IMF warns on Mozambique unrest

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iol pic afr moz unrest politics AFP Mozambique President Armando Guebuza speaks with an AFP journalist in Chimoio on October 30, 2013.

Maputo - Deadly skirmishes between militia loyal to Mozambique's opposition party and their civil war foes in government is putting the country's stellar economic growth at risk, the IMF warned Thursday.

Militants have clashed with government forces sporadically since October 2012, leaving dozens dead and disrupting major north-south transport routes.

The violence Ä between supporters of Renamo and the government led by the Frelimo party Ä has chilling echoes of the Mozambican civil war, in which both parties were belligerents.

Clashes have largely been limited to the centre of the country, but attacks have been spreading southward, raising the spectre of a broader conflict.

In the southern Inhambane province on Tuesday gunmen attacked a police station and health clinic, killing one policeman.

“If the situation deteriorates, it could have a negative impact on the economy that could lead to problems on many levels,” said the IMF's representative in Mozambique, Alex Segura.

He cited “increased insecurity” among the new risks facing a country that boasts one of the highest growth rates in sub-Saharan Africa.

Mozambique has grown rapidly since a brutal civil war ended in 1992.

“It is obvious that one of the reasons for the exceptional economic results over the past twenty years... is associated with peace and political stability.” Segura said.

The IMF predicts the Mozambican economy will grow by 8.3 percent this year, on the back of increased coal exports and investments in the natural gas sector.

The country is sitting on massive coal reserves in its north eastern Tete province and is on the brink of exploiting some of the largest natural gas finds in the world off its far northern coast.


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