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Mozambique - Foreign Relations

Mozambique is in southern Africa and is neighbored by Tanzania to the north; Swaziland and South Africa to the south; the Indian ocean to the east; and Malawi, Zambia, and Zimbabwe to the west. All borders, including the eastern coast and airports, are porous. These porous borders facilitate trafficking of drugs, humans, and illicit wildlife products. While lack of opportunity prevents most bona fide traffic from settling in Mozambique, the constant flux of people and goods brings with it nefarious elements and businesses.

Mozambique’s foreign policy focuses on friendship and cooperation with surrounding states. Relations with other countries tend to be overwhelmingly positive. Mozambique is a member of many international organizations and accepts development aid from numerous different countries and organizations.

While allegiances dating back to the liberation struggle remain relevant, Mozambique's foreign policy has become increasingly pragmatic. The twin pillars of Mozambique's foreign policy are maintenance of good relations with its neighbors and maintenance and expansion of ties to development partners.

During the 1970s and early 1980s, Mozambique's foreign policy was inextricably linked to the struggles for majority rule in Rhodesia and South Africa, as well as superpower competition and the Cold War. Mozambique's decision to enforce UN sanctions against Rhodesia and deny that country access to the sea led Ian Smith's regime to undertake overt and covert actions to destabilize the country, including sponsoring the rebel group Renamo. After the change of government in Zimbabwe in 1980, the apartheid regime in South Africa continued to finance the destabilization of Mozambique.

The 1984 Nkomati Accord, while failing in its goal of ending South African support to Renamo, opened initial diplomatic contacts between the Mozambican and South African Governments. This process gained momentum with South Africa's elimination of apartheid, which culminated in the establishment of full diplomatic relations in October 1993. While relations with neighboring Zimbabwe, Malawi, Zambia, and Tanzania show occasional strains, Mozambique's ties to these countries remain strong.

In the years immediately following its independence, Mozambique benefited from considerable assistance from some western countries, notably the Scandinavians. Moscow and its allies, however, became Mozambique's primary economic, military, and political supporters and its foreign policy reflected this linkage. This began to change in 1983; in 1984, Mozambique joined the World Bank and International Monetary Fund. Western aid quickly replaced Soviet support, with the Scandinavians, the United States, the Netherlands, and the European Union becoming increasingly important sources of development assistance. Italy also maintains a profile in Mozambique as a result of its key role during the peace process. Relations with Portugal, the former colonial power, are complex and of some importance as Portuguese investors play a visible role in Mozambique's economy.

Mozambique receives much of its aid from its Programme Aid Partners (African Development Bank, Austria, Belgium, Canada, Denmark, the European Union, Finland, France, Germany, Ireland, Italy, the Netherlands, Norway, Portugal, Spain, Sweden, Switzerland, the United Kingdom, and the World Bank). According to the 2009 Memorandum of Understanding, these partners support the country’s budget and fund the national action plan for poverty reduction and development. In return, Mozambique has promised to continue to reduce poverty, increase democracy, and support human rights. The total budget support from the Programme Aid Partners was US$455 million for 2009, with a further US$361 million to fund various development projects over the next 5 years. The amount each country contributes is determined in bilateral agreements with Mozambique.

China has become increasingly involved with Mozambique in recent years, contributing millions of dollars in long-term loans. Mozambique also receives significant emergency aid from numerous countries through the United Nations and nonprofit organizations in the form of food and rebuilding assistance. Mozambique signed a 5-year, US$500 million compact with the Millennium Challenge Corporation in 2009 consisting of grants for specific programs to combat poverty and increase economic growth.

Mozambique is a member of the Non-Aligned Movement and ranks among the moderate members of the African Bloc in the United Nations and other international organizations. Mozambique also belongs to the African Union (AU) and the Southern African Development Community (SADC). In 1994, the government became a full member of the Organization of the Islamic Conference (now the Organization of Islamic Cooperation), in part to broaden its base of international support but also to please the country's sizeable Muslim population. Similarly, in early 1996, Mozambique joined its Anglophone neighbors in the Commonwealth. In the same year, Mozambique became a founding member and the first President of the Community of Portuguese Language Countries (CPLP), and maintains close ties with other Lusophone states.

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Page last modified: 11-09-2016 19:13:40 ZULU