SOAS University of London

Centre of African Studies

Mozambique Discussion Group

In response to a rising tide of interest from Mozambique watchers inside and outside the country, a group of like-minded professionals based in the UK have decided to establish a Mozambique Discussion Group (MDG), whose launch and virtual inaugural event will take place on June 29th.

With the support of SOAS University of London and with the participation of members from a diverse set of backgrounds, our central aim is to bring together Mozambicans and those interested in Mozambique, principally based in the UK, to discuss a range of contemporary issues affecting the country and its people.

The MDG will serve as a platform to engage and stimulate debate, learning and cross-fertilization between academia, civil society, youth and the business/productive sector. 

The MDG will be hosted by the SOAS University of London but will be an independent grouping.

We will aim to host a series of semi-formal discussions on a range of contemporary topics related to Mozambique – covering, amongst others, governance, international relations, peace, human rights, economics, sustainable development, tourism, society and culture.

The working format of discussions will be an initial presentation or intervention by an invited expert speaker (for a maximum of 15 minutes), followed by an open forum discussion moderated by a chairperson from the MDG. Discussions will be primarily held in English but speakers will also be free to present in Portuguese if preferred with written summaries made available afterwards in both English and Portuguese.

Meetings of the MDG will initially take place “virtually” via Zoom but our intention is that group members will eventually be able to meet at SOAS in London (as COVID-related circumstances allow) in order to foster more informal social interaction and provide a focal point for those interested in Mozambique to share ideas and make contacts.

The majority of meetings will be open to the public – with prior registration required.

We hope that these discussions will be of interest to Mozambicans based in the UK as well as friends of Mozambique, members of academia, students, representatives of government and members of the civil service, national and international, and the private sector with a particular emphasis on engaging with students and young people, policy makers, civil society and business. 

The MDG will initially be co-chaired by Salomão Maxaeia and Alan Harding.

Topics envisaged for discussion over the coming months potentially include:

HISTORY AND CONTEXT
  • Charting the long road to sustainable peace since independence: successes, failures, and lessons learned
  • Democracy in Mozambique – assessing the record since the first multi-party elections in 1994: what has been achieved? The shrinking of civic space in a fettered democracy
  • Mozambique’s ‘secret debts’ – from embezzlement to accountability - lessons for debt management, oversight, transparency and governance
CURRENT CHALLENGES
  • Drivers of conflict in Cabo Delgado and paths toward peace and effective humanitarian intervention in the current crisis
  • Public health in the wake of COVID-19- disaster averted or warning sign for the future?
  • Mozambique’s gas reserves: lost opportunity or dream still within reach? prospects for a resource-based economy in the shadow of Total’s Force Majeure and a greening global economy
  • Alternative routes to development and employment creation: sustainable agriculture, fostering specialist mining, reviving and developing tourism; skills development
FUTURE PERSPECTIVES
  • Leaning towards the east: considering China as the driver of economic development in Mozambique and Africa.
  • Digital technology, youth engagement and prospects for future rapid growth and development in a context of rapid urbanization
  • Mozambique’s role in the continent and the region: SADC, free trade, security and movement of people
WIDER HORIZONS
  • Culture: Mozambique’s contemporary artists – challenges facing the new generation
  • Education: Raising the bar, fostering institutions to prepare youth for tomorrow’s world
  • Sport: When will Mozambique win the (men’s and women’s) African Cup of Nations

Expected Outcomes

  • Mozambique’s development achievements and challenges become better known and disseminated among the Mozambican diaspora and friends of Mozambique
  • Public debate in the UK and beyond is more informed through open and unfettered discussion of contemporary issues in a neutral, non-partisan space
  • The MDG evolves towards a focal point for social contact, informed debate and networking between Mozambicans based in the UK and those interested in the country, its people and its future
  • A quarterly newsletter giving a summary and overview of topics discussed is produced and disseminated in English and Portuguese.

Registration

To participate please register. Registration form

For further information please contact:

Salomão Maxaeia, tsakanianna@hotmail.com 

Alan Harding, ahardingox216@gmail.com