The Republic of Mozambique (Mozambique) has grown at an impressive average rate of 7.2% during the last decade, driven by foreign direct investment (FDI), agricultural growth and infrastructure investment. In fact, throughout the last few years, Mozambique has experienced at the same time both strong economic growth and persistent poverty. It has discovered large new coal and natural gas reserves while facing a declining natural resource base, facing the emerging challenges posed by climate change . In fact, despite the general positive macroeconomic outlook, the situation is tempered by Mozambique’s persistent challenges. The country has a poor record of transforming fast economic growth, driven by capital-intensive mega projects, into sustained poverty reduction. According to the poverty census, poverty declined by only 4%, to 54%, between 2003 and 2009 .
Official development assistance (ODA) accounts for a substantial portion of Mozambique’s growth: GoM still relies on ODA for 32.5% of its budget (2013).
Promoting green growth is about ensuring sustainable human wellbeing on the basis of policies and measures that protect the ecological, social and economic environment. Existing development models have been shown to be destructive to the environment, while failing to eliminate poverty, raise living standards or ensure prosperity .
Poverty is likely to be the main challenge to sustainable and green economic growth of the country. Recent data from a household survey reveals that poverty reduction has virtually stagnated since 2005, with 54% of the population living below the poverty line. Existing development models have been shown to be destructive to the environment, while failing to eliminate poverty, raise living standards or ensure prosperity .
Moreover, the country’s main challenges include maintaining macroeconomic stability considering exposure to commodity price fluctuations and making further efforts to reestablish confidence through improved economic governance and increased transparency .
Key policies and governance approach
Mozambique has an historical commitment to sustainable development. Its constitution states “the State shall promote initiatives to ensure ecological balance and the conservation and preservation of the environment, in order to improve the quality of life of its citizens.” Accordingly, the national government is the appropriate body to manage the country´s environmental heritage, as it is responsible for establishing the conditions for the management and use of natural resources while safeguarding national interests .
The Green Economy Roadmap (GER) was formulated in 2012 and had the key objectives of: (i) ensure economic growth that is sustainable and resilient to climate change through appropriate valuation of natural capital and of its ecosystem services; (ii) ensure restoration and protection of ecosystem assets and services for the benefit of the present and future generations; (iii) guarantee social equity in the distribution of the benefits of natural capital and its ecosystem services; and (iv) exploit development opportunities that contribute to the reduction of poverty, creation of green, decent jobs, restoration of the environment and access to services and clean technologies . The GER wanted to provide a “high-level” view of the principles guiding the country’s green growth strategy and the pathways to guarantee the transition to a green economy. The actions, instruments and policies are structured though the National Development Strategy 2015-2035 and the government’s next 5-year plan (PQG) for 2015-2020, Moreover,
In order to operationalize the ambitious goals of the GER, the government prepared a Green Economy Action Plan (GEAP). The Plan has been approved by the Council of Ministers in 2013 and had the aim of shaping the government’s 5 year plan as well as providing the basis for the greening of the National Development Strategy. The plan is built on three pillars: sustainable infrastructure, efficient and sustainable use of natural resources and strengthening resilience and adaptability. These pillars include 15 sub-sectors and a total of 119 green growth policy options were identified through the technical review and consultative process by the Government of Mozambique .
The Five-Year Plan of the Government of Mozambique also has as one of its strategic objectives specifically referring to the transition to a greener economy. The objective wants “to ensure the integration of the Green Blue Economy and the green growth agenda in the national development priorities, ensuring the conservation of ecosystems, biodiversity and sustainable use of natural resources”, through the correct and transparent use and management of natural resources as well as trying to drive the economic and technological transformation in key sectors of the economy to accommodate the environmental perspectives and objectives for the Green and Blue Economy. At the same time, the Plan wants to increase the public awareness of the economic and social principles, responsibilities and benefits arising from these economies .
The Ministry of Planning and Development was identified as the “key coordinator” of the GEAP. Substantial roles were also given to the Ministry of Finance, Ministry of Environmental Coordination (MICOA), the Ministry of Foreign Affairs and Cooperation (MINEC), and the National Council for Sustainable Development (CONDES) .
