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Mozambique

Mozambique is on the southeast coast of Africa and is more than eleven times the size of Ireland. The country’s economy is struggling and more than half of the population lives in poverty, a situation that worsened due to the Covid-19 pandemic. Many people face everyday challenges such as accessing basic services, climatic shocks including drought and flooding, and over-reliance on subsistence farming. A military conflict in northern Mozambique resulted in a significant number of internally displaced people, putting additional pressure on already struggling public services. It is estimated that nearly 2 million people have slipped into poverty since2020 and reversed the positive poverty reduction trend observed during the last two decades. Mozambique is one of Ireland’s partner countries and we work with the Government and a range of non-governmental organisations to build effective governance, strengthened institutions and empower people. We seek to contribute to a just, peaceful and prosperous society, promoting wellbeing and prioritising the furthest behind first, particularly women and youth.

  • Overview
  • Background
  • Our Work
  • Results

Overview

Overview

Mozambique at a glance

Population:

31.35 million

Proportion of population living on less than $1.90 a day: 

56.6% (2019)

Ranking on UN Human Development Index 2018:

181 out of 189 countries

Key Partner Country since:

1996

 

A large map of Mozambique

Ireland and Mozambique

Since the opening of our Embassy and the setting up of the official development programme in 1996, Ireland has worked with a variety of partner organisations including government institutions, UN agencies, civil society organisations, international research institutions and donor agencies to deliver on our development objectives as set out in our strategy document (most recently the Mozambique Mission Strategy 2020-2024). This strategy sets out Ireland’s ambition for and relations with Mozambique and two countries of secondary accreditation – Eswatini and Madagascar through which Ireland seeks to advance its foreign policy in Mozambique and accredited countries as part of the ambitious agenda of A Global Ireland: Ireland’s Global Footprint to 2025 and Ireland’s Strategy for Africa. These instruments set out a global and African engagement that is rooted in the fundamental principles of justice, human rights, and the rule of international law.

Through the Embassy’s combined political, diplomatic and development cooperation engagement, Ireland will further its policy priorities of gender equality, strengthened governance, climate action and reduction of humanitarian need as set out in Ireland’s Policy for International Development, A Better World. These strategies also align closely with global development agendas, of which Mozambique is a signatory, such as the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs). In addition to traditional support for development cooperation and in response to the Government of Mozambique request, Ireland is sharing its own development experience and expertise, particularly in areas such as education to improve work readiness and entrepreneurial skills; peace building and conflict prevention; climate resilient rural development and agri-business; policymaking; trade and enterprise development.

Ireland’s capacity to promote its values and advance its interests through the projection of our foreign policy is greatly enhanced by European Union membership. The Embassy works within the European Union to shape policies and programmes, and promote and amplify Ireland’s goals and objectives toward achieving effective, inclusive, sustainable outcomes in Mozambique and accredited countries.

Through Irish Aid’s Fellowship programme, funding has been provided for a number of scholarships for citizens of Mozambique for full-time study at Masters Level as part of Ireland's wider development cooperation. Operating for over 40 years, Irish Aid Fellowships have supported more than 2,000 successful awardees, from around the world, who have returned to their organisations on completing their studies, committed to putting their acquired knowledge and skills into practice for the benefit of the wider community. We are also working to improve trade relations between Ireland and Mozambique. Improving economic growth is generating increased opportunities for trade in both directions. A number of Irish companies have invested in Mozambique in areas such as agriculture, aquaculture and mining.

Background

Political

One of Africa’s most vibrant countries, Mozambique became independent from Portugal in 1975. Its formative years were dominated by a two-decade long and brutal civil war. When peace came in 1992 it found Mozambique a devastated country.

The Government of Mozambique’s five Year Plan 2020-2024 (Programa Quinquenal do Governo) aims to consolidate national unity, peace and sovereignty; develop human and social capital; promote employment, productivity and competitiveness; develop economic and social infrastructure; and the sustainable and transparent management of natural resources and the environment.

