Moçambique: Increasing economic growth and political stability in the post civil-war era:  Useful strategies

Summary of an organizational consultation completed in November 1991

© 1992, 1999, 2016 by Stan De Loach, Ph.D., organizational consultant


This article presents parts of a study of Moçambique.  The work, completed in November, 1991, was not underwritten by any government or political party.  It was undertaken by an international organization providing policy and reform consultation to governments of nations developing and/or regressing with regard to their political and economic stability and well-being.

The organization, the Mexican Institute of Group and Organizational Relations (Instituto Mexicano de Relaciones Grupales y Organizacionales, S. C.), known as IMERGO, strives to formulate practical, inexpensive, and rational plans for economic growth and participative political stability.

The results of the study or investigation take the form of consultations.  These consultations attempt to propose innovative ideas and solutions to the problems observed during a ten-day, independent visit to the country by an independent investigator.  A noteworthy feature of these consultations is their focus on the needs and security of the whole country, the whole government, the whole system.  The consultations address global and interconnected issues.  They cannot be extracted from the global context and viewed as comments on isolated areas of concern.

Responsive planning and implementation of these consultations can only take place at the executive level of government.  Managers at the executive level of government should understand that the value of the alterations or transformations proposed does not derive from the intent or the successful effects of a single program.  Their conjoint contribution to far-sighted and responsible government determines their worth.

Both the investigation and the consultation were carried out in Maputo, Moçambique, but the types of problems addressed are observed in other developing nations in Africa, Asia, and Latin America.  The rudimentary solutions proposed here share a quality of applicability in other contexts.

The transformations of systems and subsystems proposed in these consultations are feasible in the short term.  But, because they are presented in abbreviated form and because they do not portray all interconnected areas included in the study, they deserve further exploration, study, and thought.

The proposals or consultations serve as patterns of problem solving approaches that take into account the broad range of social, economic, and psychological factors that should be evaluated in order to assure the rationality of decisions made by governments managed through elected representatives.  They are meant less as explicit advice than as examples of low-cost strategies that developing nations might utilize in order to establish a stable foundation for peaceful political and economic management.

The rationale underlying the investigation and the consultations

The citizens of Moçambique are struggling to assign rational order and priorities to an assortment of national concerns.  The struggle takes the form of armed context between two opposing groups, FRELIMO y RENAMO.  The lack of multiple, clear ideological differences between the two groups suggests that the nature of the national interests being negotiated in the arena of combat and sabotage is political rather than military.  That it is a re-enactment of the violence done against the country by the Portuguese colonizers at their departure from the country is also clear.  The aggressors are no longer foreign; by what Freud called “identification with the aggressor,” the citizens do unto themselves what has been done unto them earlier in their history.

Prevailing economic conditions favor the perception of almost irreconcilable differences between the vision of government held by RENAMO and the vision promoted by FRELIMO.  Economic conditions can be manipulated by current and future economic policy to render the genuine differences between the two groups manageable by acceptable political compromise.

A commonality of concern is evident in both factions’ promises to achieve a positive or optimistic economic future for the citizens.  The strength of the national economy relates directly to the satisfaction of the population's human needs for food, shelter, clothing, and safety: the better the economy, the more easily and fully these needs are met.  The more commercial attention directed to the satisfaction of human needs, the more rapid the growth and vitality of the national economy.  The sincere and documented attention of the national government to the recognition and provision of the basic needs of the people reduces the sense of insecurity, deprivation, urgency, and crisis that can make armed rebellion appear to be rational and justifiable.

Any government's active attention to the people's basic needs, even within limits determined by available material and financial resources, facilitates the people's sense of security and willingness to participate in national economic life.  This security permits the development of a sense of optimism about the economy.  A sense of optimism reinforces the people's belief in the desirability and legitimacy of the national government that simultaneously represents and unifies divergent views.

In every nation, economic health is related to the activities of all parts of the system and of all segments of the society.  The political existence of the government and its leaders is secured by the collective efforts of the population.  Government's endeavors to support the economy and cause it to flourish in a degree proportionate to the needs of the population reduce political instability and minimize disharmony in the pursuit of national objectives.  Economic growth either successful or imminently successful tends to reduce the motives for insurrection and to define the incumbent political management as adequate and appropriate.  Economic growth seems to legitimize the incumbent government.

Pronounced ideological divisions of the population, which require management by internal military mobilization, should not divert energy and resources from the government's search for political and economic solutions to the sense of insecurity, urgency, powerlessness, and despair that underlies the disunion.  These sentiments are a purer manifestation of the problems responsible for the fragmentation of the population.  Varying in degree from one nation to another, such sentiments owe their existence to inadequate or inappropriate economic management of the nation.

The presence of warring divisions of the population indicates the need for a shift in economic focus and policy.  An incumbent elected political group, by directing the economic advance of all sectors of the nation, acts responsibly upon its mandate to govern well.

The proposals contained in this report can, with proper political supervision, effectively and inexpensively (from both the political and economic points of view) subsidize economic advance or prosperity.  In the case of Moçambique, they are doubly useful because of the close relationship between unified political stability and rational, responsive economic policy.

Selected consultations from areas examined in the study

In examining the dynamics and conditions needed for possible beneficial transformations in the entire social/economic/political system of Moçambique, the consultant addressed himself to several specific venues of government and citizen activity.  Following are reports on each of these areas.  They offer a summary of the principal consultations offered in relation to public and private behaviors.  The summaries presented here also address the political and psychological consequences of such behaviors on a national level:

1.   Steps to stimulate and reward excellence
2.   Immigration policies
3.   Transportation
4.   Tourism: Stable source of economic, cultural, and political enrichment
5.   Education and the welfare of children
6.   Stimulating the production of key agricultural products
7.   Export strategies
8.   Rational tax and tariff structures
9.   Appeal to donated (and handy) resources
10. Managing corruption in government personnel and services
11. Political decision-making for long-range progress

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