Foreign Aid, Resource Rents, and State Fragility in Mozambique and Angola
Sharing similar colonial and postindependence civil war experiences, Mozambique’s and Angola’s development paths are often contrasted, with foreign aid-dependent Mozambique hailed a success compared to oil-rentier Angola. This article questions the so-called Mozambican miracle and revisits Angola’s trajectory over the past two decades. Paying attention to ruling parties and postwar political economy transitions, we discuss differences and similarities in postconflict reconstruction paths, policy, and institutional fragility. We suggest that large aid flows to Mozambique have contributed to a relaxation of its government’s urgency in creating the financial structure capable of capturing rents from natural resources in contrast to Angola, where the relative absence of official development aid has led Angolan elites to seek tenure prolongation partly through high rent capture and incipient socialization of massive oil rents. We conclude by discussing the likely consequences of these factors in terms of the relative “fragility” and “robustness” of both states, and by discussing the implications for foreign assistance.