Social and Economic Background of Mozambique
According to the World Bank, in 1996, 78.4% of the population lived on less than US$2 per day and 38% on less than US$1 per day. In 2004, Mozambique had a population of 19.1 million people, 54% of whom were between the ages of 15 and 64. The 2004 PPP adjusted GDP per capita in terms of current international dollar was $1,233, a 10.07% increase from $1,120 in 2003. From 2003 to 2004, the remittances Mozambique received amounted to $30 million current USD according to the World Bank. In 1996, the GINI coefficient for Mozambique was 0.40. The World Bank estimates that Mozambique’s M2/GDP ratio was 0.30 in 2003. In 2003, Mozambique received $337 million FDI net inflow and $1,033 million in foreign aid and development assistance (both in current USD), according to the World Bank and the IMF, respectively. The informal economy accounted for 40.3% of GNI in 2003 based on World Bank statistics. The estimated unemployment rate in 1997 was 21%.
The currency of Mozambique is the Metical (MZM). The average exchange rate was MZM23,678.0:US$1 in 2002, MT23,782.3:US$1 in 2003 and MT22,581.3:US$1 in 2004, according to the Economist Intelligence Unit (EIU).
Mozambique participates in the World Bank and IMF’s Financial Sector Assessment Program (FSAP). Microfinance issues are covered in the Financial System Stability Assessment (FSSA) report for 2004.
Mozambique is classified as one of the Least Developed Countries by the UN.
Doing Business in Mozambique
The World Bank uses several indicators to assess the business environment of a country. In Mozambique, entrepreneurs are required to go through 14 steps to launch a business, at a cost of 96% of GNI per capita in 2004. Registering property requires seven steps. It costs 5% of GNI per capita to create collateral. The cost of collateral in the region is 42% of GNI and the average of OECD countries is 5.2% of GNI.
Mozambique scores 4 on a scale from 0 to 6 on the World Bank’s Credit Information Index rating scale.
It is difficult to enforce commercial contracts in Mozambique. According to the World Bank, it takes 38 procedures and 580 days from the time a plaintiff files a lawsuit to when he or she is actually compensated. The cost of enforcing contracts in terms of legal and court fees reaches 16% of debt value, compared to the regional average of 43%. Filing bankruptcy takes about 5 years with a cost of 8% of estate value. The recovery rate for creditors in Mozambique is $0.12 per USD.
According to Gabrielle Athmer and Henriqueta Hunguana, in 1998 the Bank of Mozambique (BoM) issued a decree (47/98) to regulate microcredit activities. This decree requires that all institutions and individuals providing credit, not registered under another form, must register with BoM. Institutions and individuals registered under this decree are allowed to provide credit but not to capture savings. The decree also allows for credit operators to impose compulsory savings as part of loan contracts. However, only certain types of operators (e.g. cooperative) are able to mobilize savings. While there are important advantages to such supervision, microfinance providers have pointed to continuing limitations of the system.
Gabrielle Athmer and Henriqueta Hunguana also state that in order to improve the legal environment of microfinance, Parliament approved alterations to Law 15/99 on April 28, 2004. The alterations include the introduction of new kinds of Credit Institutions and Financial Companies, including micro-banks. The new law defines micro-banks as “credit institutions which have a main objective of the exercise of restricted banking, operating specifically in microfinance, within the terms of the applicable legislation.”
MFIs and Commercial Banks’ Involvement in Mozambique
According to Gabrielle Athmer and Henriqueta Hunguana’s report, few credit institutions undertake microfinance activities in Mozambique: one microfinance bank (Socremo) and one commercial bank (NovoBanco); 3 credit cooperatives (Tchuma, Angónia Micro-enterprise Owners Credit Cooperative SCRL—CCMA and the Credit Cooperative for Rural Development) and a financial company (GAPI). GAPI intervenes indirectly in microfinance activity, as a wholesaler, granting funds to MFIs as loans.
