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Country analysis > Mozambique Last update: 2020-11-27  

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Experiences with the development and use of poverty maps:
Case study note for Mozambique

Contributor: Ken Simler, IFPRI

Edited by Mathilde Snel and Norbert Henninger

A summary of all case studies can be found at: or
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  1. Background information on the poverty mapping initiative

    One of the many impacts of Mozambique’s civil war (1977-92) has been the general lack of in-country data from the early 1980s through the mid-1990s. This lack of data with nationwide scope became particularly evident to the Ministry of Planning and Finance (MPF) as it developed a poverty reduction strategy in 1995. Due to the inadequate supply of in-country data, in 1995 the government commissioned the National Directorate of Statistics (now known as the National Statistics Institute, or INE) to develop the National Household Survey of Living Conditions (conducted in 1996-97) and the National Population and Housing Census (conducted in 1997).

    In 1998, a national poverty assessment used the newly available household survey data to develop a national poverty profile; a coarse, provincial-level1 poverty map; and several analyses (both formal and informal) relating poverty to food security, human capital development, and safety nets. While the provincial-level poverty map was eventually included in the assessment report, reservations were expressed. Some considered information regarding the geographic distribution of poverty too politically sensitive: the first multiparty municipal elections were to be held soon after the informal presentation of the poverty mapping results. The objectives of the national poverty assessment were to: estimate the extent of absolute poverty; identify the characteristics of the poor; distinguish vulnerable groups; formulate policy actions to reduce poverty; and develop capacity within Mozambique for poverty analysis. More generally, the goal was to provide a sound empirical basis for the elaboration of poverty reduction policies. The national poverty assessment report was a key input for the National Action Plan for the Reduction of Absolute Poverty (PARPA) and the government’s Poverty Reduction Strategy Program (PRSP).

    The results of the national poverty assessment, presented at a national conference in October 1998 and published in early 1999, generated substantial interest on the part of numerous ministries and donors to develop more highly disaggregated poverty data. This led to the elaboration of provincial poverty profiles in early 2000, which were based on the 1996-97 household survey data. The availability of high-resolution data was intended to help refine the poverty database and poverty reduction policies. In 1999, the International Food Policy Research Institute (IFPRI) developed a proposal to construct high-resolution poverty maps for Mozambique and Malawi. Funding for this purpose was successfully obtained from the Rockefeller Foundation.

  1. There are 10 provinces in Mozambique, with the capital city, Maputo, often treated as a separate, 11th province.

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