In late November 2017 more than 100 people gathered in Maputo, Mozambique, to participate in a joint reflection on poverty and inequality in the country.
We had the opportunity to host eight international researchers who shared new evidence on inequality and multidimensional poverty in Mozambique (/node/150163) and neighbouring countries. They were joined by seven Mozambican researchers who shared the results of their own studies on dimensions such as poverty and pro-poor growth, rights to land and land use, gender, and education. The following day a smaller group gathered (/node/150207), this time to try and make sense of the evidence shared at the conference and think about what it all means for the development of Mozambique.
What stuck with me
Four main ideas raised at these events stuck with me. The first was the realization that, while attaining strong economic growth rates and a positive performance in poverty reduction, Mozambique's growth in the last twenty years has been non-inclusive. This can be seen through the Gini coefficient of consumption, which has grown from 0.397 in 1996 to 0.468 in 2014, as measured in the successive poverty assessments undertaken by the Mozambican government.
Second, while economic inequality in urban Mozambique is the highest, it should not be the only aspect capturing the attention of policy makers. Spatial inequalities, both between rural and urban areas, as well as between provinces have increased significantly. Gender-based inequalities are also not reducing.
The third idea that stuck with me is the realization of the path of structural transformation that Mozambique is currently on--replacing agriculture not with manufacturing industry, but with extractive industry and services.
Together with this realization came the fourth impression, born from fresh new evidence. The growth incidence curves of the different sectors of activity within the country indicate that sectorial growth profiles are themselves inequality-inducing, with the exception of agriculture and rural services.
Overall these realizations left me with the sense that more needs to be done.
A sense of urgency
Spatial inequalities in Mozambique are an uneasy, uncomfortable topic that engenders politically contentious narratives. The grievances regarding an urban, southern Mozambique, closer to the capital Maputo, that, while already faring better than other areas, appears to benefit from the fruits of the growth path the country is...