Yes indeed, our journey has been long and hard. As we approached independence in the 1970s, many, if not most, of the Portuguese who had ruled us were not prepared to accept the change.
After independence, most of them would not accept the new government. They left for South Africa, then an apartheid state, and Southern Rhodesia (Zimbabwe). They also destroyed infrastructure, factories, farms, machinery – everything productive was destroyed. This was a very difficult, dangerous and tense period.
The attacks were so severe that millions of Mozambicans escaped to neighbouring states such as Malawi and millions more were internally displaced. The country’s first President, Samora Machel, and South African academic Ruth First were assassinated. – Editor).
Our stand against apartheid cost us a great deal. The economic sanctions imposed by South Africa were very severe and many people lost their jobs and livelihoods.
Q: What are your major economic obstacles?
A: Perhaps the biggest hurdle at the moment is in terms of human capacity. Because of the disruption caused by the war, we have a shortage of skilled, educated labour.
We cannot develop if we are not able to assimilate knowledge. We need more scientific training, more training in law and the social sciences.
We need to produce more food and import less, the infrastructure, including housing, has to increase, productivity must improve but above all, we must overcome the skills deficit.
- African Business editor Anver Versi interviewed President Guebuza during his recent visit to London.