Developments in Mozambique
Mozambique has almost 2500 km of coastline along the Indian Ocean. The Zambezi River flows right through the country, dividing the population geographically and socially into the "northerners" and the "southerners ". Those living in the north are generally poorer with less access to education and health care than the southern residents, who dominate the ruling party Frelimo as well as the country’s economy and public administration.
When Mozambique became independent from Portugal in 1975, Portuguese was kept as an official language in order not to favor any specific ethnic group. However, less than one third of the population has a good command of the Portuguese language but speaks one of twenty local languages instead.
The brutal civil war 1977-1992 turned Mozambique into one the world's poorest countries. The war was followed by rapid economic progress, which got international attention. The former Marxist-Leninist liberation movement Frelimo became a government party with strong ties to the business community. With a strategy for poverty reduction well anchored in the Mozambican society, the government has been able to make long-term efforts. The results can be seen in the form of a 25 per cent reduction in extreme poverty since the mid-90s.
Women present in parliament
Women are fairly well represented in politics, mainly as a result of affirmative actions on electoral lists. After the 2009 elections, women constituted almost 40 percent of the parliament. In 2004, Mozambique got its first female prime minister.
But despite the country’s upward positive trend, its citizens still remain one of the world's most vulnerable people with a life expectancy of 50 years. The many years of war have devastated the infrastructure, and social development has gone down. One major cause of the widespread poverty is that growth has not led to any significant increase in employment. A large majority of the population works in the informal sector, mainly with self-sufficiency farming or small-scale agriculture. The country has a huge agricultural potential and is rich in natural resources, but it still lacks the tools to capitalize on them.
One effect of this positive development is that the country meets the requirements for aid through budget support. The support provides a direct injection to the country's own efforts to achieve its development goals. Important progress have been achieved in the ongoing building of a credible public administration, which legitimizes a continuing cooperation. The budget support for poverty reduction is complemented by support for democratic governance, agriculture and energy.
Sweden's areas of cooperation in Mozambique:
- Democratic governance
- Economic development with a focus on agriculture and energy
- Research collaboration