“We’re in business. We’re not Jesus trying to save people. We do business, and when business is finished, we go away. Everyone has to live.”
Chinese timber buyer operating in Mozambique (Mackenzie, 2006:18)
This chapter will encapsulate the key discussions regarding China’s economic engagement of Mozambique within the dimensions of resource extraction and agriculture. When analysing China-Mozambique relations, agriculture and food security represents another dimension whose importance is likely to grow in the future not just for the particular case of Mozambique but for the African continent in general. In mid 2008, mealies was at its highest level in 11 years, rice and soya at their highest level in 34 years and wheat – like crude oil and gold – has recently touched its highest level ever (Evans, 2008:2). Mozambique’s agricultural and fishing potential puts the country in a privileged position to tap into an eventual big move from China looking at complementing its agricultural reserves for food security in Africa. This chapter will start by taking a look at particular instances of such projects and at the challenges of China’s presence in Mozambique’s agriculture sector. Thereafter, the possible lessons from China’s development history in the sector will be discussed followed by a closer look at two important sub-sections of the agriculture sector of Mozambique – agro-forestry and fishing sector. It seems to be the case that while timber might form a large component of exports to China, the figures are relatively low when considering the wider picture. The primary focus of this section is in understanding and characterizing Chinese agro-forestry interests in Mozambique, which seem to consist almost entirely of small scale logging operations operating on the very fringe of the formal economy and largely beyond the reach of de facto government control.
5.2. China and Agriculture in Africa – general lessons for Mozambique
The most important push factor for China’s interest in Africa’s agriculture is its internal move away from self-sufficiency (Roberts & Barrett, 2006). This push is of an historic and structural impact, making China, just like in the energy sector, dependent upon external purchases, trade and production. The move away from self-sufficiency is a by-product of China’s internal rising demand, as well as a revolution in eating habits and the variety of food produce consumption. It also seems like the return of China’s self sufficiency is unlikely as conditions at home provide a limited amount of quality land and water (Roberts & Barrett, 2006:27). This reality now means that China pays extra attention to the issues of tariffs and trade and brings new challenges for Africa and Mozambique. The WTO accession in 2001 brought pledges to reduce tariffs. China has since been trying to make the most out of international markets and trade and pushing in its rhetoric and agenda Neo-Liberal notions of economic absolute gains. In effect, Ni Hongxing, an official from the agriculture ministry claims that "we [China] have gained enough expertise to spread out". The official had earlier said that China had attained sufficient technological strength in the agriculture industry and has many high-quality technical personnel and enterprises (English People's Daily Online, 2008; Anderlini, 2008).
Developments in the beginning of 2008 show how Chinese companies have renewed incentives to invest in agriculture abroad, particularly in Africa and South America. This comes about after overseas land acquisition for agriculture becomes Central government policy (Anderlini 2008). Jiang Wenlai, of the China Agricultural Science Institute has even referred to the inevitability of “go-out” strategies of China’s agricultural companies because of limited land resources at home and rising demand. Curiously, this term had been usually limited to the corporate global champions of manufacturing, energy and finance. China follows the steps of other wealthy but food poor countries from the South such as Saudi Arabia and Lybia which are financing agriculture initiatives abroad. This demonstrates a greater degree of importance attached by investors to the original sourcing of food products and the traditionally lower end of the production chain, whose quality, prices and reliability now has greater influence in making or breaking a company’s strategy. So, China’s push for agricultural security abroad happens within a broader international “rush” to do so. China’s outward agricultural policy will faces serious challenges and will be a sensitive issue for countries like Mozambique. Sensitive because agriculture still occupies most of the active labour of Mozambique and it is uncertain exactly how China’s presence will affect the sector. The Financial Times (2008) however points to how agricultural investments are fixed assets, and beneficial in principle. The main risk is if “capital intensive cash crops are produced at the expense of labour intensive food” as happened during colonialism. In a nutshell, African governments need, through its trade policy and legislation, make sure that who controls the land does not immediately control the food and sovereign governments in Africa.
