Mozambique. Despite impressive economic growth over a number of years and major investments in infrastructure development, the government of Mozambique has not significantly succeeded in raising the population’s living standards. About 55 percent of residents are estimated to live in poverty, a level that has been stuck for several years.
When the government in early September allowed the price of bread to rise by about 30 percent and also raised the price of gasoline and electricity, severe unrest erupted in several cities. At least 14 people were shot dead by the police and hundreds were arrested. The bread became so much more expensive, according to analysts, both because of a sharp rise in wheat prices on the world market and a falling value for Mozambique’s currency, which increased imports from South Africa.
According to COUNTRYAAH, Mozambique has a population of 29.5 million (2018). The government announced that the price increase for bread was “unstoppable” but backed down after only a few days. To a certain extent, the subsidies on gasoline and electricity were also reintroduced. As a result of the crisis, the Minister of Agriculture was dismissed and replaced by the Minister of the Interior, who had taken a tough stance and defended the shootings during the unrest.
Earlier in the year, Mozambique’s state power company and a Portuguese partner had signed a contract to expand the country’s electricity grid to a sum of about SEK 11 billion. The World Bank and the Norwegian government are largely responsible for the financing.