Frelimo veteran Panguene to head northern development agency

Retired diplomat Armando Panguene has been named chair of the newly established Agency for the Integrated Development of the North (ADIN), intended in particular to create jobs in Cabo Delgado, Niassa and Nampula as a response to the growing insurgency.

The 77 year old Panguene is a veteran of the liberation war, who served in a wide range of posts including chief of staff of the armed forces; at various times ambassador to Portugal, Britain, South Africa and the United States; deputy foreign and defence ministers; and governor of Cabo Delgado and Nampula provinces.

The agency reports directly to the Council of Ministers and there will be inevitable conflicts with the new elected governors, the nominated secretaries of state in each province, and Minister of Agriculture and Rural Development Celso Correia with his National Fund for Sustainable Development (FNDS) - all of whom have responsibility for local economic development.

Pulling Panguene out of retirement may be an attempt to solve two problems. First, ADIN will need donor money at a time donors are refusing to give cash to the government. Panguene is old guard Frelimo from an era when integrity mattered, and is an experienced diplomat, so might be able to win donor support. But many in Frelimo will want a share of those resources, and Panguene as a liberation war fighter, diplomat, and former governor of Cabo Delgado will know all of the key players and may be able to come to arrangements that allow some of the money to be spent on creating jobs for Cabo Delgado youth.

But his appointment has not been universally welcomed. In 1974, when he was just 32 years old, Panguene was appointed governor of Nampula province in the transitional government. Surely there exist similarly capable young people to take on leadership roles like this, asksJoao Tinga
of the recently created CDD (Centro para a Democracia e Desenvolvimento, Centre for Democracy and Development). ADIN is about creating jobs and creating social and economic conditions for young people, to discourage them from joining radical groups. That requires an "agency to be led by young people with creative and innovative ideas, young people full of energy to get the institution running," Tinga continues. "It is worth remembering the words of Filipe Nyusi in his inauguration speech: 'Mozambique is a country of young people. There will be no development in Mozambique without the involvement of young people'.” With millions of young people prepared to take on the challenges of the country, the government must show by example that they have a role, Tinga argues. (In Joe Hanlon Boletim)

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