Millennium Development Goal (MDG) 1: Eradicate Absolute Poverty and Hunger. The MDGs are eight goals to be achieved by 2015 that respond to the world's main development challenges. The MDGs are drawn from the actions and targets contained in the Millennium Declaration of 2000.
The last Progress Report on the Millennium Development Goals (MDGs), published in 2005, was based on the results of the National Household Survey (IAF) 2002/03 in which the percentage of people living below the national poverty line in Mozambique stood at 54.1%. According to the projections of PARPA II and taking into account the trend in poverty reduction witnessed from 1996/7 to 2003, it is expected that the proportion of people living below the national poverty line will reduce to 45% in 2009 and that the MDG target of a reduction to 40% will be achieved by 2015.
It should be taken into account that the target is to reduce by half the number of people living below the national poverty line by 2015 from the levels recorded in 1990. However, the first comprehensive survey (expenditure and income) was only conducted in 1996/7. The reason for this lies in the lack of consistent records (with rural/urban representation for comparison) before that period. In 1996/7 the percentage of people living below the national poverty line was 69.4% and taking into account the effects of war in 1990, it is reasonable to assume that in 1990 close to 80% of the population were living below the poverty line.
On the basis of this scenario, Mozambique is improving favourably with regard to achieving the first MDG goal, although there are still many challenges to confront in order to achieve this target.
An important determinant in this trend is good economic performance with economic growth rates in excess of 7% in recent years. However, floods, droughts and cyclones have caused significant problems in progress towards the achievement of this target.
It should be noted that the data regarding this target are collected only once every 5 years. A new household survey, which will enable the progress against the indicators to be updated, is current underway. In 2005 Mozambique conducted a Labour Force Survey. Whilst this survey cannot be used to estimate poverty, it provides useful information with regard to trends in the country’s welfare levels. Possession of bicycles increased from 28% in 2003 to 46.5% in 2005 and possession of a wireless set also shows significant increases from 45,5% to 63,3% over the same period. Increases in possession of goods has been verified both in rural and urban areas which is an indication that both areas are benefiting from economic growth. The rural areas present higher growth rates than those in urban areas, being more than 20% and nearly 10% in rural and urban areas, respectively (DNPO et al, 2004 and INE, 2005-IFTRAB).
Despite these positive trends, Mozambique is still struggling against many challenges especially taking into account that half of the population live below the poverty line, including the following:
As a result of the implementation of the Five-Year Government Programme and PARPA II, Mozambique has been adopting public policies and legislation intended to reduce poverty, promote development and respect human rights, notably through the Rural Development Strategy, the Strategy and the Action Plan for Nutritional and Food Security, the National Policy for Employment and Professional Training, the Social Protection Laws, the New Labour Law, and the National Plan for Food Production in Mozambique, 2008-2011. Strategic Development Plans have been adopted at district level accompanied by the decentralization and transfer of funds to the districts in the context of the Local Investment Budget (OIIL).
The Government is implementing policies that will accommodate the enlargement of revenue facilities in order to ensure an increase in public revenues, as well as responding to the present oil and foodstuffs price shocks in terms of adoption of a subsidy policy benefiting the most critical sectors as regards to supplies in fuel and public transports.
Mozambique needs to mobilize more domestic resources through expanding fiscal policy (Government revenue has increased from 13.4% in 2005 to 14.9% in 2007) and increasing capacity to attract foreign direct investments in order to achieve the challenges of development so far. The country is still highly dependent on external support (about 50% of the State Budget in 2007), despite the fact that its weight in terms of GDP has been decreasing. With a view to improving the use of development aid the Government is preparing its first National Policy for Development Cooperation. This is an exercise focusing on the coordination of external support in a way that promotes harmonization and ensures that all development assistance efforts are in line with national development priorities.
In 2005 and 2008, Mozambique was hit by natural disasters aggravating the nutritional and food insecurity situation of the affected population.
The “Percentage of Low Weight per Age” (BP), one of the nutritional vigilance indicators, reflects the percentage of underweight in children under 5 years.