According to the Research Study of Post-Conflict Microfinance in Mozambique by Susan Fraser and Rodolfo Candido, many of the credit activities in Mozambique arose from the relief and rehabilitation activities undertaken by international NGOs. During the mid 1990s implementers of savings and credit projects began to re-evaluate their activities and plan a transition from projects to MFIs.
Fraser and Candido state in their report that the supply of informal finance (moneylenders, family) was a crucial stop-gap for many households until semi-formal microfinance became available. Informal microfinance still remains an important coping mechanism for the poor. NGOs and MFIs do not lend money for consumption purposes so for most people, informal microfinance is still the only supplier of such credit.
Fraser and Candido also discuss the emergence of the WR/FCC community banking program in 1994 as a milestone in the supply of semi-formal microfinance in Mozambique. Prior to this, low repayment rates, low outreach and unsustainable structures were characteristic of semi-formal microfinance. In 1998 there were 25 individual initiatives and operations providing financial services to the poor in Mozambique. In 2000, that figure had increased to 30. New entrants in the microfinance sector are more advanced in terms of institutional structures, ownership and sustainability relative to NGO credit projects that have transitioned to MFIs.
Fraser and Candido also state that despite the demand for microfinance products, the formal sector did not target these clients. With the privatization of the banking sector under the ERP, the formal banks targeted large, low risk clients. Even Banco Popular de Devolvimento (BPD), the development bank, which had previously been the major provider of credit in rural areas, began to target large, urban, low risk clients following privatization. Only recently have private banks providing microfinance been established in Mozambique.
According to the Case Study of Mozambique by Fion de Vletter for the Joint ILO/UNHCR Workshop, there are a broad range of microfinance organizations in Mozambique that vary in their scale of efficiency from highly subsidized divisions, to development projects, to pure “best-practice” microfinance programs. Examples of international microfinance specialist NGOs are the solidarity groups set up by CARE and MEDA. These programs are extremely successful and are considered “best in practice” in Mozambique. The International General Development NGOs have been in existence since the emergency years and concentrate more on subsidized credit and are involved in activities related to development (e.g. health, education etc.). Some such organizations, such as Action Aid, are attempting to adopt microfinance principles. National NGOs are similar to the international NGOs. However the establishment of Tchuma demonstrates that with the adoption of tested methodologies local operators can be successful. Donor agency projects linked to microfinance initiatives are also limited in their size and scale.
There is no information available about the total number of clients or products and services provided by MFIs.
National Committee Activities in Mozambique
In July 2005, Mozambique held a day of study on “Microcredit and Local Human Development.” In September, a regional forum on microfinance in the East was held on the subject of: “Microcredit, a tool for local socio-economic development.” Another forum is planned for November on the subject of “Microfinance, a vector for social development.” Mozambique also has plans to hold a seminar to launch a National Microfinance Strategy, a directory of microfinance institutions in Mozambique, and a study on rural savings capacities. UNDP in Mozambique is working on a project known as “Upstream” to facilitate the establishment of a regulatory and operational microfinance environment and provide capacity building and technical assistance for the provision of financial services.
Fion de Vletter
The Evolution of Post-Conflict Transition: The Case Study of Mozambique, For the Joint ILO/UNHCR Workshop: Microfinance in Post-Conflict Countries, 15-17 September 1999, ILO, Geneva
Gabrielle Athmer and Henriqueta Hunguana
Poverty Outreach and Impact Assessment in Mozambique with Three Partner Institutions of the Netherlands Platform for Microfinance, December 13, 2004, Commissioned by: Netherlands Platform for Microfinance
International Labour Organization
The Evolution of Microfinance in a Successful Post-Conflict Transition: The Case Study of Mozambique, September 1999, Vletter Fion
Susan Fraser and Rodolfo Candido
Research Study of Post-Conflict Microfinance in Mozam, September 2001
Southern African Development Community
Trade, Industry and Investment Review 2005
The Mix Market
List of Least Developed Countries
University College Dublin, Center for Development Studies
Frasier Susan and Bne Saad Majda
World Bank Group
World Development Indicator Online Database
Doing Business: Snapshot of Business Environment-Mozambique 2004
Data & Statistics, accessed on June 15, 2005