Mozambique is on the south-east coast of Africa and is more than eleven times the size of Ireland. Despite the fact that the country’s economy is growing rapidly, more than half of the population lives in poverty. Many face everyday challenges such as accessing basic services, climatic shocks including drought and flooding, and over-reliance on subsistence farming. Mozambique is one of Ireland’s key partner countries and we work with the Government and a range of non-governmental organisations, supporting programmes that ensure people are better educated and healthier, that farmers can produce enough to feed their families and that people play a fuller role in decision making about their country and its future.
- Our Work
Mozambique at a glance
Proportion of population living on less than $1.90 a day:
Ranking on UN Human Development Index 2018:
180 out of 187 countries
Key Partner Country since:
Ireland and Mozambique
Since the opening of our Embassy and the setting up of the official aid programme in 1996, Ireland has worked with a variety of partner organisations including government institutions, UN agencies, civil society organisations, international research institutions and aid agencies to deliver on our development objectives as set out in our country strategy documents (most recently the Mozambique Country Strategy Plan 2012-2016, extended to 2017), which are designed in close alignment with the Government of Mozambique’s own poverty reduction and national development plans and strategies. Ireland’s strategies also align closely with global development agendas, of which Mozambique is a signatory, such as the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs).
While in the process of developing a new long-term Mission Strategy, Ireland will be implementing a transition strategy covering the period 2018-2019. The overarching objective of this strategy will be to ensure that marginalized and vulnerable people, particularly women and girls, access quality essential services and are more resilient, served by more capable and accountable government institutions. This transition period will allow Ireland the time to develop a comprehensive strategic response to the ever-changing development environment in Mozambique and will bring more focus and stronger coherence between select thematic areas and between levels of engagement. It will also seek to use our influence more strategically and position the Embassy to explore how to bring the best of what Ireland can offer to Mozambique and how Ireland could benefit most from what Mozambique offers.
Through Irish Aid’s Fellowship programme, funding has been provided for a number of scholarships for citizens of Mozambique for full-time study at Masters Level as part of Ireland's wider development cooperation. Operating for over 40 years, Irish Aid Fellowships have supported more than 2,000 successful awardees, from around the world, who have returned to their organisations on completing their studies, committed to putting their acquired knowledge and skills into practice for the benefit of the wider community. We are also working to improve trade relations between Ireland and Mozambique. Improving economic growth is generating increased opportunities for trade in both directions. A number of Irish companies have invested in Mozambique in areas such as agriculture and mining.
One of Africa’s most vibrant countries, Mozambique became independent from Portugal in 1975. Its formative years were dominated by a two-decade long and brutal civil war. When peace came in 1992 it found Mozambique a devastated country.
It has been one of Africa’s best performing economies until recently and a successful example of post‑conflict reconstruction and development. In spite of the country’s good record on political stability, a conflict re-emerged in the last few years, culminating in 2018 with a memorandum between President Nyusi and the RENAMO leader. This set out a road map for disarmament, demobilization and reintegration of the armed wing of RENAMO.
The Mozambique Liberation Front, FRELIMO, holds the majority of parliament seats, President Filipe Nyusi was elected in October 2014. Municipal elections were held this year in which Ireland participated as part of the Elections Working Group.
The Government of Mozambique’s five Year Plan 2015-2019 (Programa Quinquenal do Governo) aims to improve the living conditions of Mozambican people by increasing employment, production and competitiveness, creating wealth and generating balanced and inclusive development, in an environment of peace, security, harmony, solidarity, justice and cohesion.
Mozambique remains one of the poorest countries in the world with aid accounting for 14.2% of gross national income in 2017. The country experienced two decades of 7.5% annual average economic growth which has slowed down over 2017 given the fall in commodity prices, currency depreciation, the revelation of undisclosed debt of $2bn in 2016 and the El Niño drought. In the medium-term, Government will continue to face great difficulties in balancing its budget with associated pressures on financing public services.
Still, the country is well placed to benefit from its abundance of natural resources, particularly gas and coal and its huge agricultural potential, which remains the single most important driver of economic growth.
