What appears to be the final version of a controversial reconstruction plan for Cabo Delgado province has been published in full by the European Union (EU), despite not yet having been approved by the Mozambican government.
The Resilience and Integrated Development Strategy for the North (Estratégia de Resiliência e Desenvolvimento Integrado do Norte de Moçambique, or ERDIN) was completed in November 2021, but six months on has yet to be approved by Mozambique’s Council of Ministers — reportedly because it acknowledges that the root causes of the insurgency in Cabo Delgado include local issues such as poverty and inequality, contradicting the official government narrative that the insurgency is a foreign import.
Last Friday, weekly newspaper Savana reported that certain members of the government and ruling party Frelimo have blocked publication of the strategy, which sets out how the northern development agency ADIN wants to spend up to $2.4 billion that it hopes will come from the World Bank, the African Development Bank (AfDB), the EU, and the United Nations (UN).
Another sticking point, Savana reported, is that the strategy does not include a military component — meaning none of those funds will be able to be used to militarily combat the insurgency. But on 5 May, President Filipe Nyusi told a meeting at the Ministry of Foreign Affairs that a strategy for mobilising funds to strengthen military capacity is underway. The proposed Mozambique Support Trust Fund would complement the work of ADIN with reform, capacity building, and modernization of the defence and security forces.
The 57-page ERDIN strategy paper is linked to from the EU’s web page on Recovery and Peacebuilding Assessments (RPBA), which are carried out by the Service for Foreign Policy Instruments, a body which coordinates cooperation between the United Nations, the World Bank and the EU on such assessments for countries recovering from conflict related crises.
It features a section on what it calls “the endogenous factors of the conflict”, as well as the “exogenous factors”. Endogenous factors, according to the report, include “socio-economic asymmetries, the frustration of social expectations related to the exploitation of natural resources,” noting that “the youth, in particular, feels in a constant state of waiting,” and that they are excluded from decision-making.
The ERDIN does not ignore external factors, referring to the porosity of national borders, drug trafficking, ivory poaching and smuggling, and the illicit gemstone trade, as well as links with terrorist networks in East Africa as contributing factors to the insurgency. But the complementary focus on internal issues contradicts the official position.
At the end of the document — uploaded under the file name ‘ERDIN NARRATIVA FINAL’, and which unlike another version seen by Zitamar News, is not watermarked as a ‘RASCUNHO’ (draft) — it says the strategy will in November 2021 be “submitted for approval to the Council of Ministers, after which it will be officially launched.” Armindo Ngunga, who heads ADIN, confirmed that timetable in comments reported by official media at the start of November.
Zitamar understands ERDIN has been submitted to the Council of Ministers at least twice, without managing to get approval. Frelimo’s Central Committee is due to meet at the end of May, and could discuss the plan and potentially recommend that the government approve it. The Central Committee is the most powerful Frelimo organ outside of the five-yearly Congress, and outranks the Political Commission which meets every fortnight to guide government policy.
This article was produced by Zitamar and Mediafax under the Cabo Ligado project, in collaboration with ACLED. The contents of the article are the sole responsibility of Zitamar News.