Mozambique: Sweden reduces aid to Mozambique alleging lack of progress in combating corruption

21 July 2008

Maputo, Mozambique, 21 July – The Swedish government plans, from 2009, to reduce its direct budgetary aid to the Mozambican state due to a lack of “serious progress in combating corruption,” said the Swedish ambassador in Maputo, Torvald Akesson, in an interview with Mozambican weekly newspaper, Savana.

Specificalloy noting the reasons for his country cutting aid to Mozambique, the diplomat said that a lack of clarification on the reasons for the near-bankruptcy of the former Banco Austral bank at the beginning of 2000, which only did not happen to a significant cash injection provided by the Mozambican government.

The Mozambican central bank ended up privatising Banco Austral, which is now Barclays Bank, to South African financial group ABSA, which last year was acquired by Britain’s Barclays Bank group.

In May, Mozambique’s main group of 19 donors asked the government to “speed up” the fight against corruption in the country, noting that this problem is seen by the private sector as an obstacle to a good business climate.

At the same time Mozambique’s Attorney General, Augusto Paulino, said in the country’s parliament that none of the 371 corruption cases followed up by the country’s anti-corruption agency, GCCC (set up in 2005) had so far gone to court, due to a lack of evidence and poor formulation of charges.

Just six countries benefited from Sweden’s budgetary support – Mozambique, Burkina Faso, Mali, Rwanda, Tanzania and Zambia – with Mozambique taking up a third of the total provided, which in 2007 was 966 million Swedish kroner. (macauhub)