Mozambique has been a successful example of post‑conflict reconstruction and development until the mid-2010s. In spite of the country’s good record on political stability, conflicts re-emerged in the last few years. The conflict in the Centre of the country culminated in 2019 with the signing of a memorandum between President Nyusi and the RENAMO leader. This set out a road map for disarmament, demobilization and reintegration (DDR) of the armed wing of RENAMO. An estimated 44% of former combatants (over 2,300 individuals) were demobilised and nine of the 16 bases closed by June 2021. The RENAMO breakaway military faction known as the ‘Junta Militar’ is still a threat but has reduced the frequency of its attacks. The defection of several important members of the group to the DDR process has resulted in a loss of momentum and an increase in hopes for a resolution.

A serious complex emergency broke out in Mozambique’s extreme north-east, in the gas rich Cabo Delgado province with violent attacks due to a multi-dimensional conflict led by an insurgency rooted in religious extremism and social exclusion. This resulted in a rapid increase in the number of internally displaced people (over 900,000) as well as increased international attention. The Government reached out to Rwanda and SADC countries for equipment, training and lastly, agreements were reached resulting in the deployment of Rwandan and SADC forces to Cabo Delgado, which have reverted the situation.

The Mozambique Liberation Front, FRELIMO, holds the majority of parliament seats, with President Filipe Nyusi being re-elected in the 6th General and 3rd Provincial Elections in 2019. For the first time in Mozambican history, Provincial Governors were elected, putting an end to appointment by executive decree. A decentralization reform, another element of the 2019 peace agreement, which created a binary power structure at the subnational level, began and legislation approved to clarify the role and responsibilities between the provincial governors and the secretaries of state.

Economic

Mozambique remains one of the poorest countries in the world with aid accounting for about 14% of gross national income. The country experienced two decades of 7.5% annual average economic growth which has slowed down over recent years given the fall in commodity prices, currency depreciation, the revelation of undisclosed debt of $2bn in 2016 and the El Niño drought. A situation that worsened given the impact of two cyclones in 2019, the insurgency in northern Mozambique and the effects of the Covid-19 pandemic. The economy contracted 1.3% in 2020 and only 1.5% projected growth in 2021.

In the medium-term, the Government will continue to face great difficulties in balancing its budget with associated pressures on financing public services. The country may only return to 2015 GDP/capita levels by 2023. Mozambique’s debt to GDP ratio reached over 90% and growing.  The Covid-19 crisis and positive dialogue dynamic built between the Government and partners in the Irish initiated Crisis Task Force, could help address issues in the difficult years head.

The country’s economy continues to rely on its abundance of natural resources, particularly gas and coal and its huge agricultural potential, which remains the single most important driver of economic growth.

The Embassy commissioned the Institute of Security Studies to undertake a complex long-term forecasting exercise to 2040, examining a number of core development indicators and to explore alternative futures through scenario analysis. Government endorsed this exercise and committed to using the forecasting tool.

Florida Zacharias a vendor in Vilankulos looks forward to the new market

Development

In 2020 Mozambique ranked 181 out of 189 countries in the United Nations’ Human Development Index (Ireland is ranked second). It is classified as one of the world’s most vulnerable countries with regards to natural disasters and the effects of climate change. Approx. 65% of the population live in rural areas and are primarily engaged in subsistence agriculture.[1]  

Mozambique has made progress in development, including:

  • ensuring that girls have the same educational opportunities as boys
  • the reduction of maternal and child mortality
  • cutting the incidence of malaria and other diseases

The country is engaged with the 2030 Agenda and ranked 136 out 162 countries with a score of 53 in the 2019 SDG Index, in line with the African average.

Despite impressive economic growth in the two decades prior to 2016, 56.6% of the population were still living below the international poverty line (USD 1.90 a day) in 2019[2]. The incidence of HIV and AIDS in the adult population (15-59 years) was at 13% in 2015.[3]

While overall poverty rates have reduced, the provinces of Inhambane and Niassa, where Ireland supports provincial development, both remain especially vulnerable. Niassa still has high levels of poverty and malnutrition while Inhambane is particularly vulnerable to climate change and drought.