One of the greatest potentials for China’s direct impact on Mozambique’s development lies in how it can affect rural economic growth. In fact, China’s own fight against poverty owed much to rural economic growth which accompanied urban economic growth of the country. Its model for rural economic growth was market-based and is a model which can now be introduced to Africa and Mozambique. China was able to link internal and external market demands to the production capacity of rural producers doing so through various forms of state incentives but also by allowing for some degree of organizational freedom for rural enterprises. The development experience of China showed just how important it is for rural agriculture to develop at an early stage so that the pro-poor component of a development strategy can work. For China it was the smallholders who were the most important “agents of change” (Ravallion & Chen 2007: 22). From there on the country quickly moved its focus to other sectors of activity, privileging services, manufacturing and the middle classes. It was however the initial reform of its agricultural sector and the “positive externalities favouring non-farm development” (Ravallion 2008: 20) that emerged from that reform, allowing for the massive leap out of poverty of more than 400 million of people. Mozambique cannot therefore afford to neglect the agricultural sector if it wishes to achieve balanced economic development and poverty reduction. Labour absorption is particularly important in this context as agriculture manages to provide a productive leeway for that unskilled labour which fails to make rapid transitions to manufacturing and services (Allaudin & Tisdell, 1995; Chatterjee, 2005).
5.3. China and Agriculture in Mozambique
The importance of the agriculture sector for Mozambique cannot be underestimated, it accounts for more than 75 percent of the country’s workforce and a considerable percentage of the GDP, around 26 percent (Rabobank: Economic Research Department, 2006). The great majority of agricultural activity (90 percent) remains small in dimension and essentially familiar in nature. With 36 million hectares of arable land, of which a great majority remains unexplored, more than 60 rivers, great biodiversity and a wider range of climates, Mozambique holds an astonishing potential for having a productive agriculture sector. Strikingly, Mozambique still imports 20% of its grain consumption which in turn still does not satisfy the country’s population in its totality as 44% still suffer from under-nourishment (FAO, 2008). In this scenario, Mozambique’s engagement of China in the agriculture sector holds great potential.
Sugar has been one of the key crops with Mozambique keen to start exploring the fall in trade barriers for its exports to the EU in 2008. China can really make the most out of this situation as was discussed in Chapter 4 on general trade and FDI from China. Besides sugar, other export crops comprise cashew nuts, cotton, sugar cane, sunflowers, tea and tobacco while, with lower levels of production, domestic crops comprise cereals, vegetables and cassava. Mozambique also holds great climatic potential for producing livestock but it has not done so effectively and it remains dependent on the exterior for its internal consumption. Rice also remains one of the most consumed food produce in the country but the setting for rice production in Mozambique still faces major constrains. These comprise namely droughts, poor maintenance, and lack of a coordinated rice policy, of small farm equipment as well as of effective workers organisations (International Rice Research Institute, 2007). In this context, even without massive projects and investment, small initiatives by China can have a significant impact in boosting the rice production sector. In fact, in 2006, following a visit from China’s Hybrid Rice Institute, China’s deputy Trade minister, Wei Jianguo found during his visit to the country a great degree of interest from Mozambique’s government in China’s experience as a rice producer. The Chinese Minister pledged to assist Mozambique increase its rice production and help the government fulfil its ambitions for the wet crops in Maputo, Inhambane, Sofala and Zambézia (Macauhub, 2008).
Having introduced the general traits of China-Mozambique agriculture sector relations it is now important to mention the PARPA (República da Moçambique, 2006) as a strategic document that is central to Mozambique’s economic development. This is particularly so given the still great amount of aid from donors flowing into the government’s budget. Such aid represents more than half of the total public budget (Hodges & Tibana, 2005:53). This aid directly depends upon how donors view the quality and also applicability of the PARPA framework. Included within the PARPA is PROAGRI, a donor-dependent program which directly presents measures for tackling the development challenges at the level of the agricultural sector. PROAGRI has been criticized for having offered very superficial initiatives which fail to provide “measures for law enforcement, sustainable resource management or development of the sector” (Mackenzie, 2006:26).
With a looming cereal crisis in mid-2008, China was the first option as Mozambique sought to safeguard itself from it. The Minister of Industry and Commerce, António Fernando, on behalf of the government, sought to buy rice from China in order to meet short term needs and compensate for market instability. This small episode whereby 2008 saw a shortage of 315 thousand tones of rice is telling of Mozambique’s general situation in the sector (Macauhub, 2008). Paradoxically, Mozambique still imports every month 1700 tones of potato and 1000 tonnes of onion from South Africa. This is a localized dependency which does not apply to other products such as carrots and tomatoes for example but it is nonetheless illustrative of the difficulties the sector still goes through. (Jornal Notícias de Moçambique, 2007 C). Again, although holding great potential resources that can be tapped into in the long run, Mozambique’s agriculture sector remains unreliable and under-explored in the short term. These previous characteristics also mean that the agriculture sector is vulnerable to short-term “resource-grab” activities that should be avoided as much as possible.
