Celso Correia's power grows

The man who orchestrated Frelimo's dubious landslide win in the 2019 election and considered one of President Filipe Nyusi's closest advisors, Celso Correia, is now becoming the most powerful man in government. After the 2014 election, the former businessman put together a super-ministry of Land, Environment and Rural Development. This year he took Rural Development with him to became head of an even larger Ministry of Agriculture and Rural Development. In a Council of Ministers composed mostly of unimaginative, cautious, Frelimo place-people, Correia stands out as someone with clear projects and initiatives. And he won praise from staff in his previous ministry as someone who gets things done.

Correia seems able to judge how far he can push Frelimo vested interests. He also seems to

maintain good relations with lenders such as the World Bank (who followed him with MozLand into his new ministry) and donors, yet is willing to challenge donor dogma. On 13 May in a meeting with British High Commissioner NneNne Iwuji-Eme and British business people he challenged two donor shibboleths by suggesting state intervention in credit for small farmers and in creating agricultural value chains. Correia also challenged Mozambique’s international partners and the banks to adjust their requirements so as to ensure greater inclusion of small and medium producers. (O Pais, AIM 15 June)

He has also taken on the hottest potato. Rural poverty and the failure of govenrment money to reach local people has been a key driver of the civil war in Cabo Delgado, so in March the Council of Ministers creased an Agency for Integrated Development in the North (ADIN), to be headed by the highly respected but 77-year old Armando Panguene. A veteran of the liberation war, former deputy defence minister, and former governor of Cabo Delgado, he seems the best person to negotiate the many Frelimo and military vested interests and get money past them into communities. Then on 17 June, the Council of Ministers decided the ADIN would report not to them, but directly to Correia. This is the biggest challenge - while the Frelimo top brass and the international community want to treat this as an international Islamic attack, most domestic researchers say it is local and about inequality, so the challenge for Correia will be to fight and win the development battle.

On 14 July the Council of Ministers transferred the Zambezi Valley Development authority from the Ministry of Economy and Finance to Correia's ministry. (CDD 14 July) And last year he took control of the Limpopo valley. Both are three decade failures of government led development, and the challenge will be to turn local Frelimo thinking rom personal gain and toward rural development.

Source: Mozambique news reports & clippings

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