Kester Kenn Klomegah
The Chairperson of the Southern African Development Community (SADC) and Mozambican President, Filipe Nyusi, has to make consistent efforts toward addressing the systemic governance deficit, deepening political discontent, and widening socio-economic disparity as the surest possible way to maintain long-term peaceful environment in Mozambique.
That was the message, at least, emerging from discussions via a videoconference held by the Centre for Strategic and International Studies (CSIS) of the United States.
Hanna Tetteh, Special Representative of the UN Secretary-General António Guterres to the African Union (AU) and Head of the United Nations Office to the African Union, among other high-ranking speakers and experts expressed that the fact that Mozambique has mobilize its own resources, then supported by SADC.
Tetteh further suggested that Mozambican government has to understand the primary internal challenges and analyse the roots causes of rising armed attacks in the country, and with the possibility of spreading to other parts within Southern Africa.
The United Nations Special Representative to the African Union explained that the insurgency situation in Mozambique is not advanced enough to justify international military intervention or peacekeeping operations.
She argues that “there is still the opportunity to be able to use political processes to try and get people to come back from the brink and to address some of the root causes of the conflicts. And I think that in Mozambique, for instance, as a case in point is one of the situations where we’re talking about a counterterrorism as opposed to a peacekeeping engagement activity.”
The support has to be given at the level of bringing “the political tools to bear to try and create solutions within those regions and deal with some of the governance deficits that they have – lack of service provision, challenges with inequality – and, of course, at the same time, to provide a humanitarian response.” she emphasised.
According to the UN official, the various organisations have to converge tools and structures, through collaboration, in order to “be more proactive on the prevention as opposed to having to spend money on the peacekeeping”.
According to several reports, the armed violence in Cabo Delgado, northern Mozambique, has been going on for the past three and a half years but gained a new dimension on March 24 when armed groups first attacked the village of Palma, which is about 6km from the multi-million dollar natural gas projects. It has had devastating effects – displacement of approximately 700,000 people, created worsening a humanitarian crisis.
Many business in the region have badly been affected – Agostinho Vuma, the President of the Confederation of Economic Associations (CTA), estimated huge loss of US$209 million and the closure of 1,110 companies.
“The other 750 companies suffered indirect impacts due to their exposure in the various value chains, whose flow (of activity) was interrupted following the recent attack on Palma district,” the CTA president said.
In addition, he said that US$100 million corresponded to losses in agricultural production, US$95 million in physical capital and US$14 million in cash flow in the various value chains.
While deploring kidnappings of business people and their relatives – another crime that is already hindering investment and gives an image of an unstable Mozambique, Vuma mentioned ways to promote the sustainability of the business sector linked to the natural gas megaprojects in Cabo Delgado.
According to latest report on the Regional Economic Outlook: Sub-Saharan Africa, released April 15 by the IMF in Washington, Mozambique needs to address, as swiftly as possible, all kinds of internal conflicts, warning further that the conflicts have serious negative influences on the evolution of the country’s economy.
“What is going on in Cabo Delgado, in Palma, is just horrendous, all the more so because this latent insurgency has been identified as a threat several for many years,” Abebe Aemro Selassie said at a media conference, presenting the report in Washington.
That however, the IMF expects Mozambique to recover after establishing a peaceful environment, and begins to make economic growth from the current rate 2.8 percent, but the economic growth rate predicted to increase to 4.7 percent in 2022.
With an approximate population of 30 million, Mozambique is endowed with rich and extensive natural resources, but remains as one of the poorest and most underdeveloped countries in the world. The IMF has classified it as a heavily indebted poor country.
Over the past few years, the economy has been shaken by a number of serious corruption scandals, and the government has achieved little results with its anti-corruption efforts.
Mozambique is a country located in Southeastern Africa bordered by the Indian Ocean to the east, Tanzania to the north, Malawi and Zambia to the northwest, Zimbabwe to the west, Eswatini and South Africa to the southwest. It is one of the 16 countries, with collective responsibility to promote socio-economic and political and security cooperation, within SADC. – Eurasia Review
Kester Kenn Klomegah is a Special Representative for Africa on the Board of the Russian Trade and Economic Development Council
Tackle root causes of conflict
The Executive Secretary of the Southern African Development Community (SADC), Dr Stergomena Lawrence Tax, on April 14, 2021 joined calls by Africa’s former Heads of State and Government, under the Africa Forum, to address the root causes of conflict and instability to ensure sustainable peace, stability and development on the continent.
Dr Tax made the call in her address to the Africa Forum Core Group Stakeholder Consultation Meeting which was convened virtually by the Secretariat of the Africa Forum in collaboration with the Government of Japan and the United Nations Development Programme (UNDP).
The Africa Forum is advancing the notion of a New Approach to Peace and Stability in Africa (NAPSA), which aims to focus on addressing root causes of conflict, that will complement the work of the African Union and Regional Economic Communities (RECs).
Dr Tax highlighted that former Heads of State have previously made significant contributions to peace and security in the SADC Region through their involvement in mediation and conflict resolution. Dr Tax cited the role of Former President of South Africa, Thabo Mbeki, in bringing political parties together after the 2008 elections in Zimbabwe, leading to the establishment of the Government of National Unity as well as the work of Former President of Mozambique, Joaquim Alberto Chissano who was the SADC Mediator and Special Envoy to Madagascar whose efforts led to the holding of the 2018 elections and the eventual peaceful transfer of power in Madagascar.
While committing to continue working with the Africa Forum, the SADC Executive Secretary noted that the Forum’s new approach to peace and security, is line with measures put in place by SADC to addresses the current and potential threats to economic and political stability in the Region as identified in the peace and security threat assessment that was conducted by SADC in 2020.
The identified threats, include poverty, marginalisation and exclusion, radicalisation and extremism, political and economic exploitation, illicit trade in natural resources, forms of violence including gender-based violence, organised crime and criminal activities, abuse of social media, and a migration crisis.
In their remarks at the meeting, HE Chissano, who is Chairperson of the Africa Forum, HE Nicephore Soglo, Former President of the Republic of Benin and Vice-Chairperson of the Africa Forum, HE Mbeki, HE Ellen Johnson Sirleaf, Former President of the Republic of Liberia, and HE Hailemariam Desalegn Boshe, Former Prime Minister of Federal Democratic Republic of Ethiopia, underscored that the new approach to peace and stability should sustainably silence the gun, while addressing poverty, exclusion and marginalisation, particularly among the youth who constitute 70 percent of the 1.3 billion of the Africa’s population.
Professor John Tesha, Executive Secretary of the Africa Forum Secretariat, said that Former Heads of States have the experience that Africa can tap into to consolidate peace, security and development.The Africa Forum is a platform for former African Heads of State and Government which aims to harness the experience, moral authority and good offices of former African Heads of State and Government to advance African development, particularly by promoting sustainable peace and security, enhancing and sustaining democratic governance in Africa and promoting human rights. – sadc.int