Editorial: Africa at a Turning Point? The Case of Mozambique

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    Africa is on the move. This is reflected for instance in strong economic growth that remained at around 5 per cent in spite of the global economic slow down; but also in terms of gradual structural transformation, as recently documented by the IMF. This gives rise to a legitimate new sense of Afro-optimism, first and foremost among Africans, but increasingly among international investors, notably from emerging economies.

    Yet, challenges are numerous. From South Africa to Nigeria and Egypt, the traditional African powerhouses have been confronted internally with diverse social, political, institutional and security turmoil. Poverty and inequalities remain high in most African countries, while basic principles of good governance are still too seldom pursued.

    How can African countries, some of which remain among the poorest in the world, best tap new opportunities to pursue effective inclusive and sustainable growth? This has been an underlying theme in ECDPM’s new GREAT Insights, ranging from African ambitions towards regional integration and trade linkages for development, to ways and means to mobilize domestic resources, to harness private sector forces for development, and to unleash the potential of natural resources like agriculture and the extractive sectors to stimulate balanced and sustainable development.

    For this last issue in its first year of publication, GREAT Insights focuses on the case of Mozambique as an illustrative example of an African country that has recently experienced high economic growth and discovered vast extractive resources. How will the country tackle the challenge of structural transformation in the coming years? How can natural resources windfalls be turned into a blessing and will the curse be avoided? Will the benefits be captured by the ruling elites or will they effectively contribute to alleviating the endemic poverty and extreme inequality that characterize the Mozambican society today? In particular, how can the still mostly rural population share parts of the Mozambican new dream and great economic potential? How will agriculture be developed? How many and what kind of jobs will be created? What is the vision of the government? And how can the international community best contribute to a positive transformation in Mozambique? Will donors still have a role, and if so what will it be? 

    While addressed in the context of Mozambique, these are issues that reflect some of the potential and existing challenges that all of Africa is confronted with.

    To shed light on some of these questions, this issue of GREAT Insights features an exclusive ECDPM interview with the Mozambican President Armando Emilio Guebuza, who highlights some of his ambitions and priorities for his country. In addition, Mozambican and international experts and officials share some of their insights on the various dimensions of the development opportunities and challenges facing Mozambique.

    We would like to take this opportunity to thank all the contributors to GREAT Insights this year for sharing their perspectives in a candid and insightful manner, as well as the institutions that have joined us to produce thematic issues of GREAT Insights. As always, we welcome your suggestions, comments and contributions, and thank you all for your interest in the issues raised in this magazine.

    San Bilal is Head of Economic Governance Programme and Policy Officer Trade & Economic Governance at ECDPM 

    This article was published in GREAT Insights Volume 1, Issue 10 (December  2012)

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