Building on the work, achievements and lessons learned over the past 25 years in Mozambique, Ireland’s priority focus is to promote prosperity, reduce inequality, and enhance peace and security, with a particular emphasis on reaching those furthest behind first, especially youth and women. More specifically, Ireland aims to contribute to the following results by 2024:



[1] National Institute of Statistics

[2] Mozambique SDG Voluntary National Review report (2019)

[3] IMASIDA Survey (2015)

Our Work

Progress towards more peaceful, safe and prosperous societies, inclusive of all citizens.

Peace, security, and respect for human rights are prerequisites for achieving sustainable development. Conversely, inequality, extreme poverty and marginalisation can be contributing factors for conflict. In Mozambique, Ireland is investing directly in a range of peace building and peacekeeping measures, building an incentive for peacebuilding, and where appropriate, sharing Ireland’s experience and expertise in these areas. In addition, in Ireland’s support to development programmes, a conflict sensitive approach is  systematically applied, taking into account both the positive and negative impacts of interventions in terms of conflict and peace dynamics and in particular focussing on reducing inequality, addressing youth employment and women’s empowerment.

Mozambique health clinic in Niassa

Improved social services, including a stronger education system with increased girls’ participation, improved access to quality health services and working with partners to contribute towards a strengthened social protection

Good health and quality education are the fundamental building blocks for inclusive and sustainable development. In addition, gender, geography and life-cycle-related disparities can lead to major differences in social outcomes. Our approach to supporting basic social services in Mozambique is driven by a multi-dimensional and multisector approach which advocates for the prioritisation of sustainable, effective, equitable and quality social services enabled by domestic resource mobilisation and decentralised structures.

Strengthened governance, institutions, state accountability and civil society participation in national development processes, which are responsive to citizens’ needs.

Effective, accountable and inclusive state and non-state institutions, based on the rule of law, are important conduits for sustainable development. In addition, civil society plays a vital role in building peaceful, inclusive and prosperous societies. Our approach is to support the strengthening of Government systems and structures for improved transparency, accountability and delivery. We also prioritise strengthening the capability of civil society organisations to support and demand improved governance from the state. Recognising that gender inequalities hold back development, as part of this approach

we promote positive and transformative social and political change for women and girls, and seek to address power inequities between genders.

Monitoring visit. Members of Govuro Home based care association, IA staff member, and Provincial Directorate of Health staff member. Members with a bicycle that was donated by Irish Aid. Govuro, Inhambane Province Nov 2015. Credit: Irish Aid

Improved business and fiscal environments with inclusive economic growth and job creation, with a strong focus on youth, women and adolescent girls.

Mozambique, Eswatini and Madagascar, as part of the Southern Africa Development Community (SADC), have huge potential for trade, business and investment. The region is endowed with extensive mineral resources, including the massive gas reserves in Mozambique. There are also significant opportunities for infrastructure development further development of the tourism industry given Mozambique’s spectacular natural beauty.

The European Union has an increasingly ambitious approach to partnership with SADC, recognising that the mutual prosperity and security of Europe and Africa are deeply intertwined. Ireland strongly supports the EU approach and is committed to supporting inclusive economic growth and boosting trade and investment between Ireland and Mozambique, Eswatini and Madagascar for mutual benefit.

In Mozambique in particular, the ongoing diversification of Ireland’s suite of engagements will provide opportunities to increase its visibility and influence through creating space for public discourse, sharing of Ireland’s economic development experience and facilitating academic, civil society, business and cultural links between Ireland and Mozambique.

How we spend our budget

The Embassy manages an indicative budget of €26 million annually for the period 2020-2024 with a priority focus on Mozambique. Some modest funding for initiatives in Eswatini and Madagascar are considered when necessary, including accessing the Africa Strategy and Innovation Fund and the new Ireland-Africa Tech Development Fund, as well as promoting the Africa Agri-Food Development Programme.