After characterizing the Zambezi valley as one of the most fertile regions in the world, Loro Horta (Horta, 2008) goes on to describe how Mozambique’s authorities have been dealing with land distribution to Chinese agriculture entrepreneurs through leasing. He claims that China seeks to turn Mozambique into an important rice supplier whilst building infrastructure that facilitates the exit of the desired goods. The author suspects that the rice production in Mozambique will not be for internal consumption given Mozambicans preference for Cassava. Although he does not account for a possible change in diet, he does interestingly observe how China’s implementation of zero-tariff for the imports of 400 different products from Mozambique (including rice) offers further incentives for an agriculture production that is export-based in detriment of one that responds to internal consumption needs . Another interesting dimension introduced pertains to the importance of local politics and the reaction of locality to the arrival of Chinese land entrepreneurs. As this study showed for the case of Mphanda Nkuwa, the author alludes to how, when it comes to the Zambezi agricultural policies, the region’s story of autonomy from the capital means that it is not advisable for China to simply cut deals with Maputo while disregarding the very place they are actually settling which has important dynamics of its own. How important this will turn out to be in the future still remains to be seen. The potential problems faced by China with local communities are evidence of how local businessmen still do not see Chinese entrepreneurs as reliable benign actors contributing to the overall absolute economic gains of their region.
On a more positive note and also revealing the development partner nuances of China, 2007 saw Mozambique export more than 75 tones of agricultural products such as beans, corn, peanut and paprika, most of these originating from Nampula, a northern province of Mozambique (Zambézia, 2008). In August 2008 Nampula province started the export of some of its agricultural products to China, namely soja, peanunt and processed cashew nuts. This province is the biggest producer of cashew nuts of Mozambique with 75% of Mozambique’s total production. (Zambézia, 2008) China has also provided 55.3 million dollars for the building of a centre for agriculture technological training (Jornal Notícias de Moçambique, 2007 B) and for the recovery of some infrastructures destroyed by floods. This has been one of the initiatives of the China-Mozambique Joint Commission for Economic Cooperation. Mozambique’s was the first of 10 other planned centers around Africa to open such an institution. China sponsored the new Rural Development Schools in Vilankulo that opened in 2008, a branch of Eduardo Mondlane University. It did so through a partnership with Sichuan University and will present courses geared towards management, technical learning and productivity increase (Jornal de Notícias de Moçambique, 2008 B). On top of this, a recent curious development will see China help Nampula Region grow bambu for the first time. The bamboo produced will first be destined for family consumption but on a second phase it will also be used in craftsmanship, furniture and production of biofuel. For the purpose a team of Mozambican farmers went to China to receive training and observed that the climatic conditions of Nampula suited the plant (Jornal de Notícias de Moçambique, 2007).
A central component for Mozambique to be able to successfully reform its agricultural sector is then the ability to bring about a research and development component to the sector, China can play an important role towards this technology learning process. Indeed, “China would seem to be in a good position to help African countries build up their agricultural research and extension systems” (Ravallion 2008: 21). What can China’s role be in helping a low income country like Mozambique to benefit from structural changes brought about by the crisis? China is likely to advance with its bilateral food supply arrangements, imitating those already in place for energy supply. Alternatively it can also start engaging international partners regionally, a move that would also depend on a concerted response to the problem by regional African organizations such as SADC and IGAD. As a report notes: “development advocates may find that the emergence of food as a top-rank political issue provides them with an opportunity to form new alliances, new coalitions and new drivers for change” (Evans, 2008: 9,11).
