Contested sovereignty in Mozambique: The dilemmas of aid dependence

de Renzio, Paolo and Hanlon, Joseph (2007). Contested sovereignty in Mozambique: The dilemmas of aid dependence. GEG Working Paper 2007/25; Global Economic Governance Programme, University College, Oxford.



Mozambique has been billed by donors as a success story of peace, stability and growth since the end of its devastating war in 1992, and has become a model and a testing ground for so called “new aid modalities”, such as sector wide approaches (SWAps) and general budget support (GBS). Yet aid dependence has remained high, with aid more than 20% of gross national income. Mozambique has limited capacity to set the terms of the aid relationship and to take effective “ownership” and donors have clearly imposed policy choices. On the donor side, the relationship is based on limited trust and on limited acceptance of government leadership. The result is a ‘pathological equilibrium’, where Frelimo has been allowed to enrich itself through privatisation and corruption in exchange for publicly praising imposed donor policies.

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