The values of the moderate and severe BP percentage are still above the acceptable level of 16% and the target of 17% defined for 2015. The outcomes since 2001 are showing a tendency for gradual reduction despite there not being significant differences between the IDS data for 200314 (23.7%) and SETSAN data for 200615 (25.5%). It should be noted the IDS survey involved both urban and rural areas, whereas the sample for the Vulnerability Analysis (SETSAN) included peri-urban and rural areas only and did not include urban areas. Comparing the 2006 results with those of 2003 shows a BP reduction in almost all provinces, notably Gaza and Cabo Delgado, but an increase in Nampula. This province had the highest BP in 2006 (37.3%) whilst in 2003 Cabo Delgado presented the highest rate (34.2%). Maputo Province and Inhambane presented the lowest BP levels in 2006, and the same was recorded in 2003. The highest BP (30.6%) in 2006 was found in children between 12-23 months and in 2003 in children between 10-11 months (36.9%).
The percentage of severe and moderate acute malnutrition in children under 5 years at national level was 4% in 2003 and 2006. In 2006, Tete (7.5%) and Cabo Delgado (7.3%) Provinces showed the highest levels and significant increases in the percentage of children in relation to 2003. There has been a reduction, notably in Gaza and Nampula and a slight increase in the children in the remaining provinces. In 2003, the provinces with the highest figures had been Sofala (7.6%), Gaza (6.7%) and Nampula (6%). It was the group of children aged 10-11 months that recorded the highest levels of acute malnutrition both in 2006 (7%) and 2003 (7.4%).
This age group is especially vulnerable being a transitional age group between the time when milk satisfies the majority of nutritional needs to the phase when the household feeding plays a critical role, and very often proves inadequate for all the child needs, leading to malnutrition.
The percentage of severe and moderate chronic malnutrition in children under 5 years is comparatively the same between 2006 (41.5%) and 2003 (41%), with Nampula experiencing the highest value (58.7%). In 2003, Cabo Delgado achieved the highest value of 55.6%. Gaza (26.5%) and Inhambane (27.9%) showed the lowest values in 2006. The 2003 IDS identified 45.7% of rural children and 29.2% of urban children with chronic malnutrition and the age group 12-23 months showed the highest value (47.9%) in 2006. 20.1% of severe chronic malnutrition cases (z-score of -1.67) were observed in 2006.
Food Consumption Scoring analysis in terms of being a proxy indicator of diet quality shows that the situation seems to be stable The harvesting period (March-April) makes a positive contribution to household diet quality (between 48 – 61% households have an adequate diet, 20-30% moderate diet and 18-24% poor diet) and is better than the period preceding the following crop campaign, i.e. the period from September to October, when it drops to 30-65% households with adequate diet, 15-28% with moderate diet, which means a significant variation (8-54%) households with poor diet. The graph below shows the vulnerability distribution per Province.
Taking into account the fact that rural households spend 60-65% of their average income on their food, and as this expenditure is higher and the food reserves lower in households with low food consumption, projections indicate that the situation of nutrition and food security, particularly with regards to quality of diet, will deteriorate due to price increases of basic products that has been witnessed in recent years, with a tendency for this to be aggravated due to the oil crisis and the reduction of foodstuffs availability. The analysis shows that urban populations and those living in the Southern region were those most affected by aggravated prices of basic foodstuffs as they are most dependent on markets for the purchase of foodstuffs.
Since the price rise observed in 2005 due to drops in production between the years 2004/5, 2006 and 2007, there have been normal variations in cereal prices. In the present year, 2008, very high price increases are being experienced particularly for maize and beans, with a tendency to increase even more. In many markets, the average price for June 2008 have been double those of June 2007.
With the adoption of ESAN II, the Government has been creating a favorable environment for the implementation of the action plan. In addition, there has been the adoption of ESAN II and PASAN as part of the Green Revolution, the Agricultural Products Trading Strategy, the Rural Development Strategy, the Maternal Milking Code of Substitutes and Natural Disaster Prevention Plan. These guidance documents aim at reinforcing the public policy framework which had already integrated the National Nutrition Strategy.
The different tools for implementing SAN have been adopted in a participatory way involving the Government, cooperation partners and civil society, which gives them legitimacy and facilitates their coordinated and participatory implementation and the achievement of necessary commitments for the goal achievement.
Furthermore, the Council of Ministers has adopted the Action Plan for the production of foodstuffs between 2008 and 2011 in order to mitigate the impact on price rises. In addition, the Government and the United Nations have been incentivising local purchases of food products for their redistributive food support and social protection programmes.