips:
- 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.