Successes and remaining challenges
It is recognised that the pursuit of resilient, low-carbon development can be a driver for poverty reduction, reduced inequities for the most vulnerable and post-COVID green economic recovery19. Thus, the implementation of the NDC will take into account the most vulnerable groups in communities, promoting climate-proof and inclusive development with increased access to efficient technologies and clean energy, prioritising environmental integrity, human health and the creation of green jobs .
Mozambique already promotes green growth in some critical areas and new ideas have been encouraged in support of sustainable, long-term development. The country participates in the Pilot Programme for Climate Resilience (PPCR), a Climate Investment Funds (CIF) program that focuses on increasing resilience in agriculture, transport and the urban environment. The GoM has acknowledged the challenge ahead, including the importance of transitioning to a new development model that adequately reflect the full social and environmental benefits and costs of various development pathways. The GoM has consequently moved forward with the preparation of a guiding document to frame Mozambique’s transition to a green economy model .
Initiatives and Development Plans
According to Mozambique’s Multi Annual Indicative Programme 2021-2027, growing green is one of the priority areas which the EU should be supportive on. While conserving and protecting the environment, the EU's support should also aim at increasing economic opportunities, generating jobs and transforming production patterns towards more sustainable, inclusive, and profitable models . This effort will look especially at the relation between agriculture, forestry and the surrounding landscapes and at developing genuinely green and blue economies, keeping at its core poverty reduction and the most vulnerable livelihoods in rural and coastal communities, including through raising income, job creation, adoption of digital technologies, and enhancing food nutrition security. For instance, the European Commission’s Green Deal encompasses a Team Europe Initiative (TEI) proposal which include the creation of a sustainable “Blue Economy” characterized by marine and coastal ecosystem conservation and sustainable fishery initiatives (private sector oriented blended actions) as well as plastic pollution, circular economy opportunities. These actions are aimed at having a transformational potential, as well as ensuring inclusive and sustainable economic growth and job creation .
Goals and Ambitions
The 2012 high-level Roadmap for a Green Economy (GER) of Mozambique, establishes ambitious targets such as becoming an inclusive middle income country by 2030, which uses its resources rationally to preserve its ecosystems and a sustainable and effective development .
- Seize the opportunity of new industries, services and jobs, using sustainably the ecological infrastructure of the country on which most people depend for their livelihood. Mozambique's natural capital comprises fertile soils, abundant water resources, dense forests, marine and fisheries stocks, wildlife, extraordinary landscapes, and substantial potential for solar, wind, bioenergy and water production.
- The country is endowed with diverse capital, capable of generating multiple streams of revenue in various sectors.
- If well managed, renewable natural resources will outlast non-renewable ones and can ensure that the needs of future generations are met. A diversified asset base is an excellent starting point for a resilient and competitive economy.
- Sustain a young, rapidly growing and urbanizing population, with a greater focus on the provision of basic services, resource efficiency and economic opportunity. By 2030 there will be 15 million more Mozambicans than the country had in 2012, bringing the population to 38 million, 60% of whom will live in cities. These people will need jobs, a modern energy system, clean water, effluent and waste management, comfortable transportation, and health and education services. T
- The Green Economy Model suggests the provision of renewable and decentralized energy to households and small businesses, urban mass transport to improve business connectivity and reduce urban air pollution, recycling initiatives to lessen waste production and reduce pressure on natural capital, and provide health, sanitation and education services to sufficient quality, to improve human and environmental health and, consequently, increase labor productivity and strengthen competitiveness. All of these elements will ultimately result in job creation and a more sustainable economy.
- Well-planned cities with quality of life reduce the costs of doing business, reinforce social cohesion and attract investment, multiplying economic opportunities and further stimulating growth.
- Tax revenues and royalties from the extractive industry can be invested in the transition to the green economy through the expansion of physical capital (sustainable infrastructure) and the development of human capital (more productive workforce, with better education and health), thus creating economic resilience and society in Mozambicans.
- The approach of the green economy in the extractive industry helps to mitigate the dangers that this type of industry brings, requiring that the development of these industries in the country is dependent on the provision of infrastructure and services that cause the least possible damage to the environment, the creation of as many jobs as possible and improving the standard of living for as many people as possible.
 REPUBLIC OF MOZAMBIQUE, MINISTRY OF LAND AND ENVIRONMENT (2021). Update of the First Nationally Determined Contribution to the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change MOZAMBIQUE Period: 2020-2025.