Ireland’s budget to support the development programmes is distributed as per the following result areas:

  • Improved equitable access, quality and use of basic health, education and social protection services, particularly for girls and women
  • Supporting knowledge exchange and innovative climate smart and gender sensitive initiatives, to build decentralised systems that are responsive to the needs of the furthest behind, thereby reducing humanitarian need and building resilience
  • Supporting peace, reconciliation, tolerance and an inclusive society
  • Supportive governance, rule of law and civil society space

Mozambique’s progress

At national level, Mozambique has made significant progress in these areas:

  • The proportion of women represented in the national parliament increased from 30% in 2000 to nearly 40% in 2018The maternal mortality ratio decreased from 408 deaths per 100,000 live births in 2011 to 190 deaths in 2019
  • The institutional mortality rate due to severe malnutrition decreased from 9.3% in 2010 to 4% in 2018
  • The enrolment rate of children aged 6 in school increased from 72% in 2010 to 93.3% in 2019.
  • The number of people with HIV on antiretroviral treatment increased from 218,991 in 2010 to 997.848 (81% of eligible people) in 2019.

The number of households covered by the Social Protection Direct and Productive Programmes increased from 264,511 in 2010 to 426,417 in 2017. By 2019, 584,925 people (22% of eligible) were covered by overall social protection programmes.

How we have helped

  • Ireland as co-chair of the international donor group on nutrition and our ongoing work has contributed to a fall in mortality rate, as a result of malnutrition from 25% in 2010 to 5% in 2017.
  • Ireland has been working directly with the government to improve access to basic services. An example of this improvement is that we have seen a 10% increase in school enrolment at primary level.
  • The number of supervised births, a major indicator of success in reducing maternal mortality, rose from 62% in 2010 to 76% in 2019. In Niassa province, supervised births increased dramatically from 60.5% in 2012 to 100% in 2019.
  • In Inhambane province, access to drinking water increased from 34.9% in 2007 to 72.7% in 2021, to which Ireland contributed to through partnerships with local government.

Results

Mozambique’s progress

At national level, Mozambique has made significant progress in these areas:

  • The proportion of women represented in the national parliament increased from 30% in 2000 to nearly 40% in 2018The maternal mortality ratio decreased from 408 deaths per 100,000 live births in 2011 to 190 deaths in 2019
  • The institutional mortality rate due to severe malnutrition decreased from 9.3% in 2010 to 4% in 2018
  • The enrolment rate of children aged 6 in school increased from 72% in 2010 to 93.3% in 2019.
  • The number of people with HIV on antiretroviral treatment increased from 218,991 in 2010 to 997.848 (81% of eligible people) in 2019.

The number of households covered by the Social Protection Direct and Productive Programmes increased from 264,511 in 2010 to 426,417 in 2017. By 2019, 584,925 people (22% of eligible) were covered by overall social protection programmes.

How we have helped

  • Ireland as co-chair of the international donor group on nutrition and our ongoing work has contributed to a fall in mortality rate, as a result of malnutrition from 25% in 2010 to 5% in 2017.
  • Ireland has been working directly with the government to improve access to basic services. An example of this improvement is that we have seen a 10% increase in school enrolment at primary level.
  • The number of supervised births, a major indicator of success in reducing maternal mortality, rose from 62% in 2010 to 76% in 2019. In Niassa province, supervised births increased dramatically from 60.5% in 2012 to 100% in 2019.
  • In Inhambane province, access to drinking water increased from 34.9% in 2007 to 72.7% in 2021, to which Ireland contributed to through partnerships with local government.

Download the Irish Aid Country Strategy Paper

Download the Mission Statement 2020-2024 and Irish Aid Annual Reports

The Embassy of Ireland in Mozambique Mission Strategy 2020-2024 sets Ireland’s ambition for and relations with Mozambique and two countries of accreditation – Eswatini and Madagascar. 

Ireland’s Development Assistance Annual Reports detail the many results delivered through Ireland’s aid programme, across our partner countries, including Mozambique. They include key policy developments and details of Ireland’s overseas development assistance across the world.