Mozambique is still ranked as one of the poorest countries in the world by the UNDP Index 2012 and is facing a very delicate social economic moment, due to the increasing prices of goods and fuel and the high levels of unemployment.
In the political sphere, the country has known some stability, despite some threats of violence from Renamo, the major opposition party. The Mozambican National Resistance party is increasingly facing a descent into insignificance. Since the former rebel group was transformed into a political party, it has been constantly losing votes, while MDM, a party recently formed by former Renamo’s members, is occupying space in the politic scenario of the country and is now leading two municipalities in the big cities of Mozambique in the north of the country.
Economically, the contribution of mega- projects is gradually reducing the economic dependence of the country. It is planned that in 2013 the national budget will be strongly supported by local funds (estimated at 70%) and the International donors will only cover the missing 30 per cent. The State Budget in 2012 will benefit from the contribution of 17% from the coal mine sector exports with an expectation of reaching 22% per annum. In terms of budget allocation by social sector, education will receive 17,7% and health 7,6%. In contrast, the social sector (Ministry of Women and Social Affairs) remains with an insignificant 1% of share from the national budget.
This scenario is encouraging, but in reality the results are still not visible in the majority of Mozambican lives. Economically the country is still struggling to achieve the basic conditions of living for the majority of 23 000 000 of its inhabitants.
Since 2005, the Central Government has decided to allocate 7 millionmeticais, corresponding to 233 000, 00 USD per year, to create a small credit scheme to support small projects for vulnerable people in all Districts of the Countries. However the impact of this decision is still not visible.
The increase of cooperation between China and Mozambique is remarkable. A large part of China’s investment in Mozambique is in infrastructure in general,and in roads in particular.China’s presence is growing rapidly in neighbouring Zambia, Malawi and Zimbabwe, all of which are landlocked with their closest exit to sea via Mozambique. The ports at Maputo, Beira and Nacala are all of great potential in servicing the region, while the deep harbour at Pemba could be regionally-important once developed. Several enterprises are thus looking to base regional offices in Maputo, but Mozambican harbours, roads and railways will need upgrading to materialise these projects.
During the reporting year, Mozambique suffered once more from the effects of cycle natural disasters, the Dandoand Funsotropical storms, which affected more than 117,000 people, left 40 dead and resulted in high social and infrastructures losses. Natural disasters are pointed out by World Bank as one of the major factors for the country not progressing substantially in the achievements of MDG.
The country is still among the countries with the highest rates of infant mortality in the world due to malaria, diarrhoea, HIV and AIDS and poor access to drinking water. According to a study by the National Statistics Institute (INE), it was estimated that 93 deaths are recorded for every thousand children born.
According to a study made by the World Bank and Save the Children (2010), the country faces large deficits in the development of education in early childhood.In this chapter, 2012 was a turning point, with the adoption by the Government of a Strategic Plan for Early Childhood.This was a response to the realisation that early childhood education affects highly the education success rates and the integral development of children in later stages. In the country, only 4% of children have access to early child education.
Health is still a critical concern, and official statistics show that 44 per cent of Mozambican children suffer from malnutrition. The Mozambican government has set the task of reducing this rate of malnutrition among children under the age of five from 44 per cent to 20 per cent by 2015.
The 2010 report on “Child Poverty and Disparities in Mozambique” published by UNICEF in June 2011, eleven per cent of girls aged between 11 and 15 years are infected with HIV and 70 per cent of students experienced cases of sexual abuse in their schools.
Statistically, Mozambique is among the countries in the world that has a high rate on early marriages, with 55.9% of girls married before age 18. About 60% of Mozambican uneducated girls are married before 18, compared with 10% of girls in secondary education and less than 1% of girls in higher and tertiary education. This issue is addressed by a new tdh-funded project.
Another concerning trend is the increasedrates on child abuse, reported from Child Line Maputo, a tdh partner. According to the National Council for Child Rights Report published in April 2012, about 2.116 children were involved in conflict with the law and the issue of children as actors and victims of crime remain a major concern.