Civil society organisations in Mozambique have reacted angrily to the lack of civil society participation in the preparation of the Bank’s latest Country Assistance Strategy (CAS). In a statement to Phylis Pomerantz, the Bank’s Country Director for the country, the Mozambique Debt Group (a coalition of non-governmental organisations, church groups, unions, cooperatives and individuals) said the exclusion of Mozambican civil society from consultation on the 1997 CAS was ironic “given that one of the three principal aims of the 1997 CAS is to foster “partnerships for Mozambique’s development”, including “stronger partnerships with civil society”. Among other concerns they also stressed that:
- representatives of foreign governments in Mozambique received advance copies of the 1997 CAS for comment but Mozambican NGOs were denied access;
- while there was an attempt during 1997 to consult local organisations on the 1995 CAS, there was no systematic attempt to explain whether its results were integrated into the formulation of the 1997 CAS, or to highlight areas of divergence between the Bank’s position and local feedback; and
- the Bank was threatening that a delay to the CAS would delay Mozambique’s progress through the HIPC debt process.
The coalition called on the Bank to demonstrate their good faith and commitment to consultation by taking the following measures:
- the various documents prepared by the BWIs on the situation and policies to be implemented in Mozambique should be made public; and
- the World Bank should release the 1997 CAS in Portuguese, and distribute the Country Assistance Review (an examination of the Bank’s involvement in Mozambique prepared by the Operations Evaluation Department) in Portuguese as soon as it is completed.
The World Bank says it will organise a series of seminars in Mozambique to discuss the CAS which was agreed by the Bank’s Board in December, and the CAS will be published in Portuguese.