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RAP Annual Poverty Report 2004 - Mozambique

Posted with permission of Dr Jose Negrao (
For further details on the work of the G20 Group, please contact Professor Jose Negrao at
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Since the concept phase of the Action Plan for the Reduction of Absolute Poverty (PARPA), the Mozambican Government has been seeking the participation of, and a dialogue with, Civil Society. The Poverty Observatory was created with the intention of forging a platform for open debate between the government and civil society “as a vital instrument towards the betterment of governance in all its dimensions. The free discussion of the population’s problems may help the government towards strengthening its policies, improving the provision of public services, improving the administration, and clarifying the role of the State in a free society” (Diogo 2002:11). Arising out of the Poverty Observatory’s first panel, Civil Society was requested to bring forward its analyses of the problems of poverty, in order to enhance the debate so that, together, they could reflect on how to achieve more and in a better way. It was in this context that the Poverty Annual Report first appeared. It was meant as a Civil Society contribution to the second panel of the Poverty Observatory.

As Civil Society organisations we find the openness of the Mozambican Government towards the establishment of a continued debate praiseworthy; for there is an inherent possibility that, together, we may analyse and seek the best way towards reducing poverty, combating its causes, and finding mechanisms which will lead to a fair and equitable distribution of the national wealth. During the previous year, the various Civil Society organisations invited to take part in the first panel of the Poverty Observatory - the G20 - met on various occasions and collectively decided to elaborate a report. The objective of this report was to convey the concerns of the various strata of society, as well as to gather the suggestions of the various actors and concrete proposals for intervention. The opinions of more than eight thousand people in 102 of the 146 rural and urban districts of Mozambique were collected by members of religious denominations, unionised workers, entrepreneurs registered in various associations, peasants affiliated to countless associations, and people who belonged to Civil society organisations. They held discussions among themselves in ten provincial seminars, as well as at a national seminar, in order to produce this Annual Poverty Report.

Recent data provided by the Survey into Family Units regarding poverty reduction from 1997 to 2003 show a movement of more than ten percentual points (MPF 2004). This is an indication that there are opportunities for an ever increasing joint involvement of Civil Society, the Government, and the business community to face the great challenge of reducing poverty and combatting its causes.

The theme of the Annual Poverty Report of 2004 is the fight against the causes of poverty, giving special emphasis to Civil Society participation in this fight and to the presentation of a set of seven proposals of the G20, to the 2nd panel of the Poverty Observatory. Chapter 1 outlines the route followed in the elaboration of this report, emphasising the fact that its elaboration saw the participation of more than 10 000 people and about 100 organisations of Mozambican Civil Society. It also stresses that the survey which was carried out is an opinion survey, and that the methodology used for the data survey does not allow for any extrapolation of the information obtained for the national level. Nevertheless, the relevance of the survey rests with the fact that it incorporated the voice of the common people, integrated into a participation dynamic at provincial level. Therefore, it is not meant to be seen as a confrontation with official figures, but rather as a contribution that is rooted in the opinions of thousands of people.

Chapter 2, entitled “the poor as active actors”, results from the answers to the questionnaire about which concrete actions could be carried out by Civil Society in the fight against the causes of poverty, as well as of the subsequent debate in the provincial seminars. In the 3rd chapter the question of participation in the monitoring and evaluation of poverty is tackled. At the same time, it emphasises the need to develop institutional mechanisms which may guarantee a broader participation of the people and the various local level institutions of the country. Chapter 4 concentrates on the perceptions of poverty by those interviewed. The suggestion is made that, in Mozambique, the definition of poverty should be reformulated on the basis of what has been collected and summarised at the provincial and national seminars.

Chapter 5 covers the various dimensions of poverty, following the model of the four analytical axes adopted by Agenda 2025. In summary form, it presents what has been done by the Government and the opinions of the people who were interviewed, regarding what can be improved upon in terms of Human Capital, Social Capital, the Economy and Governance. Chapter 6 contains a set of seven proposals from Civil Society for discussion with the Government during the 2nd panel of the Poverty Observatory. And Chapter 7 contains a report on the results which were achieved after the proposals were analysed and debated by the panel.

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