Working Paper
Rebuilding Rural Livelihoods and Social Capital

Mozambique's Experience

Mozambique has now enjoyed eight years of peace after a 16-year war that massively damaged the economy, caused over a million deaths, and displaced more than 3 million people. This paper aims to improve our understanding of how rural societies reconstruct using the district of Sussundenga in Manica Province in central Mozambique as a case study. The paper analyses household and community-level data collected by the author to assess the determinants of livelihoods in Sussundenga. It focuses on farm and non-farm incomes, access to land and other productive factors, as well as the importance of road infrastructure and education and health provisions. The paper finds the existence of substantial poverty, but also high levels of income inequality reflecting inequality in asset ownership - particularly of livestock. Variations in poverty and inequality across localities in Sussundenga also reflect the differential impact of the war on households; refugees in camps that offered education and training have done better in the post-war rural economy than refugees who received only food assistance. The paper also finds that female-headed households face severe problems and quantifies the extensive disadvantages that they suffer in comparison to male-headed households. The paper concludes that much more needs to be done if all households are to benefit from the post-war recovery of Mozambique's economy.