The Alternative Path, Weaving through Global Capitalism: Mozambique

  • James H. Mittelman
  • Mustapha Kamal Pasha
Part of the International Political Economy Series book series (IPES)


Shortly after independence in 1975, a Marxist government in Mozambique sought to loosen its ties to South Africa’s apartheid system. Mozambique approached transnational corporations in the USA and Western Europe to do business. Their reply was: sorry, chum, you must deal with our regional affiliate (which is in Johannesburg). Even today, if a parent company does agree to fill an order, say, for urgently needed spare parts, delivery time from Europe is at least four or five months. It can take weeks to get a technician out to Mozambique from Europe to repair one of the country’s few printing presses, but only a couple of days from Johannesburg, an eight-hour drive from Maputo.


Foreign Policy State Farm Development Assistance External Debt Global Capitalism 
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Notes and References

  1. Some of the information in this chapter is drawn from James H. Mittelman, Underdevelopment and the Transition to Socialism: Mozambique and Tanzania (New York: Academic Press, 1981) andGoogle Scholar
  2. James H. Mittelman, ‘Marginalization and the International Division of Labor: Mozambique’s Strategy of Opening the Market’, African Studies Review, 34, 3 (December 1991), 89–106.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  3. The statement on the role of the peasantry appears in Mozambique Information Agency, Information Bulletin, 9–10 (1977), p. 6.Google Scholar
  4. Changes in the country’s legal system, with emphasis on the emancipation of women, are discussed in Nina Berg and Aase Gundersen, ‘Legal Reform in Mozambique: Equality and Emancipation for Women Through Popular Justice’, in Kristi Anne Stolen and Mariken Vaa (eds), Gender and Change in Developing Countries (Oslo: Norwegian University Press, 1991).Google Scholar
  5. On the plight of women, we are borrowing from Stephanie Urdang, And Still They Dance (New York: Monthly Review Press, 1989).Google Scholar
  6. The composition of the people’s assemblies is described in ‘Assembleia Popular’, Tempo (Maputo), 378, (1 January 1978), pp. 53–4;Google Scholar
  7. Allen and Barbara Isaacman, ‘A Rare Glimpse of How Mozambique Governs Itself’, Christian Science Monitor, 27 December 1979; andGoogle Scholar
  8. Stephanie Urdang, ‘The Last Transition? Women and Development in Mozambique’, Review of African Political Economy, 27–8 (February 1984), pp. 13–14.Google Scholar
  9. The statistics on the representation of women in national parliaments were drawn from the UNDP, Human Development Report 1993 (New York: Oxford University Press, 1993) p. 151.Google Scholar
  10. An interpretation of the changing rural economy in Africa that differs from our own is offered by Göran Hyden, No Shortcuts to Progress: African Development Management in Perspective (Berkeley: University of California Press, 1983). Hyden hypothesizes that an ‘uncaptured peasantry’ exits the formal economy. According to him, Africa’s precapitalist societies are without states that can be used for economic expansion and development. Undoubtedly, Hyden identifies an important phenomenon — the informal market or parallel economy — but his explanation is open to challenge on the ground that the mode of production in contemporary Africa is predominantly a capitalist, not precapitalist, structure. Moreover, rather than choosing the exit option, peasants are being pushed out of the system.Google Scholar
  11. Figures on the state of Mozambique’s agriculture were taken from Robert T. Huffman, ‘Colonialism, Socialism and Destabilization in Mozambique’, Africa Today, 39, 1 and 2 (1st and 2nd quarters 1992) pp. 2–27, andGoogle Scholar
  12. Steven Kyle, ‘Economic Reform and Armed Conflict in Mozambique’, World Development, 19, 6 (June 1991), pp. 637–49.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  13. The quotation by Marcelino dos Santos was taken from Joseph Hanlon, Mozambique: The Revolution Under Fire (London: Zed Press, 1984) p. 110.Google Scholar
