Mozambican project on hold due to political turmoil

The PROIRRI Financial Literacy Training that started in February 2016 has been set on hold due to political turmoil in Mozambique. Traveling is too unsafe as the opposition of the government has been attacking roads in the region where the project is taking place. To ensure the safety of its staff when traveling in these areas, the implementing agencies of the project have decided to temporarily put the PROIRRI Literacy Training on hold.

Political turmoil
In the past months, Mozambique has suffered multiple attacks from armed militia of the opposition party Renamo (Mozambique National Resistance). Renamo and the ruling party Frelimo (Front for the Liberation of Mozambique) fought a 16-year civil war that ended in 1992, but political tensions between the two parties have continued to persist. Since the April 9 assassination of a Renamo delegate of the National Defense and Security Commission tensions have severely increased. The Mozambican police and army have been continuing to apply pressure on Renamo to make them surrender their arms. The World Bank has advised all its partners and running projects in Mozambique to ensure the safety of staff by “avoiding nonessential travel through rural areas in central Mozambique, especially in parts of the region where Renamo has carried out attacks.” (World Bank Travel Alert of April 18, 2016).

PROIRRI Financial Literacy Training
One of the concerned projects is the PROIRRI Financial Literacy Training, that was launched by the World Bank and the Ministry of Agriculture of Mozambique in February 2016. Part of this training is the SMS-based accountancy system that is in hands of TTC Mobile. Through the accountancy system, saving data will be collected to measure the individual and group progress towards saving targets. Using this information, farmers can be supported in improving their financial literacy. The SMS-based accountancy system was planned to start in April 2016.

Off to a delayed start
For the PROIRRI training, consultants of EY will train farmers and producers that are spread across different regions in Mozambique, including those where Renamo has carried out attacks. Now that the travel safety of these consultants cannot be guaranteed, the project has been put on hold. However, the World Bank is determined to stick to the original plan and to continue the project in its original form as soon as the situation allows it. Since the two sides have started negotiations for a peace agreement, we all hope that the situation in Mozambique will be resolved soon and that the PROIRRI Financial Literacy Training can get off to a flying start.

Header photo courtesy of PROIRRI

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