What are the obstacles and opportunities faced by either South Africa or Mozambique in their attempts to improve economic and political development? Introduction In this essay I will attempt to look at the obstacles and opportunities faced by Mozambique in their attempts to improve economic and political development. I will look at the reasons why Portugal found it hard to decolonise her possessions because she could not neocolonise them. I will look at how Mozambique's problems were exacerbated by civil aid programmes and the conflicts between itself and other African countries.
Mozambique: advantages and disadvantages Mozambique is situated at the South Eastern side of Africa. It is the nearest port for Malawi, Zimbabwe and the northern part of South Africa. It has some crucial resources geographically which give it an advantage over other African states. It is also strategically important as it provides easy access to other countries. It is roughly three times the size of England. One of the biggest disadvantages that Mozambique has is that there is no navy or air force to protect its coastal waters that are open to exploitation and capitalisation as there is no marketing control.
The only way that this exploitation and capitalisation can be controlled is by the development of a better infrastructure of rail and roads. This is highly unlikely to be achieved due to the lack of cooperation between the regions. There are no coastal protection vessels and also no ways of collecting excise duties. These would be necessary to allow the maximisation of export quantity and therefore allow the country to capitalise, which would give it macro – economic stability. Economics and conflict Historically Mozambique's trade was heavily influenced by Islamic and Arab traders.
The main exports were gold and slaves. Until the 1930's most of its business was controlled by large Portuguese organisations, this only changed after the coup in 1926, which brought an end to these companies. Before this coup the pan Lusitanian community were based on Lisbon and its governmental control and policies. The regime led to fascist policies and principles. Plantations were developed but were only maintainable through forced labour. This forced labour meant that demand increased and there need to be an increase in the forced labour, creating a perpetual circle and demand for more workers.
In the Post War boom commodity prices increased dramatically and led to a further demand from the whites for better services etc. There was an increase in tensions from neo – traditionalists, which was exacerbated in the cold war of the 1960's, with military intervention. There were no compromises from Portuguese as Portugal could not decolonise as it could not neocolonise. Alongside the military intervention was an increasing demand for independence. In June 1962 3 exiled groups, Manu, Idenamo and Unami under the allegiance of Julius Nyerere form a front for the liberation of Mozambique called the Frelimo.
This was a unified coalition of indigenous opposition to Portuguese rule. In 1964 they crossed the river and started an armed conflict against Portugal and its rule. South African support is given through Rhenamo, and the Rhodesians also react against the conflict. The result of the conflict meant that Portugal was overthrown when they retreat in 1974. Frelimo holds traditional government until 25/6/1975 when independence is declared. It is around this time that the Mozambique support for Rhodesia escalates and the civil war starts.
What they want to achieve are military buffer zones were they can use for training grounds in order to train their soldiers. Frelimo's Marxist – Leninist beliefs that everything should be controlled through a central government is one of the main issues. By the 1990's Mozambique is almost bankrupt and there follows in 1992 democratic elections. Tensions still exist between people on the inner circles of individual parties; the old guard are refuting the intervention of the International Monetary Fund as it would give them no option but to embrace European international practices.
Poor education and a lack of a civil service only compound the problem. There is a wholesale exodus of the Portuguese nationals. There is surprisingly a relatively civil relationship between Frelimo and Renamo which leads to an acknowledgement of fairness in the voting process, not skewing the vote in favour of one or another. This was the political starting point to the acquisition, marketisation and capitalisation of untold riches for the Mozambique people. MOZAMBIQUE TODAY Following the conflicts that I have discussed above, the state of Mozambique's economy is still very poor.
Its position in the global economy is 168th out of 174. Its annual growth rate is averaging out at about 14% but the benefits are very slow in trickling down to the people. There is a need for public sector reform and good governance to improve this. Variations in national markets cannot be controlled by the producers, and revenue collection remains a problem. Much of the revenue collected is in the urban areas but only benefits the elite in the city. Military spending has reduced dramatically, and the first role of governance has to be defence in order to protect a country.
The International Monetary Fund instructed Mozambique to sell off its Para -state industries, and it now relies heavily on foreign aid to survive. The debt level is high although most countries have cut it to 25%, with Britain completely wiping out their portion. Underdevelopment has favoured the middle class bourgeoisie, opening up the markets to allow for borrowing and thus creating some financial stability. There has been a reduction in tariffs and inflation has dropped from 71% – 9% allowing for the redistribution of wealth.
The downside to this is that it creates unemployment, putting more people back into the trap of poverty, and smuggling is rife as people see it as the only way to survive. One may ask does the medicine cure the patient or help to kill it? People have very little escape from poverty in these areas as there is no infrastructure and any journeys must be made on foot. Even a trip to the doctor, something that is taken for granted in western civilised societies could mean a walk of about 45 kilometres, if you didn't die on the way.
The very aid that was supposed to help the people to improve their lives often made them worse. As Tordoff tells us these were 'grandiose, overcapitalised agricultural schemes that carried very few benefits for the peasant farmer, thus still being resultant in the food shortage and hunger. ' The projects often also caused environmental damage. The debt was only increased by this because of the money being misspent on unsuccessful programs, and the loss of export income. The inability to earn wages led to further poverty and strife in the urban communities.
The main priorities in Mozambique are ones of sanitation, clean water, and vaccination. This has been shown to work in other countries like Kenya. There is lots of power over business from multinational organisations such as Mitsubishi and Enron. The question one needs to ask is who is it that benefits? Is it the people of the country or the business men in the city? What is the motivation behind people and countries who offer aid? Is it just another opportunity to exploit and profit from the rich natural resources that the country has to offer?