Post-poll Mozambique on verge of an economic boom

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From Arimando Domingos in Maputo


IN line with pre-poll projections, incumbent Filipe
Nyusi won the national exercise and the opposition parties settled for
the scraps during the recently held general elections in Mozambique.

The emphatic victory, indicating Nyusi garnered 73 percent of the votes,
has paved the way for him to preside over an economic expansion that
might steer Mozambique into the fastest-growing economy in the
foreseeable future.

Front for the Liberation of Mozambique (Frelimo) candidate, Nyusi,
secured a landslide 73 percent of the October 15 vote.

His closest rival for the top post, Ossufo Momade, leader of former
rebel movement-turned - opposition Mozambique National Resistance
(Renamo), trailed with 22 percent.

Nyusi’s victory comes at a time the country of about 30 million people
is on the verge of an economic boom, buoyed by the discovery of gas
reserves in recent years, but under pressure to address rampant poverty.

Eventually, it is anticipated Mozambique would be the country with the
largest gross domestic product (GDP) per person on the continent.

“These results set the stage for President Nyusi, who is expected to
oversee a substantial growth explosion in his country,” said Daniel
Kavishe, First Rand Group economist.

“(The growth) might lead to Mozambique being the fastest-growing economy
in a few years’ time and the country with the largest GDP per capita in
Africa,” he projected.

Kavishe, however, noted it would not be plain sailing for Nyusi, in power
since 2014 after succeeding Armando Guebuza.

“While the economy is set to rally, President Filipe will be facing
other challenges,” the economist forecasted.

“These include ensuring that state account affairs remain in good stead,
given the growing debt profile and continued mistrust from international
agencies since the ‘discovery’ of billions of dollars’ worth of debt a
few years ago.”

Kavishe advised Nyusi to secure and uphold a peace deal signed by
Frelimo and Renamo.

Renamo is contesting the outcome of the poll.

Another issue is the attacks perpetrated by suspected Muslim extremists
in the northern regions, mostly the Cabo Delgado.

Coincidentally, Nyusi was born in that province.

More than 300 people have been killed in the region since the insurgency
by militants in the resources-rich Cabo Delgado.

“So, while the elections affirm a strong sense of continuity, Nyusi has
his work cut out for him if he is to deliver the promises he made to his
state to ensure peace and economic prosperity,” Kavishe stated.

Plans to reconstruct Mozambique after the devastating effects of the
cyclones Idai and Kenneth recently received a major boost after the
World Bank approved an International Development Association (IDA) grant
of US$35 million from the institution’s Crises Response Window.

This is additional financing to scale up the government’s safety net
programmes.

“The recent natural disaster events have resulted in tremendous human
suffering in rural and urban communities throughout Mozambique,” noted
Mark Lundell, World Bank regional director.

“This project will help the extremely poor households affected by these
natural hazards by providing temporary income support while continuing
the efforts of putting in place the building blocks of a social safety
net system in the country.”

This additional financing aims at scaling up the project’s activities in
the cyclones and flood affected areas by expanding direct cash transfers
activities to vulnerable households as well as support post-emergency
public works to facilitate reconstruction activities in the affected
areas.

Over 115 000 additional households will be supported in 15 districts at
provinces including and Cabo Delgado, Manica and Sofala.

These funds are part of the World Bank’s broader package, which
comprises a set of operations totaling about $700 million in IDA
resources to support cyclone response in Malawi, Mozambique and
Zimbabwe.

- CAJ News

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