More than two years after independence, Mozambique faces a major economic crisis, largely brought on by the exodus of nearly 200,000 Portuguese settlers.
More than two years after independence, Mozambique faces a major economic crisis, largely brought on by the exodus of nearly 200,000 Portuguese settlers. There has been a decline in all economic activity since the country gained freedom from Portugal after a long and bitter civil war. Accurate figures are not available although according to some foreign estimates, overall production has fallen by 40 or 50 per cent since 1973. But an example of the way the government has started to revive the economy along socialist lines is a glass factory run by the workers.
SYNOPSIS: This factory demonstrates the way Mozambiquans are trying to win the economic battle. They are running factories and businesses abandoned by their past masters and doing technical jobs once done by the Portuguese.
The factory is situated at Machava, about 30 miles (48 kms) from the capital of Maputo. Using broken glass as raw material, it produces anything from bottles to ornamental glassware.
Called Companhia Vidreira de Mocambique, it is run by a board of worker-directors. It employed more than 700 workers before independence. Today, the workforce is fewer than 650. Yet production has doubled over the pre-independence level and workers' income has gone up by about 300 percent at the same time. And all this has been achieved despite the fact that the factory has only 13 managers now against the 78 before the Portuguese left.
Officials attribute this success to increased efficiency inspired by a sense of pride among the workers.
Experts in glassware and other fields are being brought in from Eastern Europe, Scandinavia and elsewhere, but their number still totals only a few hundred-nowhere enough to replace tens of thousands of skilled Portuguese. The government realises this problem and is giving importance to training technical personnel.