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

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Chr. Michelsen Institute (CMI)

Xiculungo: Social relations of urban poverty in Maputo, Mozambique

Margarida Paulo, Carmeliza RosР±rio, Inge Tvedten

Chr. Michelsen Institute (CMI)


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This is the second in a series of six participatory and qualitative studies of poverty in Mozambique, done with the objective of supporting the government in monitoring and evaluating the ongoing Action Plan for the Reduction of Absolute Poverty, PARPA II (GdM 2005). The first report looked into social relations of rural poverty in northern Mozambique, with special reference to the District of Murrupula in the Nampula province (Tvedten, Paulo and Rosбrio 2006). This report will analyse social relations of urban poverty, with special reference to four settlement areas (bairros) in Mozambique’s capital Maputo (see Terms of Reference, Annex 1).

The Government of Mozambique and donors have invested considerable effort and resources in economic development and the reduction of poverty. While this has led to improvements in terms of an economic growth of 8 percent per annum over the past ten years (Arndt et al. 2006) and a reduction in the proportion of Mozambicans living in poverty from 69 to 54 percent (INE 2004), key socio-economic indicators are still very serious: GDP per capita is USD 1,117, the adult literacy rate is 46.5 percent, and life expectancy at birth is 41.9 years (World Bank 2006; UNICEF 2007). This places Mozambique at number 172 of 177 countries in UNDP’s Human Development Index, which makes it the least developed country in Southern Africa (UNDP 2007).

Research-based information about poverty is recognised as important for Mozambique’s poverty reduction strategies, as these are expressed in the Government’s Five Year Plan (GoM 2005) and the related PARPA II (GdM 2005). Key data for the monitoring and evaluation of poverty in Mozambique stem from the National Census (INE 1997 and forthcoming 2008), the National Household Survey IAF (INE 1997 and 2004) and the National Demographic and Health Survey (MdS 2005), as well as a number of analyses by the Government of Mozambique based on these data (see e.g. DNPO 2004; Chiconela 2004; Maximiano et al. 2005). In addition, international organisations have commissioned several studies on their own, of which those undertaken by UNDP (2006), UNICEF (2007) and the World Bank (2007) are the most recent and comprehensive.

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