, VI Conference of BRICS Initiative of Critical Agrarian Studies

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China’s “Friendship” projects in Mozambique: cooperation or recolonization?
Máriam Abbas

Last modified: 2018-12-13


China’s relationship with Mozambique is not recent; dating since before independence in 1960s with political, economic and military support from China. Afterwards the relationship was strengthened, being China one of Mozambique’s larger trading partner and among the top 10 countries investing in Mozambique.

The presence of Chinese investment is increasing in most sectors in Mozambique, such as: industry, construction, fishery, agriculture and more recently in mineral resources. This Chinese cooperation/investment is based on the assumption that it is supposed to create economic growth and develop some important sectors in Mozambique, as well as promote local jobs. In the agricultural sector, Chinese cooperation/investment is meant to increase agricultural productivity, technology transfer, rural extension and technical training in order to assure food security to the small farmers.

There is a common perception that China is supporting Chinese enterprises to acquire land abroad as part of a national food security strategy.  However, Mozambican politicians and elites seem to have been receptive to Chinese investment; and, China is seen as a strategic partner to help Mozambique, therefore, the Mozambican government has attributed great importance to the cooperation with China.

Some may call it Chinese cooperation or investment; Others call it land grabbing; And others recolonization. The main goal of this paper is to analyze the China-Mozambique investment/cooperation and trade, and try to assess whether the Chinese relations with Mozambique have been beneficial for the population and to what extent this investments and partnerships are seen as business as usual, or whether we are in the presence of a second “smooth” colonization.


China, Mozambique, cooperation, recolonization.

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