Mozambique: Government Admits ‘Endemic Corruption’

Maputo — In a key policy document, the Mozambican government has admitted there is “endemic corruption’ in the country.

This startling admission comes in the National Development Strategy (ENDE), for the period 2025-2044, which the Council of Ministers (Cabinet) approved last week.

“The endemic corruption in various sectors of society endangers the trust of citizens and the effectiveness of governance’, the document warns. “As a result there is a reduction in public confidence, theft of resources, inefficiency in the public administration, and a decline in economic growth’.

ENDE adds that the kidnappings of business people in Mozambican cities “are becoming a threat to personal safety and to public order’.

ENDE also laments the failure to diversify the economy “The dependence on sectors such as low productivity agriculture and the extractive industry has limited economic diversification’, it says. “As a result the country has become susceptible to external shocks, to limited economic growth and to lack of innovation and competitiveness’.

“Macro-economic instability caused by adverse shocks has resulted in lower than expected economic growth, resulting in lower investment, increased unemployment and reduced government capacity to finance essential social and infrastructure programmes’.

ENDE admits that the desired economic diversification is simply not happening. In 2022, 75 per cent of the Mozambican labour force was working in the primary sector (agriculture and natural resources), but the low technological level of Mozambican agriculture meant that the primary sector only accounted for 37 per cent of GDP.

Agricultural productivity remains very low, ENDE admits, and farmers have little access to fertilisers and modern technologies. Those working in agriculture and fisheries are mostly “individuals with no formal education and who never went to school’.

The industrial sector, ENDE notes, is very small, with low levels of investment, and a work force that is mostly unskilled. The percentage of the work force employed in manufacturing industry remains just four per cent, and over the last two decades the share of manufacturing in the Mozambican GDP has fallen from 19 to 12 per cent.

Services, transport and tourism accounted for 61 per cent of GDP in 2000, but this fell to 50 per cent in 2022. At the same time the percentage of the work force employed in these sectors rose from nine per cent to 20 per cent.

One success story is health care. ENDE notes that, thanks to the increased number of health units, “around 67 per cent of the population has access to a health unit’.

Thanks to vaccination against the main childhood diseases, the incidence of these illnesses has declined in recent decades, although child mortality and malnutrition remain high. ENDE admits that “waiting times, and the shortage of essential medicines and of medical equipment cause dissatisfaction among the public’.

ENDE has much harsher words for the education system. “The poor quality of education prevents young people from enjoying better job opportunities and limits their prospects for a better quality of life’, it says.

The average number of pupils per teacher in basic education is 64, which “has an impact on levels of learning’.

“Overcrowding in the schools, reflected in the high pupil/teacher ratio, in the shortage of classrooms, in the lack of essential water and sanitation facilities in many schools, as well as the shortage of qualified teachers, are persistent challenges’, ENDE declares.

These factors lead to “a high level of school wastage, expressed by the large number of pupils, particularly girls, who drop out, the high failure rates and the low percentage of pupils who finish each educational level’.