5.4. China and Mozambique’s agro-forestry sector
One of the agriculture sub-sectors which has, for China, drawn much interest to Mozambique has been the agro-forestry sector. China’s companies have had a great presence in the sector with China importing up to 80% of Mozambique’s total timber exports and now being the world’s major importer of logs (Horta, 2008). In their constant push towards greater profit margins the companies have, however, at times been tempted to carry out illicit activities in the form of illegal and unregistered activities as well as over-exploitation of unauthorized areas and quantities of exotic wood. Mozambique holds very valuable reserves of tropical wood, with 19 million hectares and a capacity to export up to 500,000 cubic meters per year (SADC Review, 2007) including the umbila, jambirre, chanfuta and African sandalwood types. In 2006 China reportedly imported 94,000 cubic metres of logs from Mozambique. A phenomenon which started in the Zambezia has spread to Niassa, a rich and unexplored area next to lake Malawi as well as to other regions. It is also worth noting how the business of illegal logging often ends up going hand in hand with other illicit activities which include trading products of illegal hunting such as leopard skins and elephant tusks, illegal fishing and the smuggling of precious stones (Horta, 2008). The already mentioned coming into effect of a list of 190 non-tariff products to be exported from selected African countries to China has played a big role in fomenting the rise in African exports to China but, at the same time, many of the products in the list being somewhat irrelevant and not having a great potential for being exported from Africa to China. The list is however set to be extended to 440 as announced in the 2006 FOCAC meeting (Edinger, Herman, & Jansson, 2008: 15). Having said that, wood products are included in that list, making the export of such goods from Mozambique potentially much easier and potentially profitable.
Catherine Mackenzie’s report (2006) exposed the mechanisms of unsustainable economic processes occurring in the northern region of Mozambique which have been instigated by Chinese private companies. The report calls, and convincingly so, for policies that imply sustainable economic exploration of timber to be put into place as well as mechanisms in which to make sure that the business also brings about improvements in the economic development of rural areas. For such to happen, it proposes in practice for a moratorium on log exports to be set up. At its crux the report identifies a tension between the private and public interests of some government officials (Mackenzie, 2006:vi) to the point of describing a “timber mafia” which distorts legal frameworks for regulating agriculture and logging as well as statistical data. One of the first cornerstones the author advances as being important to push in the country’s forest governance strategy is to set up in-country processing of the woods. This should be an important concern for government so that the value-added of wood processing that could stay in Mozambique does not flee in its totality to another node in the international production-chain outside Mozambique. The problem of petty corruption stands out in the story of how the illegal exploitation of logging pans out and, in this context, 2000 was a landmark year as it was then that such issues first came to the attention of the mass media after a series of scandals. As too many logs are being exported it has been witnessed, above all, an implementation problem as well as one of lack of transparency in the attribution of timber concessions. Although not without its flaws and problems, the law exists on the amounts and form of export in what regards forestry, it simply is not being applied effectively. For instance, although it is codified that the country should aspire to “reduce exports of raw timber and stimulate industrial transformation” in Mozambique’s policy paper entitled “Government Programme and the Policy and Implementation Strategy for Agriculture” (Ministério de Agricultura e Pescas, 1995), this in fact has not yet been realized in practice.
Catherine Mackenzie puts the problem in an international perspective going beyond China alone. It also notes how the unyielding demand from the US, Japan and EU to import from China cheap goods derived from processed wood products, further pushes Chinese companies to seek for essential primary goods with extra urgency (Mackenzie, 2006: ix). China is now in fact one of the world’s major leaders in furniture production (White et al 2006) and the largest wood importer by far, particularly after a partial logging ban was introduced at home in 1998. In the areas where forestry activities take place, local communities are often left outside the process, be it by Mozambican entrepreneurs from a different region or by actors external to Mozambique itself. This happens despite the valuable know-how they have for local forestry activities. Log exports were in 2006 the second most important export for Mozambique, after shrimps (Mackenzie, 2006:11). In effect, October 2007 saw Nampula authorities apprehending 531 containers of wood valued at 3.5 million of Euros which were about to be illegally exported to China (Zambézia, 2007). In December 2007, 7 Chinese firms were found guilty of exporting illegally from Mozambique (Africa Research Bulletin 17790, 2008, March 16 - April 15) but once again the very punishing mechanisms, i.e. fines of $500,000, are rather lenient when compared to the potential profits that can be made from exporting the exotic woods. This report in the Africa Research bulletin suggests that the most effective mechanisms of surveillance against illegal logging should be set up in port areas where the products will necessarily have to go through. This whole problem of China’s presence in Mozambique’s forestry sector has many similarities with what is happening in Tanzania. Cross-border cooperation between Mozambique and Tanzania forestry governance institutions can, in this sense, be important to create a more effective legislation and practical response. It sheds light on how better than learning lessons in isolation, African states should keep sector-specific dialogue, and share technical experience and expertise when dealing with similar opportunities and challenges brought about by Chinese economic engagement. Such coordination can make sure that China is not just trying to displace traditional western orientation of the continent or simply grabbing easily accessible resources and is actually contributing to the development plans of African governments.