The Embassy commissioned the Institute of Security Studies to undertake a complex long-term forecasting exercise to 2040, examining a number of core development indicators and to explore alternative futures through scenario analysis. Government endorsed this exercise and committed to using the forecasting tool.
In 2018 Mozambique ranks 180 out of 189 countries in the United Nations’ Human Development Index (Ireland is ranked fourth). It is classified as one of the world’s most vulnerable countries with regards to natural disasters and the effects of climate change. Approx. 65% of the population live in rural areas and are primarily engaged in subsistence agriculture.
Mozambique has made progress in development, including:
- ensuring that girls have the same educational opportunities as boys
- the reduction of infant mortality
- cutting the incidence of malaria and other diseases
In 2015, Mozambique was recognised by the FAO and WFP for its achievement of MDG 1C – to halve the proportion of people who suffer from hunger by 2015. The country is now engaging with the 2030 Agenda and the 2018 Monitoring Round by the Global Partnership of Effective Development Cooperation to assess progress on the SDGs.
However, despite impressive economic growth until 2016, 62.9% of the population are living below the international poverty line (USD 1.90 a day). Around 12.3% of the adult population are affected by HIV and AIDS.
While overall poverty rates have reduced, the provinces of Inhambane and Niassa, where Irish Aid supports provincial development, both remain especially vulnerable. Niassa still has high levels of poverty and malnutrition while Inhambane is particularly vulnerable to climate change and drought.
In Mozambique, Irish Aid works with a variety of partner organisations at national and local levels including government institutions, UN agencies, international research institutions and non-governmental organisations (NGOs) to deliver results in three main areas:
Improving health, nutrition and education services
At a national level, Irish Aid’s priority in Mozambique is to support improvements in education and health, with a focus on nutrition.
Ireland has been a strong supporter of primary education, with a focus on building schools, training teachers, providing textbooks, developing a new curriculum and protecting girls from sexual harassment in school. We have also provided support to strengthen the monitoring and assessment of education results.
Irish Aid is supporting the health sector’s efforts to address severe challenges through a programme which champions maternal and child health. Irish Aid support includes the training of health workers (including the first nutritionists), expansion of community-based health services and improving efficiencies in the purchase and distribution of medicines and supplies. Ireland’s partnership with the Clinton Health Access Initiative (CHAI) aims to provide financial and technical support to the Government of Mozambique in its fight against HIV and AIDs and maternal mortality, and to help strengthen national health systems.
Irish Aid also supports research on nutrition, including research on Vitamin A-rich sweet potato through the International Potato Centre (CIP) and on behavioural practices which influence what people eat.
We support the capacity of the local government authorities to deliver key social services to rural communities. These include basic community-based health services, education and agriculture. In Inhambane, we are supporting improvements to the rural water supply and working with the most vulnerable households in drought prone districts.
Reducing vulnerability and enhancing livelihoods
The Irish Aid programme is targeting vulnerable groups through continued support to the operationalization of the Government’s new national strategy for social protection primarily in partnership with UNICEF, ILO and the Ministry for Gender, Children and Social Action. With Irish support, there has been encouraging progress in getting Mozambique’s national social protection system onto a firm footing: a more comprehensive policy framework and many of the necessary building blocks are now in place.
We are also supporting a nationwide fortification programme which aims to fortify foods such as flour and oil with much needed essential nutrients.
As part of a private sector strategy, Ireland has a three-pronged approach to Local Economic Development in Mozambique. Irish Aid supports initiatives and entrepreneurs such as Dona Rachida, a chilli production farm with 5 out-growers, providing training to farmers and extension workers on the best agriculture practices including conservation agriculture as well technical assistance to local SME. This helps to ensure increased opportunities for small holder farmers, especially women farmers, by improving their skills and access to markets and resources such as water and land.
The promotion of secure livelihoods continues to give positive results through interventions with CARE International. These aim to build the capacity of vulnerable communities in Inhambane Province promoting conservation agriculture and drought tolerant crops, green manure, mixed cropping system, diversification, market access together with savings and credit schemes and assisting access to social security services (campaigns of ID issuance).
