Local people make charcoal from the remains of the Chinese sawmill.
Photos: Jörg Böthling


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For decades, the Mozambican port city of Beira was desolate. The civil war and a failed economy left deep wounds. But now a consortium of the government and corporations is promising a new start. The Beira Development Corridor is to bring affluence to the people living in the region. However, smallholders fear for their land.

It is meant to be nothing less than a revolution. For a city in ruins and a region that is desolated. Up to the 1970s, Beira, lying on the east coast of Mozambique, had been a paradise for rich Portuguese and white farmers from the neighbouring country of what is now Zimbabwe, who used to spend their holidays there. The gigantic Grand Hotel bears testimony to this period – but also to its decline. Today, it accommodates up to 3,000 people. The building has turned into a slum, with children playing in the puddles, rubbish piling up in the lift shafts, and men hanging around waiting for better times – which are now, at last, supposed to be just around the corner. For the region has been designated as one of six so-called Development Corridors by the Mozambican government.

In 2010, Mozambique joined up with a consortium of private investors, international agricultural corporations and donors such as the World Bank in order to step up the development of industrial agriculture.

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