China’s buyers have managed to get small operators on their side by providing a micro credit service which was inexistent before, a credit that is in turn used to purchase small machinery and cover expenses for the actual logging activity. In fact, China’s buyers create what (Warner, 1994) calls a “debt bondage with the sellers”, a patron-client relation carrying according to the personal relations between the two and with varying degrees of dependency. Interestingly, the Mackenzie’s report concludes that if “forest governance were improved, the majority would probably leave” (Mackenzie, 2006:17). There is an hiatus between how forests in Mozambique are supposed to be managed, how this management is codified in law and how they actually are managed. This together with serious reporting and statistical flaws in the past, where for example the main wood type of Pau Preto was simply omitted (Mackenzie, 2006:36) colludes to generate a context of uncertainty and lack of information which eases corruption and political manipulation for the circumstantial benefits of individual actors. Mozambique’s agro-forestry law enforcing agency, SPFFBZ, has been struggling with supervising the number of licenses it issues every year. An area in which international partners can assist through capacity-building assistance and the provision of know-how. That being said, the environmental damage of forestry activities still fall short of the impact of household maintenance activities of rural families as they create charcoal for heat and over-exhaust agricultural fields. At the end of the day, the concession process needs to be reviewed by government, in practice these policies need to be subject to an analysis which puts into context policy formulation and application by the government with the pressures and actions of international actors, both private and public. Strikingly, SPFFBZ, has only one mobile unit for inspections and law enforcement, meaning that illegal procedures can pretty much go undisturbed. Meanwhile, there is no long-term post-logging strategy of recover in place and the greatest majority of the work is subcontracted to informal workers who are frequently paid below minimum wage (Mackenzie, 2006:48-49). It is for such reasons that Loro Horta describes the Zambezi Valley as China’s first agricultural colony. He points to the changing eating habits of the Chinese who have markedly increased their food consumption in the last decades, arguing that such consumption is pushing China to seek its increasingly demanding food security abroad at all costs (Horta 2008; Personal Communication – interview Loro Horta).
As in the broader sector of agriculture, the forestry sub-sector can be a platform for development through absorption of low-skill workers and job creation. In 2003 it employed 2500 workers just operating “simple licenses” (Mackenzie, 2006:60). As the industry flourishes it is important for Mozambique entrepreneurs to have incentives to diversify and carry out more advanced forms and stages of forestry activity in the country. Namely in what comprises advanced processing of the two most precious kinds of wood in Mozambique, Pau Preto and Mondzo. As the great majority of foreign buyers in the forestry sector of Mozambique are currently from China, these entrepreneurs basically hold between themselves the ability to regulate the value of logging in the country. How this value is precisely defined rests with a variety of factors, from the international conditions of the market, to individual in-market conditions in Mozambique as well as the individual profile and business record of their companies. Although buyers are also subject to a considerable amount of risk and there are some stories of business disasters, small “simple producers” and those selling their logs in the open market are in this sense subject to the China’s big buyers. These are who have the upper hand and the last say on the prices paid. The key point seems to be that small and medium-scale agro-forestry companies plant, grow and harvest timber while the Chinese actors present in Mozambique tend to be more focussed on extraction only with a few exceptions.
Outward investments in natural resources can support sustainable development in other parts of the world, if carried out in an appropriate manner and managed properly. There is, however, a limit to the amount of natural resources that can be consumed, and on a global level there already exists an over-consumption of natural resources. Chinese entrepreneurs have played a particularly concerning role in the illegal timber trade at the international level, African and Mozambican illegal imports to China are still relatively small when compared to those from South East Asia and Russia as noted in the Figure 7 below, but the volume in illegal wood-based products trade between Africa and China can easily grow into even greater levels.
