Mozambique has been a partner country of Belgian cooperation since 2001.
This southern African country ranks 172th out of 182 countries in the UNDP Human Development Report 2009. 17 years after the end of the civil war, poverty remains one of the main challenges facing the country.
Mozambique was engulfed in civil war from 1975, just after independence, until 1992. The 16-year civil war fighting destroyed much of the country's infrastructure, caused as many as 1 million deaths, and uprooted close to 6 million people. The new constitution enacted in 1990 provided for a multi-party political system, market-based economy, and free elections. Since 1994 the country has held democratic elections, resettled civil war refugees, attained political stability, and has continued economic reforms.
Poverty in Mozambique is said to be falling - but chronic child malnutrition is increasing. The gap between rich and poor is widening with most of the growth in GDP going to the top 20% while the poor are becoming steadily poorer and unable to properly feed their children.
The general objective of Belgian development cooperation with Mozambique is poverty reduction. The Belgian cooperation strategy in Mozambique has been designed following the guidelines of the poverty reduction strategy paper of the country. That strategy is based on six priorities, including education, health, agriculture and rural development, basic infrastructure, good governance and macroeconomic and financial management.
The health infrastructure in Mozambique is in dire straits. There are only three main hospitals in the country. In 2002, BTC started a programme aimed at assisting the Mozambican government in the (re)construction and equipment of a number of health facilities that had been washed away by the devastating floods of 2000. BTC has provided technical assistance to help the health ministry to efficiently manage its investment projects.
The engagement of Belgium has also been extended to the support for renewable energy, public sector reform and general budget support to the government. This includes technical support to the Financial Department of the Ministry for Health, which is aimed at strengthening the budgetary and financial management processes. Belgium also helped in the rehabilitation of roads affected by the 2000 floods, including in the resettlement of the families affected by the rehabilitation works. Finally, BTC supports a programme geared towards the modernization of the State Finance Management. The government of Mozambique gives high priority to implementing this new financial administration system, through which transparency and efficiency in the management of public resources will be significantly improved.