The Mozambican economy grew by 6.5 per cent in the first half of this year, compared with the same period in 2012, according to the balance sheet on the government's 2013 Economic and Social Plan.
The document was presented on 16 September at a session of the Development Observatory, which brings together representatives of the government, civil society and the international community.
It shows that the strongest areas of growth were financial services (23.3 per cent), mining (22 per cent) and government services (16.2 per cent), all well in excess of their annual targets of 17.7, 18.6 and 4.1 per cent respectively.
The agriculture and livestock sector grew at 5.3 per cent (compared with an annual target of 4.6 per cent).
Other sectors were disappointing. Electricity production fell by 22 per cent, instead of growing by 5.7 per cent. Manufacturing grew by 4.8 per cent, against a target of 5.8 per cent, while construction grew by 1.9 per cent rather than the desired 5.6 per cent.
The document notes that the floods of January and February were a constraint on economic growth, and forced the government to revise its forecast for the GDP growth rate down from 8.4 to seven per cent.
Introducing the document, the Minister of Planning and Development, Aiuba Cuereneia, said that the floods had posed a serious challenge in rebuilding damaged infrastructure. Nonetheless, immediate work on flood damaged roads allowed traffic to return to normal within three months.
Cuereneia was convinced that the revised growth target of seven per cent would be met. In other areas, the government also seems certain to meet its target - thus, in the first six months of the year, the average 12 monthly inflation rate was three per cent.
The government should thus have little difficulty in reaching the annual target of an inflation rate of no more than 7.5 per cent, particularly since in July and August, months not covered by the report, prices continued to fall.
In the first quarter of the year, exports reached $995.9 million- just over 25 per cent of the annual target of $3.95 billion.
State revenue from January to June was 55.48 billion meticais (about $1.86 billion), 48.7 per cent of the annual target. Since more taxes are usually collected in the second half of the year than in the first half, it seems certain that the revenue target will also be met.
Cuereneia said that, in the first half of the year, 106,854 new jobs were created, and 263 investment projects approved. The total investment envisaged in these projects is $2.56 billion, and if they come to fruition, they could create 16.830 jobs.
As for the social areas, Cuereneia said there are now over 4.65 million pupils in primary education, and almost 80 per cent of six year old children are enrolled in first grade. 6,228 new teachers were recruited this year, which reduced the pupil/teacher ratio to 63 pupils per teacher. However, the target for this year is a ratio of 61 to one.
In health, 52 per cent of all children under 12 months of age received complete vaccinations. To reach the target, this must be raised to 78 per cent by the end of the year. Anti-retroviral treatment, which prolongs the lives of HIV-positive people has now reached 359,129 adults and 32,853 children.
As for the coming year, Cuereneia said the government's main macro-economic targets were a GDP growth rate of eight per cent, and an inflation rate no higher than 5.6 per cent, while the value of the country's exports should reach $4.774 billion.
Speaking on behalf of Mozambique's cooperation partners, the United Nations interim resident representative, Koenraad Vanormelingen, congratulated the government for its success in reducing child mortality. It has already reached the Millennium Development Goal of reducing the under-five mortality rate by two thirds between 1990 and 2015.
However, chronic malnutrition, he said, "remains an enormous challenge". Very large numbers of Mozambican children show low height for their age - which is the classic symptom of chronic malnutrition.
The figures for 2011 indicated that around 43 per cent of children were suffering from "moderate chronic malnutrition, which could have an impact on their psychological and physical development throughout their lives".
Vanormelingen also called for major job creation efforts. Although 106,000 new jobs had been created in the first six months of the year, this came nowhere near absorbing the 300,000 or so young people who enter the labour market every year.
The interventions from civil society representatives concentrated on education, and the need to improve its quality. "There are increasing questions about the quality of education", said Humberto Zaqueu. "There are complaints from employers about the skills of Mozambican labour, so that they prefer to hire foreign workers".
He said that a survey of 44 districts showed that there are no longer any "minimum requirements" from pupils in the schools, and too many subjects were taught in the early grades.
His solution was the retrograde one of returning to an exam-based system. He claimed that the current system whereby exams are only held at the end of each educational cycle "provokes laziness" among the pupils.
He also wanted to restrict the use of mother tongues in education. Bilingual teaching, he said, "can be used in some parts of the country where it is very important, but in most cases it creates factors of laziness and holds up quality".