Figure 7 - Illegal imports and exports of wood-based products to and from China
Source (Global Timber, 2006)
It is then important to ensure that countries avoid a “race to the bottom” in which investors and recipient countries are lowering environmental and social standards (Pamlin & Baijin 2007:11). In fact, Xiaogang and Ding Pin (2008) bring attention to a particular development by which China is now starting to make use of the Equator principles to improve the environmental standards of its projects. They set out their argument by pointing to how in the long run loans will tend to seek out greater efficiency and be more capable to avoid risk and consistently re adjust the industrial structure (Xiaogang & Pin, 2008:38). This will only be possible by means of more effective and transparent assessments of environmental and social impacts. There is however still a need for a wider deployment of means through which to check upon previous commitments under the Equator principles. For this to happen, lobbying from NGOs concerned with such issues needs to become more informed of the dynamics and the details of international risk, loan and credit management. The authors even suggest for some of the Equator principles to be written into the national law of some African states (Xiaogang & Pin, 2008:65). Using the theoretical framework of Susan Strange, these are initiatives which can help formalize and alter the tendencies of structural power defining so far Mozambique-China relations. A lack of control and precision in legislation as well as in environmental and labour principles has been tacitly explored by some of China’s entrepreneurs. African countries and Mozambique need therefore to be able to bring into the top of the agenda as much as possible issues which directly affect their development paths and not be completely subject to the priorities of strategic decisions unilaterally taken by China or other partners. In fact, voiced concerns have already had an effect. In an important development in early 2008, the Chinese government implemented legislation aimed to ensure the incorporation of corporate social responsibility in Chinese agro-forestry corporations. The threat is to pull their licences to operate overseas if they do not comply. The focus of the legislature was on Chinese companies operating in Southeast Asia-Malaysia and Indonesia and it is yet to be seen how effectively they are implemented. However, the final outcome of such developments will have direct implications for the activities of Chinese agro-forestry firms entering Africa, including those with stakes in Mozambique.
5.5. Fishing and Aquaculture
Alex Evans from Chatham House envisages further increases in aquaculture and demand for fish produces in the medium run (Evans, 2008:4). As land and resources at home deplete, China will invariably tend to, again, look outwards for securing such produce.
Problems in the fishing sector are similar to those in the forestry sector. The two are linked as reasons for deforestation to be accounted for are economic and not just strictly environmental in nature. Mangrove ecosystems in coastal regions supply the basic habitat for shrimp, not just a central means for small business and many livelihoods in Mozambique but also one of the country’s main exports. The destruction of such ecosystems can also have a negative impact on Mozambique’s coral reefs, a great attraction factor for Mozambique’s tourism sector.
The situation of the fishing sector has some similarities with that of agriculture. Although there are some cases of industrial fishing occurring, with China even being one of the main importers of shrimp, most of the production is carried out by small-scale fishermen. As in agriculture the potential is tremendous. Most of the industrial fishing is carried out by Mozambican companies in partnership with other international partners from Portugal, South Africa and Japan for example. In the last few years there have also been the first instances of aquaculture production. The government needs to keep promoting an increase in added-value activities in the sector and to keep creating adequate conditions for FDI. The interest of China in Mozambique’s prawn production is particularly interesting. China is a prawn producer itself and one of the main exporters to large markets such as the US. Its companies have nonetheless been importing large quantities of unprocessed prawns from Mozambique.
China’s very own path of agriculture development holds some potentially important lessons and experiences which are worthwhile for Mozambique to try and learn from. The development experience of China showed just how important it is for rural agriculture to develop at an early stage so that the pro-poor component of a development strategy can work: it was there that the process kick-started for China. At the end of the day, “efforts to develop policy levers to prompt more constructive Chinese engagement in Africa will have to proceed from China’s economic interests” (Obiorah 2007:50) It will not, however be a function of Mozambique comprehensively copying the agriculture development path of China, not just because the socio-economic conditions of the two countries are completely different but also because the international conditions are markedly different with the a food crisis looming in 2008 and a different set of challenges and opportunities.
Overall, the engagement of China’s entrepreneurs in the agro-forestry sector showed some liabilities for Mozambique’s economic development so far due to a lack of capable institutional response by the government and Chinese entrepreneurs having acted as economic competitors and short-term “resource-grab” agents. This is something that, despite some cases of illegal fishing, has been less felt in the case of the fishing sector. In any case, besides needing to overcome its bureaucratic capacity deficit, Mozambique should also prepare itself to successfully manage China’s new propensity for extending into Africa its push for food security.
The debate regarding China’s involvement in the agriculture and fisheries sector in turn reflects many of the dilemmas of the wider debate. China and its entrepreneurs have however the potential to help those in the agriculture sector in Mozambique to more efficiently identify their priorities. Much will also depend on the success of recent legislation in China pertaining to the corporate social responsibility of its agro-forestry companies operating abroad. The ability of Mozambican civil society and poorer constituencies to influence policy-makers and those stakeholders defining China-Mozambique relations will, in this sense, also be important. It remains uncertain to what extent China can help Mozambique when it comes to state building and state capacity.