Mozambique: Mozal's export push.

Author:Williams, Stephen
Position:Countryfile - Statistical Data Included

According to the latest figures on the economy from the Bank of Mozambique, exports in the first half of this year amounted to $307.5m - of this $185.5m (60.3%) came from the aluminium ingots exported by MOZAL.

Several of Mozambique's traditional exports suffered sharp falls. Cotton exports fell by 49.1%, from $16.3m to $8.3m. This was due to farmers, disappointed at the low producer price for cotton, switching to other crops.

The fall in cashew kernels was even sharper: here the decline was 8 1.6% from $4.9m in the first half of 2000 to $0.9m this year. The Bank of Mozambique blames this fall on a decline in the world market price of cashew kernels. But that fall was only 30% - the real reason for the collapse in exports was that most of Mozambique's cashew processing plants have been forced to close, driven out of business by the liberalisation of trade in raw cashews imposed by the World Bank.

Processed cashews suffer

With most of the cashew factories closed, peasants have to sell their nuts to traders who export them unprocessed to India. Earnings from the export of unprocessed nuts rose by 51.6%, from $3.1m to $4.7m.

Timber exports fell by 40.3% - from $6.7m to $4m. This, however, was the result of deliberate government policy: the government has imposed restrictions on the export of unprocessed logs, in an attempt to encourage local processing of timber.

After aluminium, the most important export product is prawns, which remained virtually unchanged at $37.2m in the first half of 2000, and $37.9m for this year's first six months.

Third on the list is electricity: power from the Cahora Bassa dam on the Zambezi is sold to South Africa and Zimbabwe. The value of electricity exports rose from $21m to $29.4m, due to the increased tariff for Cahora Bassa power paid by the South African electricity company, ESKOM.

Imports fall

Imports declined by 13.5%, from $569.8m in January-June 2000, to $492.7m in the same period this year. Imports of consumer goods declined by 27.8% (from $163.8m to $118.4m), mainly because there were fewer imports of emergency aid. (The catastrophic floods of February 2000 led to large imports of food and non-food emergency items: the floods in the Zambezi and Pungue valleys of early 2001 were nothing like such a dramatic scale, and so did not generate imports on the same scale).

Substantial declines in the imports of spare parts and equipment (of 26.4% and 25.8% respectively) are also attributed by the central bank to...

To continue reading