Maputo — Former Mozambican Prime Minister Luisa Diogo has warned against “euphoria and enthusiasm” towards the current natural resource boom in the country.
Speaking in Lisbon, where she was presenting her book “A Sopa de Madrugada” (“Soup of the Dawn”), Diogo told reporters that the current economic growth of Mozambique made it imperative “to manage expectations”.
She stressed that inclusive economic growth “is a prevailing challenge in Africa and particularly in Mozambique”.
The question was raised acutely in Mozambique, because of the expectations raised by growth “in which people want to participate”, she said.
But so that people could really participate in economic growth, Diogo added, they must “first be aware of the national agenda. The sharing of information is fundamental so that growth can effectively be inclusive”.
Diogo admitted that in order to achieve inclusive growth with mega-projects (such as those that dominate the mining and hydrocarbon sectors), “several challenges must be faced”, and links created between the mega-projects and the communities in which they were located.
She called for “dialogue, debate, and the definition of strategies in an inclusive manner, in which everyone can give their opinion”.
Matters were easier with micro, small and medium companies where, she claimed, “the distribution of wealth happens automatically.
As for the current political situation in Mozambique, Diogo said that, by threatening to boycott the November municipal elections, the main opposition party, Renamo, “is excluding itself, unlike other political forces who are participating”.
She pointed out that “all possible concessions” had been made to Renamo in the country's parliament and in the dialogue between Renamo and the government “to see if Renamo can manage to take part in the country's democratic processes. However, experience tells us that it is Renamo which rules itself out of these processes”.
She did not think that the current tensions were anything unusual, but were “typical of a process of transition”.
The transition she was thinking of was from one President to another, since the current head of state, Armando Guebuza, cannot run for a third term of office. “The end of a period of office always brings nervousness”, she said. “Some Mozambicans can't handle their own nervousness”.
But, after the presidential and parliamentary elections scheduled for October 2014, “things will go back to normal”, she predicted. “It's a temporary matter”.
Asked if she would be a candidate in the presidential election, Diogo said she would not stand individually. “Since I am a member of the Frelimo Party, I would never put myself forward individually as a candidate”, she said.
This formulation does not rule out a run for the Presidency, if the Frelimo Central Committee were to choose her as the Party's candidate.