Location: Indianapolis, Indiana, United States

I'm just trying to develop an online body of work (even if the work is throwaway nonsense) to advance my writing career.

Wednesday, September 24, 2008

Spend Some Time In Mozambique

Not so very long ago--fewer than twenty years--Mozambique rated at or near the bottom in United Nations living conditions surveys. Along with Angola, a nation with very similar colonial history, the former Portuguese colony was considered Hell on Earth in the early 1990s, a country plagued by drought, famine, and a protracted civil war.

Though it will not soon be mistaken for Beverly Hills, Mozambique has seen several years of substantial economic growth, in part because there was no direction to go but upward. Still, compared to Angola's preposterously tenuous version of peace, Mozambique has witnessed no large scale outbreak of hostilities since a late 1992 accord in Rome formally ended the nation's conflict. This relative stability permitted thousands of expatriates and refugees to return home and allowed for the rebuilding of much of the infrastructure that had been waylaid either by war or the destructive departure of the Portuguese in the mid-1970s.

These factors, along with increased cooperation with both African nations and western governments, have fueled the aforementioned economic advancement. According to, the World Bank recently lauded Mozambique for its decreased number of "at risk" projects funded by that body. And though a number of wealthy nations, including the United States and Sweden, have extended nascent development aid, their contributions have been auxiliary rather than essential.

Sadly, promising economic statistics cannot offset the scourge wrought by the AIDS virus nor do broad numbers alter the fact that most Mozambicans remain in abject poverty. However, without such macroeconomic growth, this developing nation would probably have no chance to allay many of its social difficulties. The question as to whether nations, rich or poor, should focus on large scale economic development or improving the quality of life of individuals on a smaller scale is a source of long and rancorous debate. The ideal answer, of course, is that both agendas should be pursued in a delicate and sensible balance, but nations tend to lack both the political consensus and the abundant resources often necessary to do both of these things simultaneously. In any case, a nation that has risen from the ashes in the manner Mozambique has must learn to relish small victories.


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