With a robust economy, Mozambique’s iconic beaches, coral reefs and rich fisheries support the lives and livelihoods of millions of people and provide critical refuge for diverse species. To build on its prosperity, the country looks to pursue green growth.
Mozambique, once a coastal trading port for gold, sits along the southeastern coast of the African continent. The country is around 800,000 square kilometers, with 2,470 kilometers of coastline on the Indian Ocean. Mozambique has historically been devastated by decades of war but since then, Mozambique has enjoyed peace and prosperity. Food and manufactured goods production has bolstered economic growth and economic success continues to bode well for the future. Mozambique’s participation in the Gaborone Declaration for Sustainability in Africa will help the country to take this economic growth and channel it into sustainable development and green growth.
To the eastern coast of Mozambique lies the Indian Ocean, the nation’s iconic beaches, coral reefs and rich fisheries. On the coastline and surrounded by the fertile river valleys is where a majority of the population can be found. From the coastline, there is a vast, low savanna plateau which rises to the north and west and accounts for nearly half the area of Mozambique. Beyond this plateau are the western and northern highlands which are patched with forests. These highlands lead into major rivers, such as the Zambezi, which flow into the Indian Ocean. This area is subject to frequent and devastating floods during the rainy season which often displace thousands of people.
Coastal Ecosystems and Fisheries
Mozambique’s coastline supports a wide diversity of life in its stretches of coral reefs, estuaries, mangroves and islands. These ecosystems support a variety of species; Mozambique’s coral reefs have been declared some of the most diverse in Africa. These reefs are subject to bleaching from rising sea temperatures as the earth becomes warmer. Mangroves are crucial to Mozambique’s aquatic biodiversity as they are the breeding grounds and nurseries for many species, including five of the world’s seven marine turtle species. These coastal habitats and fisheries provide a main source of food and livelihoods for many Mozambicans. Fishing has been linked to food security and economic growth in Mozambique, and brings in annual revenue of around USD $80 million. These fisheries must be harvested sustainably if they are to continue contributing to Mozambique’s economy.
Over the last 25 years peace and stability have contributed to Mozambique’s economic growth which has averaged around 7% each year. Minerals and extractives have contributed significantly to Mozambique’s economy with aluminum being the biggest earner. Other natural resources such as iron ore, gold, bauxite, graphite, marble and limestone are important to the economy. Mozambique’s highlands are known for being rich in coal, which is starting to contribute to economic growth. Agriculture is also a significant part of the country’s gross domestic product (GDP), around 25% of GDP, and employs 80% of the country’s labor force. Fisheries also constitute a large portion of Mozambique’s economy, further demonstrating how Mozambique’s economy is clearly linked to its natural resources and protecting them is crucial to future economic growth.
Mozambique and the Gaborone Declaration for Sustainability in Africa
The Gaborone Declaration for Sustainability in Africa’s Secretariat functions to provide assistance to signatory countries in meeting their Declaration goals and outcomes to achieve sustainable development. With Mozambique’s National Coordinating Agency for Sustainable Development (CONDES), in coordination with Mozambique’s other departments and the Gaborone Declaration’s Secretariat, Mozambique prioritizes building capacity in natural capital accounting, managing its mangroves, and establishing a monitoring framework which supplements the work already being done by the Environmental Statistics Compendium. Mozambique also plans to prioritize its forest protection through effective forest governance and the management of its fisheries.
National Strategies and Poverty Eradication
The Mozambique Government has put in place policies and strategies that speak directly to implementation of the Gaborone Declaration. The nation’s Five-Year Government Plan and the Green Economy Action Plan both support sustainable development. Alongside CONDES the government also established the 2007-2017 Environmental Strategy for Sustainable Development, a robust national strategy to protect Mozambique’s natural capital. As of 2012, the Ministry for the Coordination of Environmental Affairs (MICOA) published a report on the Environmental and Economic Analysis of Natural Resources Management in Mozambique to present the results of the assessments on the environment and natural resources for decision makers. The Poverty Reduction Action Plan (PARP) (2011-2014) focuses on sectors depending on natural resources, such as agriculture and fisheries to cut poverty. Through Mozambique’s various departments and agencies dedicated to the environment, Mozambique can hope to achieve sustainable development and green economic growth to eradicate poverty.
Natural Capital Accounting
The Mozambique Ministry for the Coordination of Environmental Affairs (MICOA) with the UN-PEI released the 2012 Environmental Economic Analysis of Natural Resources Management in Mozambique Report which was a report of Mozambique’s natural capital’s contribution to the economy. The report s drew attention to the lack of natural resource accounts in the Mozambican economy and official statistics, especially in regards to subsistence agriculture, forestry and fisheries. In 2014 the World Bank developed the report “How Wealthy is Mozambique after the Discovery of Coal and Gas? Measuring Wealth in Mozambique Using the Wealth Accounting Framework” which identified the value of natural resources to the Mozambican economy using the wealth accounting framework. This wealth accounting framework is a subset of natural capital accounting which considers natural asset accounts in addition to traditional economic accounting. This concept is not yet fully integrated into the national policy and planning but lays the ground work for further capacity building in natural capital accounting.
Private Sector Partnerships
Mozambique has been an attractive place for foreign direct investment in extractive industries, including the offshore gas industry. Currently there are negotiations between these industries and the Mozambique Government. As of 2014 a bill was passed that conservation areas will be managed through a Management Council, which includes representation from various stakeholders such as local communities, private businesses and local state bodies. This council establishes partnerships between the private and public sector over natural resource conservation in a way that can be scaled throughout the country and complement objectives of the Gaborone Declaration.
Image credits, top to bottom: © Manda Wilderness Community Trust/photo by Kristina Low; © bartolomeo/Flickr Creative Commons; © William Crosse
Mozambique Quick Facts
Mozambique's economic growth has recently averaged about 7% per year.
In Mozambique, fishing brings in an annual revenue of around $80 million per year.
Agriculture accounts for approximately 25% of Mozambique's GDP, and employs 80% of the country's labor force.
Gaborone Declaration for Sustainability in Africa Focal Point for Botswana
Ms. Teresa Magalhaes Pinto