Power, Conflict and Natural Resources: The Mozambican Crisis Revisited

José Jaime Macuane, Lars Buur, Celso Marcos Monjane

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This article explores how the present socio-economic crisis in Mozambique is linked to the prospects of natural resource windfalls for the country. Drawing on the political settlement approach, it explores how the distribution of power both within and outside the ruling elite is structured and consequently how the underlying political processes have been shaped by the expectations of natural resource windfalls. The article argues that the present socio-economic crisis in Mozambique is not due to national resource assets in themselves. Instead, the political and economic downturn in Mozambique should be understood as a manifestation of how the political settlement has been organized and rent
mobilization controlled by the ruling elite. To understand how the prospect
of rents from natural resource sectors have influenced the political settlement, we have argued that one has to look at the dynamics of power both within and outside the ruling elite and the incentives they create for elites to use the control of power and access to economic benefits to achieve narrow and short-term gains rather than inclusive and longerterm goals.
Original languageEnglish
JournalAfrican Affairs
Issue number468
Pages (from-to)415–438
Number of pages24
Publication statusPublished - 2018


  • Natural resources
  • Resource curse
  • Political settlement

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