Mozambique is quite the paradoxical nation. It ranks 185th out of 187 countries on the United Nations Human Development Index, making it a country with some of the poorest people in the world. Yet, if you walk the streets of the city of Maputo, you’ll see skyscrapers, Land Rovers, sophisticated bars and restaurants, and expensive homes and apartment buildings. Despite the fact that 55% of people in the country live in poverty, it appears that Mozambique has expensive tastes. Who can afford these luxuries?
There is a huge wage gap in the country, with the average worker earning about $100 per month, and the few, super-rich who can afford $230 aftershave and $320 champagne. Many of these upper-class citizens are government ministers, relatives of the ruling party, and business people. Mozambique’s hotels are regularly crowded with business people from around the world looking to invest in the oil and natural gas the country has to offer.
Mozambique has an incredible economy, with one of the highest GDP growth rates in the world, but the problem is that money is not being distributed among the rest of the country. The theory of trickle-down capitalism is not working here, because the rich who are making the most money are not investing it in their nation, they’re keeping it for themselves. Many people are upset about the corrupt practices in Mozambique, and that business interests often take precedence over the health and safety of citizens.
Experts argue that one of the biggest problems is a lack of a middle class. The nation is developing quickly, thus pushing some people to the very top of the class and leaving the rest at the very bottom. By investing in cheaper travel to encourage new growth that will build a middle class, they claim that the country can pull many of those living in poverty above the line. They also explain that the people of Mozambique need to begin to take charge and speak out against the corruption to become the change the country needs.
– Katie Brockman
Photo: Land Rover