The Gorongosa National Park Restoration Project has implemented integrated human development initiatives for the last 10 years to which Irish Aid has contributed to. The project area covers about 200 000 people primarily in the buffer zone around the national park. An area brittle to political and conflict circumstances. The initiative includes health, education and other essential community development initiatives. Overall, interventions in Northern Buffer Zone region reached 9,000 families.
The drought situation, further aggravated by the onset of El Niño, continued to have a severe impact on parts of the country into 2017. Inhambane province was hit by tropical cyclone DINEO which affected around 112,500 families, destroyed over 2,000 school classrooms affecting more than 160,000 students and damaged 70 health structures. Ireland played a central role in providing financial resources (€475,000) to mitigate the situation, whilst also working closely with the Government advising on approaches to adopt, as well as mobilising other development agents at national level in support of the Province.
Supporting improved accountability to citizens
It is important that citizens can participate in decision-making processes that affect their lives, and that they can hold the Government to account at both national and local levels. The Irish Aid programme supports the strengthening of domestic accountability in Mozambique in a number of ways.
Irish Aid is building the capacity of local and national Government to be more accountable. We work with the Ministry of Economy and Finance so that it is better able to plan, monitor and budget its resources. We also support the implementation of Mozambique’s national decentralisation programme, which is helping to improve the ability of local bodies and agencies to manage public resources in a transparent way.
Our support for the establishment of the Institute for Social and Economic Studies (IESE) to undertake research on socio-economic issues has paid off as in recent years information is available and helps stimulate debate about public policy. The research conducted over the last decade is one of the resources used by civil society organisations, political parties and government in the debate on the importance of decentralisation for conflict management in Mozambique.
We also support a wide range of civil society organisations (CSOs) to demand improved delivery of services and to monitor the performance of Government. A key one is the MASC Foundation, a Mozambican non-profit organization that functions as a mechanism to support the granting of subsidies and the development of civil society capacities. MASC is committed to building, consolidating and reinforcing initiatives that strengthen the capacity of civil society to engage critically and constructively in a positive dialogue with government, the private sector and communities. Ultimately, they aim to improve the effectiveness of CSOs and promote the sustainable development of Civil Society in Mozambique.
How we spend our budget
Ireland provided just over €25million in support of our development programmes in 2017 to:
- strengthen capacity to bolster resilience of poor people at local level
- improve household food security and nutrition
- improve access, quality and use of basic health &education services
- strengthen transparency and participation in development processes
At national level, Mozambique has made significant progress in these areas:
- The enrolment rate of children aged 6 in school increased from 73% in 2012 to 84.5% in 2017
- The number of adults with severe HIV on antiretroviral treatment increased from 282,687 in 2012 to 914,132 in 2016.
- The number of households covered by the social protection direct programme increased from 310,305 in 2012 to 372,249 in 2016.
How we have helped
- Ireland was the co-chair of the international donor group on nutrition and our ongoing work has contributed to a fall in mortality rate, as a result of malnutrition from 25% in 2010 to 5% in 2017.
- Ireland has been working directly with the government to improve access to basic services. An example of this improvement is that over the past five years we have seen a 10% increase in school enrolment at primary level.
- The number of supervised births, a major indicator of success in reducing maternal mortality, rose from 64% in 2012 to 83% in 2017. In Niassa province, supervised births increased drastically from 60.5% in 2012 to 94.5% in 2017.
- In Inhambane province, access to potable water increased by 9% in the last two years, to which Ireland contributed to through partnerships with local government.
Download the Irish Aid Country Strategy Paper
Irish Aid’s Mozambique’s Country Strategy Paper 2012 – 2016 (PDF, 858kb) sets out how we respond to the changing development environment in Mozambique.
Irish Aid Annual Report 2017 details the many results delivered through Ireland's aid programme, Irish Aid, across our partner countries, including Mozambique, in 2017. It includes key policy developments, and details of Irish Aid expenditure across the world.
Where is Mozambique?