The Journal of Modern African Studies

Rural poverty and poverty alleviation in Mozambique: what's missing from the debate?

Christopher Cramer a1 and Nicola Pontara a1 1
a1 School of Oriental and African Studies


The peace accord signed in October 1992 and multiparty elections held in October 1994 brought to Mozambique fresh hopes and opportunities. Post-war reconstruction has been underway for some years, through an array of projects ranging from hand-outs for demobilised soldiers to the World Bank supported Roads and Coastal Shipping (ROCS) rehabilitation project running from 1994 to 2000. Although there is political tension between the two main parties and former contestants in the civil war, Frelimo and Renamo, and a combination of rising urban crime and sporadic banditry on roads in rural areas, generally there has been a strong improvement in political stability and physical security for the majority of the population. Economic reforms, broadly typical of World Bank/IMF stabilisation and structural adjustment programmes, have accelerated during the 1990s and have been underwritten by substantial external financial support. The end of war together with deregulating policy reforms and a sweeping privatisation programme have provoked a surge in foreign investor interest in the country. In aggregate terms and in spite of data caveats, the evidence suggests that Mozambique has become one of the fastest growing economies in Sub-Saharan Africa during the 1990s.


1 The authors are grateful for a research grant made to Dr Cramer by the SOAS research committee, that made the case study possible; and for comments by John Sender and Henry Bernstein.