Wednesday, December 03, 2014

The Morass in Mozambique

 Relative peace and stability since 1992 when the war ended, make Mozambique attractive to investors, and the economy has grown by more than 7 percent each year over the last 10 years, spurred by projects such as the MOZAL Aluminium plant near Maputo, and from mining by Brazilian company Vale in Tete province. Recent discoveries of huge quantities of natural gas continue to push growth upward. But the mineral and gas extraction projects create few jobs - just 3,800 in 2010, according to a 2014 report by Africa Economic Outlook. The few jobs that Mozambique's "megaprojects" create tend be highly qualified positions that are often taken by foreigners. The capital-intensive projects in Mozambique use heavy machinery to extract coal and gas and require little manpower. 

Mozambique's progress in reducing poverty and child mortality has stalled in recent years, and it remains one of the world's least developed countries, still greatly dependent on foreign aid, with about half the population living in poverty. A 2012 report by the Open Society Foundation estimated that 70 percent of people under age 35 in Mozambique - who form the majority of the 25 million population - cannot find stable employment. Today, the private sector creates just 18,000 jobs for 370,000 youth who enter the labour market yearly - a ratio of one job per 20 entrants.  Jobs in the Mozambique's public sector are highly sought after and a common complaint is that they are reserved only for those close to the ruling FRELIMO party, which has governed Mozambique since independence from Portugal in 1975.
"For many, the only way to get promoted is to join the ruling party," said Fernando Lima, a Mozambican analyst and CEO of independent media group Mediacoop 

According to Cremilde Domingo, a social worker at  Boane prison, the majority of young people she works  with commit crimes related to poverty and lack of  opportunity, such as burglary, robbery, and stealing  mobile phones. "We have natural resources but no jobs," she said.

No comments: