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Mozambique: World Bank Strategy
Mozambique: World Bank Strategy
Date distributed (ymd): 971215
Document reposted by APIC
Region: Southern Africa
Issue Areas: +economy/development+ +security/peace+
This posting contains a December 10 statement by the Mozambican Debt Group
on the 1997 World Bank Country Assistance Strategy for Mozambique, as well
as an introduction and excerpts from a background analysis on the debate
over the strategy by Mozambique expert and World Bank critic Joseph Hanlon.
MOZAMBICAN CIVIL SOCIETY ATTACKS WORLD BANK OVER COUNTRY ASSISTANCE
Representatives of Mozambican civil society have strongly attacked the
World Bank over its preparation of the Country Assistance Strategy (CAS)
which goes to the Bank Board on 16 December.
The Mozambican Debt Group, one of the most active Mozambican civil society
coalitions, issued a statement on 10 December in response to a campaign
to defer consideration of the CAS. In particularly, it notes that "despite
Bank claims to the contrary, there was absolutely no consultation with
Mozambican 'civil society' on the 1997 CAS."
The Group goes on to complain that "the Bank used its discussions
with local actors as evidence of a participatory consultation process,
but ... the opinions of local actors were then largely ignored."
It also accuses the CAS of "misrepresentation" of civil society
views and of the HIPC agreements with Mozambique, and of making what "could
easily be interpreted as a thinly veiled threat" against those trying
to delay the CAS.
The full text of the statement is reprinted below.
The Mozambican Debt Group
Maputo, 10 December 1997
The Mozambican Debt Group is a coalition of non-governmental organizations,
church groups, unions, cooperative associations and individuals that are
working together to promote discussion and advocate solutions to the problems
associated with Mozambique's debt crisis and economic reform process.
With these goals in mind we would like to raise a number of questions
related to the exclusion of Mozambican "civil society" from the
consultative process of the World Bank's 1997 Country Assistance Strategy
(CAS) for the Republic of Mozambique. This is particularly relevant given
that one of the three principal aims of the 1997 CAS is to foster "partnerships
for Mozambique's development", including the Bank's attempts to "forge
stronger partnerships with civil society in Mozambique". This being
one of the objectives of the work of the World Bank in Mozambique, we would
like to stress the following points:
- Despite Bank claims to the contrary, there was absolutely no consultation
with Mozambican "civil society" on the 1997 CAS, though some
consultation did occur around the 1995 CAS. There is no point in arguing
that local actors participated in, or were even consulted on the content
of a document to which they were denied access. Furthermore, a vague point-form
presentation of the 1997 CAS, which did occur, is not a substitute for
gathering comments on the actual document.
- Representatives of foreign governments in Mozambique received advance
copies of the 1997 CAS for comment but Mozambican non-governmental organizations
and institutions were denied access. We trust that the World Bank can understand
how this draws into question the sincerity of the Bank's claim to value
consultation with Mozambican groups.
- While there was an attempt during 1997 to consult local organizations
and institutions on the 1995 CAS, there was no systematic attempt to explain
the ways in which that consultation was integrated into the formulation
of the 1997 CAS or to highlight areas of divergence between the Bank's
position and local feedback. There is a feeling among many organizations
in Mozambique that the Bank used its discussions with local actors as evidence
of a participatory consultation process, but that the opinions of local
actors were then largely ignored and did not influence the decision-making
- Following calls in Mozambique to delay the adoption of the CAS, the
World Bank suggested that a delay in the CAS could result in a delay in
the implementation of the Heavily Indebted Poor Country (HIPC) Initiative.
A letter written by World Bank staff and published in the Mozambican newsfax
"Metical" on 20 November reads: "One of the reasons why
we are going to present the CAS document to the administrators on 16 December
is because the administrators asked that the CAS be discussed before they
examine the final HIPC document...(we all) agree that debt alleviation
is of fundamental importance to the future of Mozambique, it is in nobody's
interest to delay the examination of the present CAS." This is a misrepresentation
of the original HIPC agreement and could easily be interpreted as a thinly
veiled threat that those who seek to delay the CAS do so at the expense
of debt alleviation.
We feel that a broader discussion of the 1997 CAS could have improved
the degree to which it is a reflection of actual conditions within the
country. While this letter is not a critique of the CAS itself, one example
is worth noting:
Section 34 of the 1997 CAS is a misrepresentation of the amount of local
"opposition" to the World Bank's cashew nut policy. This policy
was a "condition" of World Bank lending and not simply a staff
recommendation. Furthermore, it met with opposition from various sectors
and not just domestic cashew nut processors as suggested.
The Mozambican Debt Group realizes that the World Bank is making more
of an effort to consult local actors but there still exists substantial
room for improvement. We welcome the 1997 CAS's emphasis on working towards
greater understanding, transparency and participation in the Bank's interaction
with local actors.
Based on all of the above considerations, the Mozambican Debt Group
calls on the World Bank to demonstrate their good faith and commitment
to consultation by taking the following measures:
- The World Bank should publicly clarify that there is no direct relationship
between the acceptance of the CAS and the progression of the HIPC initiative.
