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May 17, 2007

David Morton on Mozambique

Really rather missing the point here I think:

Mozambique lacks the resources or the will to properly dispose of the hundreds of tons of deteriorating weaponry from a 16-year-long civil war that officially ended in 1992.

Note that word, resources.

But, most importantly, all this talk about privatization and being on the "right track" is very much beside the point. As Kaminski concedes, one in six Mozambican adults is infected with HIV. "Appreciating the change for the better takes some imagination," he writes. But you cannot speak of "the change for the better" unless the discussion starts with HIV. It's the only yardstick that matters in Mozambique, and in the rest of southern Africa as well. Some 37,000 Mozambican children contracted HIV in 2006, a jump of 60% over six years before. Nearly four of every 10 adults in Beira, the country's second largest city, are HIV-positive. Those are apocalyptic figures, however creative your thinking.

Yes, there is indeed such a crisis, but what is it that will be needed to deal with it? Resources. So all that talk about privatization and being on the right track is the point, not beside it at all.

In the comments, MysticBear gives a very good potted history of the country (the accuracy I don't vouch for, I just rather liked it).

One thing is true though, one of the problems really was the nature of the colonial power, Portugal.  You can argue whether they were there too long or not long enough but there was certainly no preparation for independence. From fighting vigorously (most especially in Angola) to buggering off home at the moment of the 1974 revolution back home was a turn on a sixpence. It's said that Mozambique was left with 33 university graduates at the moment of independence.

Now university graduates might not actually be necessary for the establishment of a decent economy but they certainly are if you're going to try and impose a Soviet style centralized one, run by the wise technocrats at the centre: rather presupposes the existence of said technocrats really.

No wonder the place was buggered.

May 17, 2007 in Make Poverty History | Permalink


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Mozambique lacks the resources or the will to properly dispose of the hundreds of tons of deteriorating weaponry

They see a problem. I see an opportunity.

How much would tourists pay to shoot genuine military ordnance used in an actual civil war?

Set up a couple of firing ranges, import some ex-Magsmen from South Africa to run them, place a tasteful display ad in Garden and Gun and Bob's your uncle.

Jobs for the locals! Valuable foreign exchange revenue for the government! Screams of horror from gun-grabbers left, far left and centre-left! What's not to like?

(Though the tone of this comment may be flippant, I genuinely think this idea would work. There are plenty of tourists ready to pay $100 to fly over Cape Town in an Ethiopian military surplus helicopter. Firing howitzers from the safety of the ground is no great stretch from this.)

Posted by: xj | May 17, 2007 11:10:30 PM