by Andreas Perez de Fransius, Peace is Profitable Contributor
While it rarely finds itself in the world’s headlines, Mozambique has been one of the most dynamic economies in the world over the past few years. Its growth rates are consistently in the world’s top ten and projected investments for the coming years are set to continue this trend. The country is also a vivid example of the benefits of peace, as growth took off following the signing of the 1992 peace accords, ending years of violent conflict.
At the same time roughly half the country’s population continue to live in abject poverty. This is partly a result of vicious colonial rule under Portugal, which left the country with only a handful of university graduates at independence in 1975. Years of civil war, stoked by outside powers such as apartheid South Africa, also left much of the country in ruins.
Mozambique is now receiving an influx of investments in extractive industries, notably mining and gas. The problem is that these capital-heavy projects do little to provide employment for the country’s young population. In fact, the vast majority of people continue to work as smallholder farmers. Uncharacteristically, even the World Bank is now arguing that raising agricultural productivity holds the key to inclusive economic growth in the country.
During my recent visit to the country I was therefore excited to visit the new installations of Mozfoods in the town of Chokwe. The company’s modern facilities offer a taste of the type of innovative agricultural solutions that the country sorely needs. The company actively works with smallholder farms and provides fair compensation to the region’s rice farmers. Aside from rice, it exports spicy piripiri and chili under fair trade brands. Such tasty and potentially arousing spices herald a bright future for Mozfoods and the beautiful country of Mozambique.