Keeping the Peace Profitable in Mozambique


Marianne Perez de Fransius – TRANSCEND Media Service

Mozambique has profited from its long period of peace, both in terms of tourism and foreign investment, but if they don’t transform the current conflict left over from the civil war, they have a lot to lose. Tourism is already suffering… who knows what will be next.

Mozambique has developed impressively since the signing of the 1992 Peace Accords ending 20 years of violent civil war. In 2013, “Mozambique experienced a strong GDP growth of 7.1%, one of the highest levels in sub-Saharan Africa, with a stable inflation rate of 4.2%. It is believed that the GDP figure may have been higher had the flooding in the beginning of the year not occurred. Nonetheless, Mozambique proved its economies robustness,” said Alex Segura the IMF’s Resident Representative at a recent press conference in Mozambique. Projections for 2014 and beyond are at 8% or higher. While the bulk of the growth has come from the mining industry, Mozambique does have a burgeoning tourism sector. With its 2500 km of coastline and over 100,000 sq km of national parks and wildlife conservation areas, it’s not surprising that the growth in global tourism has benefited Mozambique.

Since October 2013, however, there has been low grade yet steady fighting between the former guerilla group Renamo and government forces. This has already impacted tourism in the Vilanculos beach resort area. The local mayor reports that tourism-dependent businesses have a high level of uncertainty about the future with some already being forced to lay off workers. Rio Tinto, a London-based mining firm, has also said that they are pulling out all expatriate families.

A dip in tourism may not be enough of a loss of revenue for the Mozambican government to engage in some serious peace talks with Renamo, but multi-nationals pulling out their investments in the mining sector could be. The recent violence has mostly been in the form of attacks on vehicles along one of the main north-south roads in Mozambique. If violence impacts the transportation corridors used by mining firms, notably the Sena line to Beira port or the Nacala corridor, future investments will no doubt be impaired.

While Mozambique scores better than most other African countries on the Global Peace Index, the following indicators are quite high: perceived criminality in society, organized (internal) conflict, political terror, and UN Peacekeeping funding. These generally visible and mediatized factors can easily influence foreign investment. Mozambique also performs poorly on civil liberties, number of visitors, youth bulge, education spending, secondary and tertiary school enrolment, life expectancy and GDP (nominal and per capita). This set of factors is more likely to be an indication of how stable and long peace can be maintained. A youth bulge with low school enrolment/ education investment and an increasing gap between the rich and the poor is susceptible to political vitriol.

It is becoming clearer and clearer that profits and peace are closely connected. The Mozambican government should distribute the wealth it has accrued from the extractive industries more evenly in order to appease Renamo and prevent further violence. Additionally, it should use its increased revenues to invest in education, health and infrastructure, creating a more competent workforce and friendly business environment. But the onus does not fall solely on the government. Multi-nationals should adhere to Global Compact principles in order to complement the government in the above initiatives. This creates a win-win-win situation in which a more stable Mozambique leads to more foreign investment, generating more government revenues and giving the local population benefits from more job opportunities and public services.

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One Response to “Keeping the Peace Profitable in Mozambique”

  1. satoshi says:

    I am very glad to read the above article. Peace work should be profitable. The news that the above article can be considered as a proof that peace work can be profitable. But we need more proofs of that kind. Prove that those who work for peace can become tremendously rich; billionaires, trillionaires, quadrillionaires, quintillionaires, sextillionaires, septillionaires, or more.

    Some people who are working for peace complain that the salary of officials of the UN agencies, including those of UNHCR, UNHCHR, etc., is too high. Such complaint itself can be considered as a negative proof that those who work for peace obtain (relatively) low income. Be aware of the fact that those who work for military matters and weapon manufacturing/sales have never complained that the salary of those working for peace is too high. Those who work for military matters and weapon manufacturing /sales can be billionaires. Therefore, they do not complain about the salary of those working for peace. In this regard, be also aware of the fact that those staff members of the UN agencies, including those of UNHCR, UNHCHR, etc., have never become billionaires. Even if some of them are billionaires, it is not because of their UN salary. If they are billionaires, it is because either they were born in rich families or they made a huge amount of money by doing other business.

    Overall, the salary of the UN staff is determined based on the Noblemaire principle, which sets professional compensation based on the highest-paying national service. (Visit: Furthermore, due to the post adjustment system (which is also called the Cost Of Living Adjustment system or COLA), those UN officials who are working in least developed countries and who face horrible inconvenience (including finding proper accommodation, obtaining daily necessary items, commuting, languages, extreme climate, and more) and constant danger (including high risk of epidemic diseases, dangerous traffic and road conditions, physical security, mental health, and more) in their everyday life receive lower salary than those UN officials in the same rank, working in highly developed countries. Furthermore, it is very often that they (i.e. civilian UN officials) must work in a war-zone, a war-torn zone or areas similar to these zones. What would those who complain about the salary of the UN officials think if they knew that a UNHCR official in a war-zone, under artillery attacks and random shootings, search for a mentally retarded child escaping from the UNHCR refugee camp, for instance? He must search for the child even in the landmine field until he will find the child. What amount of the salary is the UN official as such actually receiving? What would those who complain about the salary of the UN officials think if they knew that a UN official may be ambushed by local military gangs during their human rights monitoring mission in the field, for instance? (A friend of mine, UN official, was killed like that.) In addition, the UN job is poor at the job security. If something (including some political incidents) happens, UN officials may lose their job immediately. Let those complain about the salary of the UN work at one of the duty stations in a least developed country. Or, let them work at any of those politically risky posts. Learn the taste of the food by eating it. Do not judge the taste of the food before eating it.

    Let those who are working for peace make a high profit. Let them prove that they can receive the amount of income that they truly deserve for their dedication to peace. This can be said of any of those who are contributing themselves to peace, not only of UN officials. The above article shows one of the first steps for that proof has just begun.