Accountability in Mosambique: Challenges and Opportunities for Development Cooperation

It is uncontested that domestic accountability between the government and the governed is essential for development and democratization alike. International donors have been increasing their activities to support accountability in many developing countries, especially in those which receive budget support. Nevertheless, African accountability institutions are still understudied, in particular those which are not legally codified. Accordingly, the influence of certain accountability institutions has been neglected in scientific research dealing with socio-economic development and democratic quality on the national and sub-national state levels. Also external donors need a better knowledge about these institutions in order to effectively support accountability in developing countries.

Project Lead:
Julia Leininger

Project Team:
Jörn Grävingholt

Prof. Dr. José Jaime Macuane, MAP Consultória
Padil Salimo, University Eduardo Mondlane

Participants of the 46th postgraduate course:
Charlotte Heyl
Stefan Langer
Henrik Maihack
Anna-Luisa Peruzzo
Benjamin Reichenbach

Time frame:
2010 - 2012 / completed

Project description

In the case of Mozambique, one particular accountability institution has generated high public interest. With the beginning of his first term in 2005 the Mozambican President, Armando E. Guebuza, launched the Presidência Aberta e Inclusiva (PAI), the so called “Open and Inclusive Presidency”. Alongside an ongoing administrative, fiscal, and political decentralisation process, the PAI provides a public forum for the president to engage in a dialogue with the population. Consequently, the government refers to the PAI as a complementary mechanism to these existing processes. It is supposed to take place in all 128 districts of the country, at least once during a presidential term. With this initiative the Mozambican government proclaims to be more directly accountable to the concerns of citizens and to improve the coherence and implementation of national development policies on all state levels. While critics see these public consultations merely as a misuse of public funds to increase the power of the president and the ruling party, others point to the positive influence of the PAI in actually ensuring the integration of citizens’ demands into government policies.

 As a reaction to the ongoing debate and the lack of scientific knowledge about the influence of legally not codified accountability institutions, the first objective of this study was to systematically generate information about the characteristics of the PAI in Mozambique. Based on this information, the second objective of this study was to assess its influence on the coherence and implementation of socio-economic development policies as well as on the quality of democracy and in Mozambique. In order to do so, the analysis focused on the PAI and its interplay with formal institutions on different state levels. Overall, the study strived to contribute to a better general understanding of the relevance of political institutions in processes of socioeconomic development and democratisation. It added value to the literature on accountability, decentralization, and regime transformation. Finally, the authors drew conclusions for the effective international support of accountability in developing countries.