World Bank listens to CSOs as it launches its Systematic Country Diagnostic on Mozambique

July 29, 2015

  • Beware of ‘gender-blindness’ as you prepare the SCD in a context where poverty has a woman face
  • Inadequate public transport is affecting productivity and citizens’ dignity in the country
  • The country needs a new development narrative more attuned to its reality

MAPUTO, July 29, 2015 - The World Bank in Mozambique convened non-state actors in its office in Maputo to jumpstart discussions aimed at preparing the institution’s Systematic Country Diagnostic, known as SCD from its English acronym. The SCD represents a key knowledge product whose findings inform the preparation of a new WBG operational strategy for Mozambique for the coming years, called Country Partnership Framework (CPF). 

The meeting - which gathered key opinion makers and members of prominent Civil Society Organizations (CSOs), most of which representative of a constellation of many more non-state organizations across the country - was marked by lively discussions throughout; a testament of a vibrant and highly engaged civil society in the country.

I’m pleased with the level of sophistication, depth and representativeness of the views of our partners from the civil society arena,” said Mark Lundell, Country Director for Mozambique, who personally conducted the discussions. “We will be having many more discussions along the way as we work on this key document that will define our understanding of the lay of the land in terms of the country’s social, political, and economic landscape.  We value the views of our partners from CSOs as we refine our knowledge of the country’s reality, priorities, and needs.”

The consultation built on previous discussions with the Government of Mozambique and other development partners and brought refreshingly new perspectives to the ongoing development discussions.  The participants raised a number of interesting discussion points and made important suggestions for the Bank’s consideration, including the following:  

  • Political economy analysis –the participants stressed the importance of instilling a greater focus on quality and comprehensiveness of political economy analysis dimension in the Bank’s work in Mozambique, as a key ingredient for improved dialogue and policy making. Anything short of that, they warned, might lead to fundamental misunderstanding of the country context, the real problems, and subsequent wrong solutions.
  • Gender dimension of poverty - the participants emphasized the need to be as reflective as possible of gender related dimensions of poverty and development, underlining the fact that in Mozambique poverty still has a woman face, and that, on the other hand, over 60% of active population in agriculture are women.
  • Macro-economic developmentthe current macroeconomic narrative about Mozambique is too optimistic and it conceals a number of challenges facing the country, alerted one participant, suggesting that the Bank should help shape a more nuanced narrative grounded on facts. By the same token some suggested that the country has to improve its economic inclusiveness and shared prosperity along with its investment climate, transparency and accountability, tax regime for PMEs, among other areas.
  • Land rights – much needs to be done, said one of the participant, highlighting that the existing loopholes and ambiguities in the system have led to a growing informal land regime. On this basis, the participants suggested that the Bank supports a more robust dialogue on this matter going forward.
  • Citizenship, voice and accountability - several participants brought forward the issue of citizenship as an essential part of developing a well-functioning democracy with citizens’ clear understanding of both right and duties. Some pointed to the need to institutionalize public participation in decision making.
  • Demographic changes - how to harness the country’s demographic dividend, was suggested as an important development priority for the coming years. The growing urban population is seen as a problem and not as an opportunity. Spatial considerations in urban planning are being relegated as unimportant, reminded one of the participants, suggesting that inadequate public transport are affecting productivity and citizens’ dignity in the country.

The session concluded with the participants requesting a continued dialogue on the SCD and the CPF down the line, as well as concrete suggestions for regional consultations at provincial level.