- The various documents prepared by the Bretton Woods Institutions on
the situation and policies to be implemented in Mozambique should be made
- The World Bank should publicly release the 1997 CAS in Portuguese,
as well as distribute the Country Assistance Review in Portuguese as soon
as it is completed.
The Mozambican Debt Group Maputo, 10 December 1997 Graham Saul, Advocacy
Joint Oxfam Advocacy Program in Mozambique Tel: 258-1-304674 Fax: 420 799
WORLD BANK URGED TO DELAY DECISION ON
CONTROVERSIAL MOZAMBIQUE COUNTRY ASSISTANCE STRATEGY
Joseph Hanlon, November 21, 1997
Mozambican calls for a delay in the approval by the World Bank Board
of Directors of the Country Assistance Strategy (CAS) have been met by
World Bank threats to delay debt relief. The heavy-handed response underlines
the difficult relationship between the World Bank and Mozambique, which
the Bank often cites as one of its success stories, writes Joseph Hanlon.
Mozambique has also been caught up in resistance to efforts by President
James Wolfensohn to reform the Bank.
The CAS goes to the Board on 16 December 1997. The government-owned
news agency, AIM, said on 11 November that the CAS was being "thrust
down Mozambique's throat". The influential Maputo newsletter "Metical"
on the same day urged the Bank directors to defer a decision on three grounds:
+ That the CAS was written by the country operations director in Washington,
acting alone, just as happened in 1995, and that there was a "total
failure to consult openly in Mozambique",
+ that the CAS is being considered too quickly after the receipt of a special
Country Assistance Review, which should influence the new CAS and be subject
to ample discussion by Mozambican civil society, and
+ that Bank policy has been violated by the refusal of a request by Mozambique
to have country operations director resident in Mozambique.
The response was a letter from the Bank published in "Metical"
on 20 November which contained an open threat to delay debt relief. Mozambique
is one of the poorest and most highly indebted countries, and it should
in December also reach its "decision point" on HIPC -- the initiative
to relieve debt of the Highly Indebted Poor Countries. But the letter in
"Metical" warned that the CAS must be discussed by the Board
"before it examines the final HIPC document".
In fact, HIPC and CAS are totally separate procedures. HIPC should not
be conditional on an agreed CAS, and to suggest otherwise is an attempt
to blackmail Mozambique into accepting the CAS.
The draft CAS pays lip service to continuing problems in Mozambique,
but without recognising that Bank policies had played a role in exacerbating
those problems, and without spelling out how the Bank could help to resolve
The draft CAS recognises what it calls "tensions" and disagreements
between the Bank and the government over a number of issues. Government
opposes an unsustainable road building programme being pushed by the Bank.
Government also objects to what it sees as a bias toward exports and wants
the Bank to pay more attention to the rural poor; it sees a Bank preference
for large foreign companies and wants more support for Mozambican businesses.
Government still sees the Bank as arrogant and unaccountable; the draft
CAS dismisses opposition to Bank policies as the actions of "powerful
elites who oppose some reforms".
In a particularly damning indictment, the draft CAS admits that after
a decade of World Bank programmes and five years after the end of a devastating
apartheid-fuelled war, there is "a growing perception that the majority
of the population have not yet reaped the benefits of peace", and
that discontent could lead to violence. But the Bank refuses to accept
its responsibility or suggest a way to reverse this trend.
Finance and Planning Minister Tomaz Salomao told World Bank officials
recently that he was pleased they saw Mozambique as a "success",
but that personally he would prefer "development". He wants improvement
throughout the country, rather than statistical growth based only on the
Bank staff claim that in writing the Mozambique CAS, they carried out
one of the widest-ever consultations in Mozambique. This is rejected in
Mozambique. Although Phyllis Pomerantz, country operations director and
sole author of the draft CAS, made numerous presentations of what she planned
to write, she also refused to distribute a draft and was widely criticised
for not paying attention to what local people said.
After an angry meeting with the local business community, a former Prime
Minister who now heads a Mozambican bank told Pomerantz: "I'm fed
up. We came here because you said you wanted to listen. We have wasted
two hours because you haven't heard a word we said."
Mozambican government sources say that Pomerantz and the Africa division
are particularly resistant to the changes being pressed by the new World
Bank president James Wolfensohn. In particular, Wolfensohn told the World
Bank annual meeting in Hong Kong in September: "We have decentralised
aggressively in the field. By the end of this month, 18 of 48 Country Directors
with decision-making authority will be based in the countries they serve"
in order to get the Bank "closer to our clients' real needs."
Yet only two of those are in Africa. And in that same month, when Mozambique
formally asked that the departing resident representative be replaced by
a resident country director, in line with the new policy, this was rejected
by the Bank's Africa division on grounds of "cost".
"We must listen to local stakeholders. Our partnerships must be
inclusive -- involving ... labor organisations, NGOs, foundations and the
private sector," James Wolfensohn told the Hong Kong meeting. The
draft Mozambique CAS shows what happens when the Bank lectures its stakeholders
but fails to listen.
