Country Session 9: Mozambique
Chaired by Claudio Frischtak (Inter. B – Consultoria Internacional de Negócios S/C and IGC), session 9 was opened by Catia Baptista (Nova School of Business and Economics) who highlighted the magnitude of the impact of introducing mobile money in rural Mozambique based on a field experiment. Her main conclusions were that (i) 66% of respondents made transactions via mobile in the 12 months following initial dissemination efforts; (ii) there was also evidence of the willingness of respondents to send remittances via mobile money and/or using the latter as an alternative for formal financial service providers. One of her policy implications was that mobile money can help the financial services get closer to people especially in the rural areas where financial services are either minimal or absent.
Esselina Macome (Central Bank, Mozambique) showed that mobile financial service providers are key pillars of financial inclusion. However, it was important to ensure that people trust the system. She also added that there are challenges and opportunities in the provision of mobile financial services. The challenges the need to establish and efficient and operable agent network for cash-in and cash-out; the establishment of a comprehensive risk management methodology and compliance with approved regulations. The major opportunity was to expand the mobile finance services.
John Sutton (LSE and IGC) presented preliminary findings of research which studied the enterprises map of Mozambique. He argued that although Mozambique has been experiencing average economic growth rates of about 7% over the past two decades or so, not more than 30 big private sector firms contributed to this growth. Exports, in particular are driven by a very limited number of multinational firms with limited linkages with the local small and medium enterprises due to limited industrial capabilities of the latter. His major preliminary policy conclusion is that there’s a need to strengthen industrial capabilities of local firms.
Bruce Dyers (ECDPM) argued that the enterprise map is equally useful for policymakers e.g. elaboration of provincial budget policies in a context where there’s a limited number of contractors. Carlos Guanziroli (Universidade Fluminense (Brazil and IGC) showed that agricultural yields of cereals in Mozambique currently stand at 0.8 ton/ha, one the lowest not only in Africa but also in the world. This was partly explained by the low levels of fertilizers/ha. This is having a negative impact on total agricultural output as well as on food security. So, devising policies and strategies to improve the use of fertilizers was crucial.