Since emerging from a long civil war in 1992, Mozambique has struggled to consolidate peace and governance throughout the country. Now, with the country's burgeoning offshore energy sector promising many billions of dollars in the years ahead, the government has hopes of funding the country's development. But systemic problems such as an on-again, off-again conflict with its Cold War rival, Renamo, and an Islamic insurgency in the far north will hamper the country's efforts to attain stability and prosperity.
Mozambican President Filipe Nyusi said July 31 that he will sign a peace deal with longtime rebel group the Mozambique National Resistance Movement, better known as Renamo, which reportedly still has around 5,000 fighters. The announcement came amid a ceremony to disarm and integrate a group of Renamo soldiers into the country's armed forces or to civilian life.
Why It Matters
If signed, the peace deal will be the third of its kind between the government and Renamo. Once vicious, the conflict between government forces and Renamo has definitely lost its punch over the years as Renamo has struggled with the loss of manpower, resources and its longtime leader, Afonso Dhlakama, who died in 2018. These setbacks have made the group more amenable to a political settlement with the government, which for its part has sought a way to finally resolve the conflict.
If the deal is signed and adhered to, it may free additional resources and manpower for the Mozambican government to send to the extreme north of the country to try to stamp out an Islamic insurgency.
If the deal is signed and adhered to, it may free additional resources and manpower for the Mozambican government to send to the extreme north of the country to try to stamp out an ongoing Islamic insurgency. This could increase security for the country's nearby lucrative, and expanding, offshore energy sector, which is poised to generate significant revenues for the central government.
What to Watch for
Whether a deal is signed and whether Renamo actually disarms and integrates its soldiers will determine if anything comes of the president's announcement. Previously, the rebel group kept significant numbers of its troops armed in violation of agreements, asserting that it did not believe that the government in Maputo was acting in good faith. Whether the government proves willing to compromise with Renamo — especially in its traditional stronghold in the country's central provinces — ahead of the October 2019 elections will also, of course, determine if anything comes the president's announcement.