Mozambique – Cooking on Gas

Mozambique, the country located in Southeast Africa bordered by the Indian Ocean has an estimated population of 29 Million people of which close to 50% of its population is below 15 years of age. The huge base of the age sex pyramid can be attributed to the high fertility rate of 5.08 (the 11th highest in the world), which implies that an average woman in Mozambique will have 5 children in her child bearing years.

The country is named after an Arab sheikh – Mussa bin biki – who ruled over the northern part of the country when the Portuguese arrived in the area hundreds of years ago.

Mozambique’s young population is threatened by access to basic infrastructure in education. The Ministry of Education reports that less than half of the population finishes primary school, and of those who do finish, only 8 percent transition to secondary school. Primary education is Mandatory whilst secondary education is not and today Mozambique’s overall literacy rate is 47 percent; female literacy (28 percent) lags far behind that of males (60 percent) according to the report from USAID.

Mozambique is endowed with rich and extensive natural resources. The country’s economy is based largely on agriculture, but industry is growing in the food and beverages, chemical manufacturing and aluminium and petroleum sectors. Mozambique has over the past few months faced it all with the devastating cyclones Idai and Kenneth, taking lives, destroying crops and the much-needed infrastructure to the extent that the country has suffered economic losses of up to US $700 Million and forming part of the World bank estimation of $2 Billion requirement to rebuild Mozambique, Malawi and Zimbabwe.

Mozambique has recently been topping the news with the Discovery of gas and oil deposits in the northern region of the country which is expected to generate close to US $95 Billion dollars in 25 years. The projects are expected to transform this under performing economy to one that booms, however social impacts have seen fishermen from Milamba relocate 15 kilometres away from the sea. Subsistence farmers are worried about their lands and what will happen when the big migration comes plowing the oil and gas fields. In May 2018 hundreds of young people demonstrated in Palma, demanding jobs in the fossil fuels’ companies as the positions in these companies are filled by immigrants. Criminal activities and insurgence by rebels are high in this area due to lack of infrastructure.

On the Neil Economic scale, the current price of a litre of Petrol is 64.44 Metical (R15,19) and a 300ml coke is priced at 45 Metical (R10.68). The country needs to ensure it invests in the Education of its young population to secure empowerment and participation in growth and development of the country. Mozambique like many other African countries, has been privileged to have diverse natural resources, meaning that should the population in partnership with government and investors work together, a conducive environment can be created to ensure the improvement in the quality of life of the once poor country from the underground resources bestowed upon the country.

Taking all of the above into consideration and knowing, that like so many other African states, the history of war and poverty has taken its toll on this stunning country. Its potential in the new line of oil and gas, its agricultural wealth and no doubt its vast coastlines for the marine agricultural and tourism, makes it a country that must shine in the world. This country and its future, is like “ Cooking on Gas “.