After 16 years of civil war, in 1992 Mozambique was listed as the poorest country in the world, with a GDP per capita of USD$80. Since then, the economy has managed steady growth averaging 9% between 1997 and 2003 with the proportion of Mozambicans living below the poverty line falling from 69% to 54%. This exceeded the goals outlined in the government’s first Poverty Reduction Strategy, to reduce absolute poverty within 10 years. Unfortunately Mozambique remains one of the world’s 20 poorest countries. (The World Fact Book)
The education system in Mozambique has improved and there are steady increases in school enrolment, however there remains a lack of opportunity to further one’s study beyond the primary school level. The number of qualified teachers fails to increase at the same rate of pupil enrolment. Both public and private post-secondary education institutions provide bachelor’s-level training in computer science; however these programmes are reportedly insufficient in developing the requisite skills in software and application development in the labour market. Nonetheless, Mozambique has been one of the leading countries in southern Africa in developing a national ICT policy and implementation strategy with dedicated programmes that are pioneering projects in the use of ICTs to facilitate and support learning and skill development in the country. (Mozambique Country Report, PanAfrican Research Agenda on the Pedagogical integration of ICTs by UNESCO, infoDev, IDRC CRDI)
A second Poverty Reduction Strategy Paper (PARPA II) for 2006-2009 has a special focus on ICTs within various dimensions of its strategy to reduce poverty. In 1998, the government established a dedicated National ICT Policy Commission that facilitated the adoption of a national ICT policy in 2000 as an extension of its PARPA strategy. In doing so, Mozambique ranked among the first countries in southern Africa to adopt a national ICT policy. Education, human resource development, health, universal access, national ICT infrastructure, and governance are the ICT policy priority areas.