  14. For a brief discussion of the trade union movement see Adriane Paavo, ‘Starting Over: Rebuilding the Worker’s Movement in Mozambique’, Southern Africa Report, 8, 5 (1 May 1993), pp. 12–15.Google Scholar
  15. Samora Machel was interviewed by Herb Shore in Dar es Salaam, Tanzania, in 1970. The interview is quoted by George Houser and Herb Shore, Mozambique: Dream the Size of Freedom (New York: The Africa Fund, 1975) p. 11.Google Scholar
  16. The US State Department’s assessment of Mozambique’s human rights performance can be found in Country Reports on Human Rights Practices (Report to the Committee on Foreign Affairs, US House of Representatives, and the Committee on Foreign Relations, US Senate, Washington, DC, 1984). Information on the rights of women was drawn from Urdang, And Still They Dance, passim.; UNDP, Human Development Report 1993, p. 169; and Berg and Gunderson, ‘Legal Reform in Mozambique’, p. 268.Google Scholar
  17. The costs of South Africa’s destabilization campaign have been computed by the Government of Mozambique in its Economic Report (Maputo: National Planning Commission, 1984) p. 41.Google Scholar
  18. More recent figures were from Mittelman, ‘Marginalization and the International Division of Labor’, p. 95. Data on the economy are taken from ‘Mozambique’, Foreign Economic Trends and Their Implications for the United States (FET-66) (US Department of Commerce, Washington DC, 1984) pp. 2, 4–5.Google Scholar
  19. On the human costs of destabilization see Huffman, ‘Colonialism, Socialism and Destabilization in Mozambique’, p. 9, and Jane Perlez, ‘A Mozambique Formally at Peace is Bled by Hunger and Brutality’, New York Times, 13 October 1992. The ban on development assistance was contained in Legislation on Foreign Relations through 1982, Current Legislation and Related Executive Orders, vol. 1 (Committee on Foreign Relations, US Senate, and Committee on Foreign Affairs, US House of Representatives, Washington, DC, 1983) p. 361.Google Scholar
  20. Much of the information on the impact of structural adjustment was taken from Mittelman, ‘Marginalization and the International Division of Labor’; Joseph Hanlon, Mozambique: Who Calls the Shots? (London: James Currey, 1991);Google Scholar
  21. Huffman, ‘Colonialism, Socialism, and Destabilization in Mozambique’; and Robert B. Lloyd, ‘Mozambique: The Terror of War, the Tensions of Peace’, Current History, 94 591 (April 1995), 152–5.Google Scholar
  22. The conclusion derived insights from John S. Saul, ‘Mozambique: The “Peace Election”’, Southern Africa Report, 10, 2 (December 1994), pp. 3–6;Google Scholar
  23. Otto Roesch, ‘The Politics of the Aftermath: Peasant Options in Mozambique’, Southern Africa Report, 9, 3, (January 1994), pp. 16–19;Google Scholar
  24. Lloyd, ‘Mozambique: The Terror of War, the Tensions of Peace’, pp. 152–5; and Salim Lone, ‘African Debate on Reforms Shifting Focus: Nairobi Conference Urges End to Externally Oriented, Aid-Seeking Approach’, Africa Recovery, 9, 1 (June 1995), pp. 8–9.Google Scholar
  25. For readers interested in postcolonial Mozambique, the most authoritative studies include Allen and Barbara Isaacman, Mozambique: From Colonialism to Revolution, 1900–1982 (Boulder, Col.: Westview Press, 1983);Google Scholar
  26. Hanlon, Mozambique: The Revolution under Fire; Barry Munslow, Mozambique: The Revolution and its origins (London: Longman, 1983); andGoogle Scholar
  27. John S. Saul (ed.), Recolonization and Resistance in Southern Africa in the 1990s (Trenton: Africa World Press, 1993).Google Scholar

Copyright information

© James H. Mittelman and Mustapha Kamal Pasha 1997

Authors and Affiliations

  • James H. Mittelman
    • 1
  • Mustapha Kamal Pasha
    • 1
  1. 1.School of International ServiceAmerican UniversityWashington, DCUSA

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