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Research Report

Sino-Mozambican relations and their implications for forests: A preliminary assessment for the case of Mozambique

Laura A. German
Sheila Wertz-Kanounnikoff
Copyright Date: Jan. 1, 2012
Pages: 84
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Table of Contents

  1. (pp. 1-1)

    In 1992, Mozambique emerged from 15 years of civil war which had left the economy and infrastructure in a shambles. Since then, the country has experienced rapid economic growth, with annual growth rates averaging 8%. This was the result of a number of factors including ‘catch-up’ following the civil war, macroeconomic stability (low inflation rate, sustained stability of the national currency) and, since 1999, the effect of a few capital-intensive mega-projects on revenue generation and balance of trade¹. Yet Mozambique is a capital-scarce country, relying on foreign capital (aid and FDI) to finance the transformation of its economy². Some argue...

  2. (pp. 2-10)

    Sino-Mozambican relations have a long history, initiated during Mozambique’s independence struggle with Portugal when China provided guerrilla training, military equipment and financial support to the Liberation Front of Mozambique (FRELIMO) (Chichava 2008). Shortly after Mozambique’s independence in 1975, the two countries established diplomatic relations, which remained intact during the 1977-1992 ‘civil’ war, and have intensified since the peace accord in 1992 (Janssen and Kiala 2009). Following the end of the war, Chinese economic actors, such as construction companies and timber merchants, were among the first to re-enter the country.

    With a current account surplus of USD 253.3 billion in 2009,...

  3. (pp. 11-12)

    The overall objectives of the project are to advance understanding of the social, economic and environmental effects of Chinese investment in commodities or sectors affecting forests and livelihoods in Africa, and to strengthen the capacity of decision-makers in government, civil society and the private sector to enact reforms to leverage more equitable and sustainable outcomes.

    The objective of the scoping phase – on which this report is based (Activity 1.2) – is to gain an understanding of the trends, effects and trade-offs of Chinese trade and investment in key sectors shaping forests and forest livelihoods, and the legal and institutional...

  4. (pp. 13-24)

    This section presents an overview of findings related to Sino-Mozambican relations. The findings are broken down into four sections. The first section provides an overview of what stakeholders believe to be the characteristics that differentiate the Chinese from other trade and development partners. This is followed by a detailed look at data on Chinese aid, trade and foreign investment, in which an attempt is made to relate stakeholder perceptions to published data.

    Interviews with individuals from key government ministries, foreign embassies and civil society organisations point to a number of perceived differences between the Chinese government’s and the private sector’s...

  5. (pp. 25-53)

    This section presents findings related to the three sectors studied – forestry, agriculture and mining. In each section, in addition to presenting findings related to the Chinese presence, general features of the sector are presented to enable the findings to be placed in context. This aids in assessing the extent to which the findings are specific to the Chinese presence or general features of the sector in question.

    The majority of Mozambique’s forests are located in the northern provinces of Niassa, Tete, Cabo Delgado and Zambézia and in the southern province of Gaza (Figure 9; Table 3).

    The private sector...

  6. (pp. 54-56)

    This paper sheds light on the debate over the relative benefits and drawbacks of China’s emerging influence in Mozambique. It is based on a rapid scoping exercise to explore what is known about patterns of official Chinese aid and private sector involvement in investment and trade in sectors of interest (agriculture, forestry and mining). The findings suggest that the Chinese government provides significant levels of development assistance to the Mozambican government, the bulk of which is in the form of project-based loans, followed by grants and small volumes of debt and emergency relief. The preference for project-based lending runs counter...