DYNAMIC AFRICA

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In 1975, just after Mozambique had won its independence from Portugal after a bitter struggle, a quarter of a million Portuguese settlers fled the country. Fearful for their lives, but also without prospect of a livelihood, the mother country was a safer bet.

Now, nearly 40 years later, the flow is reversing.

With Portugal staggering economically, many now see the country’s former colony as holding out more prospects than home.

Businessman Paulo Dias tells a story that is increasingly common.

He moved to Mozambique in 2010 after the financial crisis in Portugal convinced him that his future lay elsewhere.

"I decided to leave because I felt the situation in Europe was catastrophic," says the 42-year-old, who now lives in the capital, Maputo.

In Portugal, Mr Dias ran a company marketing cruise trips. But, after months of struggling, he shut it down.

Within a year he had relocated to Mozambique, where he set up a business building prefabricated houses.

"It was a fresh start and the best decision I ever made," he says.

Henrique Banze, Mozambique’s deputy foreign minister, says about 200 tourist and working visas are being granted every day, marking a “huge increase” on recent years.

"In the last two years there have been many more Portuguese coming," he says adding: "I suppose it must be to do with the crisis in Portugal."

It is difficult to get firm figures for the influx, but Mr Banze says it is clear that thousands of Portuguese people are relocating each year.

The vast majority - around 20,000, according to some reports - base themselves in Maputo, where the majority of business opportunities exist.

"A tsunami hit Portugal and now everyone is coming here," says Mr Dias. "I don’t believe the economic situation in Portugal will improve within the next five years."

Two years ago, when he arrived, most of his countrymen in Mozambique were manual labourers. Now, he says, the middle classes are moving in.

Some, he says, are working for large mining companies with operations in Mozambique. Others, like him, come to set up their own businesses.

Mr Dias’ new life is not without challenges.

He says the cost of living is high and he struggled during the first year in his new home until he established a partnership with a local businessman who provided the patronage needed to broker deals.

But he has seen his business grow, working on a range of projects from social housing to homes for employees of mining companies.

A few years ago, the thought of moving to one of Africa’s poorest country in search of work would have seemed unthinkable for most Portuguese, particularly given the bitter legacy of the colonial period.

But Mozambique is changing and times are hard in Portugal.

At more than 17%, its jobless rate is among the highest in the eurozone.

And if there were any doubts of where future opportunities lay, Portugal’s Prime Minister Pedro Passos Coelho sent a stark message in 2011.

He told unemployed teachers in Portugal to emigrate, urging them to leave their comfort zone and move to Portuguese-speaking countries like Brazil and another former African colony, Angola.

(read more)

  1. whenimreallyathundacat reblogged this from nedahoyin
  2. yungmethuselah reblogged this from nedahoyin and added:
    On the other hand, does anyone have an image that’s like, “If you do not die after the sixth straight day of diarrhea...
  3. nedahoyin reblogged this from boygeorgemichaelbluth
  4. bitterseafigtree reblogged this from boygeorgemichaelbluth
  5. boygeorgemichaelbluth reblogged this from dansphalluspalace
  6. agrainofwheat reblogged this from anknara and added:
    I had a long ass reply that I lost, but you nailed most of it. I’m not even surprised about the latest land grab, it’s...
  7. wanderingstrider reblogged this from dansphalluspalace
  8. note-a-bear reblogged this from dansphalluspalace
  9. revolutionaryrainbows reblogged this from navigatethestream
  10. revolution-valonia-mk-3 reblogged this from talesofthestarshipregeneration
  11. vulpinisbikinis reblogged this from dansphalluspalace and added:
    Of course no word about my people, the actual Mozambique citizens. No word for them, as they are being completely...
  12. talesofthestarshipregeneration reblogged this from dansphalluspalace and added:
    these colonialistic motherfuckers. Why cant their plague ever end? havent they taken stolen exploited ENOUGH from black...
  13. dansphalluspalace reblogged this from navigatethestream and added:
    A sort of second-wave colonialism.
  14. navigatethestream reblogged this from freshmouthgoddess
  15. anknara reblogged this from agrainofwheat and added:
    Yes, the trickle down effect is often proved not to exist or be of significance in any economy. The difference of...
  16. africawasborninme reblogged this from dynamicafrica
  17. nocturnalphantasmagoria reblogged this from dynamicafrica
  18. commie-unityacupuncture reblogged this from dynamicafrica and added:
    This just doesn’t sound right. Portuguese moving to their ex-#colony of Mozambique to create #jobs that don’t exist back...
  19. orobolicious reblogged this from dynamicafrica
  20. thepleasuresofidleness reblogged this from dynamicafrica
  21. africaninsights reblogged this from dynamicafrica
  22. alpha-k reblogged this from superstar-watcher and added:
    wow! i’m not too familiar with Mozambique but i wonder what they’re unemployment rate is? Would what happen 40 years ago...
  23. superstar-watcher reblogged this from dynamicafrica
  24. keebiekneebiez reblogged this from dynamicafrica
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