The CAS should be deferred and rewritten through a genuine Wolfensohn-style
partnership and open debate in Mozambique. The Board should allow more
time for discussion of the Country Assistance Review and also ask why the
Bank went against its own policy and refused to make the Country Director
BACKGROUND NOTE TO MOZAMBIQUE CAS DISCUSSION
The 1997 Country Assistance Strategy (CAS) is a rerun of the story of
the 1995 CAS. That 1995 document was written entirely in Washington by
Phyllis Pomerantz, then country operations manager for Mozambique. Even
the World Bank's own resident representative and local office played no
part in drafting the 1995 CAS. This was so blatant and so widely known
that when he was in Maputo in November 1996, the Vice President for Africa,
Callisto Madavo, specifically promised that this would not happen again.
But it has.
Dr Pomerantz has been promoted to be operations director for Mozambique
and Zambia, and she has again drafted the CAS on her own in Washington,
with almost no discussion with the Maputo World Bank office. Although it
goes to the board on 16 December and a draft is in circulation in Washington,
no draft was sent to the Bank office in Maputo, and no comments were sought
in Maputo. (This is officially denied by the Bank, but the denial is not
The Bank says that it has had a broad "consultation" with
civil society in Mozambique -- but that consultation was a sham. Dr Pomerantz
did go to Maputo and made extensive presentations on the CAS. The 1997
draft CAS says that comments from non-government organisations were "used
in the preparation of this CAS", but there is little evidence of this.
Indeed, requests from civil society for a draft of the 1997 CAS to comment
on have been refused.
Lecturing is very different from listening, and the input from non-government
organisations (NGOs) and the private sector was ignored. In, particular,
the private business sector raised concerns about poverty and the growing
gap between the capital, Maputo, and the rest of the country, which it
considered "unsustainable". Businessmen present at the meeting
said that, in response, Pomerantz lectured the private sector on what she
saw as their wrong attitudes.
The draft 1997 CAS does contain some shifts. Although the emphasis remains
on exports and liberalisation as the way to end poverty, there is finally
an acceptance of the need to direct more resources to rural areas. But
this rhetoric was in the 1995 CAS as well as earlier World Bank documents,
and has never been backed up.
In its final paragraph, the draft CAS admits the central issue: "The
growing public debate over economic policies and a growing perception that
the majority of the population have not yet reaped the benefits of peace
could threaten the continuity and pace of reform efforts or even, at its
extreme, shatter the peace."
There is increasing evidence, gathered for example by the UN War Torn
Societies Project and the Oxford Refugee Studies Centre report on demobilised
soldiers, that people in rural areas are on average poorer now that they
were at the end of the war in 1992, and that there is a danger of instability
in rural zones. Bank programmes have accelerated this trend because of
a defacto Maputo bias. The 1997 CAS fails to confront this.
A CAS which involved genuine input from local stakeholders would be
a very different document, and would tackle these concerns directly, rather
than tacking them on as an afterthought in the final paragraph.
THE POWER OF AN INDIVIDUAL
A central problem in recent relations has been the unchecked power of
one individual, Phyllis Pomerantz, and her efforts to impose on Mozambique
what is her sincerely held view of the best way forward. This has led over
the past three years to a total break between Washington and the Maputo
office of the World Bank, which is now simply bypassed and ignored by Washington-based
officials. In the most extreme case -- the roads programme -- the resident
representative Roberto Chavez was forced to write articles in the local
press because he had no channel to make his criticisms known to Washington.
Washington-based officials have also caused divisions within government,
by dealing only with those in Maputo who agreed with them. This has helped
to create the "tension" which the draft 1997 CAS admits exists.
Two particular issues promoted forcefully by Dr Pomerantz -- cashew
nuts and roads -- have been the source of particular controversy, and are
It is also important to note that Mozambique appears to have become
a battlefield in the struggle between James Wolfensohn and old-line Bank
staff over reforms.
THE CASE FOR DEFERRAL
The World Bank directors should on 16 December defer a decision on the
Mozambique Country Assistance Strategy on the following grounds: 1) That
there has been a total failure to consult openly in Mozambique. This is
in complete violation to promises by Madavo and by Wolfensohn's statement
in Hong Kong that "we must listen to the stakeholders." 2) That
CAS is being considered too quickly after the receipt of the Country Assistance
Review, without time for consultation with stakeholders. 3) That the refusal
to follow Bank policy to put the country director in the field when this
has been requested by Mozambique must raise some questions about relations
between the Bank and Mozambique which need to be resolved, and resolved
through public discussion.
Directors should: 1) discuss CAS on 16 December and then defer approval,
2) order the publication of the draft CAS and of the full Country Assistance
Review, to allow discussion by all stakeholders in Mozambique, and 3) approve
the HIPC document.
FOR MORE INFORMATION:
7 Ormonde Mansions 100a Southampton Row
London WC1B 4BJ, England
Tel: +44 171 405 12 53 Fax: +44 171 813 78 84
21 November 1997
This material is being reposted for wider distribution by the Africa
Policy Information Center (APIC), the educational affiliate of the Washington
Office on Africa. APIC's primary objective is to widen the policy debate
in the United States around African issues and the U.S. role in Africa,
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