By Wallace K Musakanyi
Southern Africa has long been recognized as one of the most peaceful regions in Africa, but recent events in Mozambique have proven that the stability of the SADC region in general and that of Mozambique in particular is under constant threat. by the violent insurgents and terrorists.
The imprints of the insurgency in Mozambique date back to 2017, when a group of Islamists known as Ansar al-Sunnah began their terrorist operations in northern Mozambique where they targeted shops, homes, farms, kidnapping women, looting, organizing masses beheading civilians, among other unspeakable atrocities which are classified as war crimes and crimes against humanity by the statutes and conventions of international law.
Their main and ultimate goal is the establishment of an Islamic state in the natural gas-rich province of Cabo Delgado.
Human security, an approach to national and international security that puts human beings and their complex social and economic interactions first, is under constant attack in northern Mozambique, as Amnesty International has predicted that more than 2,000 civilians have been killed while more than 700,000 were displaced at the start of the insurgency.
In its simplest form, security refers to protection against threats. Likewise, the 1994 UNDP report established seven components of human security which are economic security, food security, health security, environmental security, personal security, community security and political security. States have the right to promote human security on the basis of these seven components.
Cabo Delgado, the epicenter of the crisis, has vast deposits of liquefied natural gas estimated at 160,000 billion cubic feet worth several billion dollars. The introduction of LNG has led to a gold rush from companies like Total, BP, Shell and Exxon Mobil to invest in Cabo Delgado.
Next, the resource curse theory provides a political economy explanation for the Mozambican insurgency. This theory challenges the corollary belief that natural resource endowment drives economic development. This theoretical framework is the result of Aty (1993) and he asserts that economic development is separate from natural resource endowment and it is also a major source of conflict.
This may be linked to the marginalization of gas-rich Cabo Delgado as a province with high levels of youth unemployment, as well as the forced displacement of coastal fishing and farming communities to make way for settlements. Land support without adequate compensation has also fueled and radicalized the youthful population to endorse the jihadists of Ansar al-Sunnah and have expressed their displeasure with terror, especially against local communities and multinational corporations as well. The insurgency in Mozambique is clear testimony to the fact that political economy is the struggle for power and wealth.
Mozambique’s political economy is under threat and this could have disastrous consequences for Mozambique’s development trajectory. Attacks on key public infrastructure are of extreme concern. Key companies like Anadarko Petroleum Company, a US-based hydrocarbon exploration company, have been attacked by insurgents twice so far.
In the same vein, these Islamist rebels seized the city of Palma, which also forced the French energy company Total to suspend its largest energy project worth an estimated $ 30 billion.
The implications of these terrorist attacks are a blow to Mozambique’s economy because of the link between foreign investment and employment. Foreign investment is at the epicenter of the development path, especially in developing countries, because it creates jobs.
The shutdown of multinational companies’ operations in Mozambique amid an insurgency will influence significant capital flows to Mozambique, which could lead to economic hemorrhage that could affect financial stability by weakening the local currency.
Mozambique’s economy also relies on international trade in natural gas, which means that a decrease in foreign investment also translates into a decrease in capital flows into the country.
The delay in natural gas projects has also hampered Mozambique’s economic development as the government faces economic and financial challenges, making it difficult to repay its external debts which have reached nearly US $ 15 billion in the past. stronger terrorist attacks in northern Mozambique. . Limited capital mobility will ultimately make it difficult for Mozambique to repay these debts.
Wallace K Musakanyi is a Masters student in Politics and International Relations at the University of Zimbabwe who can be contacted at [email protected]