The political economy of South African foreign direct investment in Mozambique: a case study of Mozal and its implications for development in Mozambique and Southern Africa
Pretorius, Leon Gilbert
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The MOZAL aluminium smelter in Maputo is the largest-ever foreign direct investment in Mozambique. South Africa's state-owned Industrial Development Corporation (IDC) owns 24% shares in MOZAL and the Development Bank of South Africa (DBSA) and Eskom provided road and power supply infrastructure to ensure the success of the smelter. BHP Billiton is the majority shareholder, the other being Mitsubishi. MOZAL is the flagship of South Africa's foreign policy for regional integration in southern Africa and economic reconstruction in Mozambique: a practical manifestation of the African Renaissance. This thesis is a case study of MOZAL as an example of cross-border industrial development and its implications for development in Mozambique. Using an eclectic multidisciplinary Critical Global Political Economy (critical GPE) theoretical framework, a survey of relevant literature and a series of selected open interviews, it examines how development based on the assumptions of industrialisation and neo-modernisation espoused by the governments and private sector champions of MOZAL impact on class, gender, environmental and social justice in Mozambique. The research identifies the socio-economic development dimensions of MOZAL for Mozambique and how the cost and benefits are distributed among the various social groups and actors directly and/or indirectly involved with the MOZAL aluminium smelter. The main findings are that MOZAL as a private sector FDI project is a qualified success. On the positive side, it contributes to economic growth. However, the benefits to Mozambique are exaggerated and are not broadly distributed. On the negative side, it contributes to increasing the economic dependence of Mozambique on the South African economy. Instead of narrowing the development gap, the smelter has contributed to increased differentiation between companies in South Africa and Mozambique and, within Mozambique, between the Northern and Southern regions, as well as among MOZAL employees and the majority of the population in Maputo. The implications are that the development benefits from foreign direct investment cross-border industrial development projects may, at least in the short-term, lead to uneven regional integration and development enjoyed by a few.