On wednesday, June 25, Mozambique will achieve its independence after 500 years of Portuguese rule and although the transition has been less tumultuous than in some other African states, notably Angola, Mozambique still faces serious political and economic problems.
On wednesday, June 25, Mozambique will achieve its independence after 500 years of Portuguese rule and although the transition has been less tumultuous than in some other African states, notably Angola, Mozambique still faces serious political and economic problems. Until they are worked out, independence will be a mixed blessing.
The East African nation shares borders with the last of Africa's white-ruled countries, Rhodesia and South Africa. Its economic future rests largely on decisions the new Marxist-leaning government takes concerning its relations with these two countries. Mozambique is toying with the idea of cutting off Rhodesia's rail route to the sea, over which p??? 45 percent of Rhodesia's exports, Although a vital link for Rhodesia, it is also an important source of revenue and employment for Mozambicans.
The United Kingdom has promised to assist Mozambique financially if it several its rail ties to Rhodesia, but the decision is not an easy one.
South Africa, to the South, has been an important provider of jobs for Mozambicans in the gold mines and continues to pay mozambique part of the miners' wages in gold. This amounts to about one million pounds a month, but sold on the open market, the gold can bring even more money into Mozambique's coffers. The employment, too, has provided the hundreds of miners with an improved standards living which the new government of Mozambique would be reluctant to jeopardise following independence.
These economic realities weigh heavily on the thoughts of the Mozambique Liberation Front (FRELIMO) under the leadership of Samora Machel, which has spearheaded the drive for independence and now must shoulder the burden of governing the country.
SYNOPSIS: This is Lourenco Marques, capital of Mozambique, preparing for the country's independence on Wednesday...the end of five hundred years of Portuguese rule.
Ressano, a railway station on the border with South Africa, symbolises the dilemma facing the new government.
New bicycles as well as other signs o? prosperity await Mozambican miners as they return from South Africa's gold mines. In addition to their cast, wages, South Africa pays Mozambique part of their wages in gold. By selling it on the open market, Mozambique earns even more. The arrangement is an important source of revenue and employment for the shaky Mozambique economy.
Although the Mozambique Liberation Front has made clear its opposition to the white governments in South Africa and Rhodesia, it finds its economic health tied closely to its two neighbours. Forty-five percent of Rhodesia's exports pass over Mozambique railways...again providing jobs and revenue for the country...jobs and revenue for the country...jobs and revenue the new government will be reluctant to jeopardise.
The United Kingdom has promised to help make up any loss of revenue by economic sanctions taken against Rhodesia, but the decision is still a difficult one. In a country where jobs are scare and living standards low, the new Marxist-leaning government will be unwilling to begin its rule by increasing economic hardship.
Although problems lie ahead, observers have credited Frelimo with dedication and organisational skill...and both will be essential in building the foundation of an independent Mozambique.