Cabo Delgado in context
The region, with a Muslim majority, ranks at the bottom of most social indicators: illiteracy, unemployment, poor housing conditions, high rates of child marriages, large families and poor sanitation.
According to a nurse based in Cabo Delgado, roughly 70% of the population in this region lives in precarious accommodation and is mostly reliant on agriculture and fishing for survival. Access to clean water is difficult, as is access to adequate healthcare (access is worse than in the rest of Mozambique).
Further discontentment amongst the people of the region began with the emergence of extractive industries in 2015, as the government was keen to capitalise on the discovery of vast natural resources (rubies, gold, timber and natural gas). This was done at the expense of the local populations, which were displaced through force and without any human rights consideration.
Despite extensive consultations with the population and promises of relocation, access to cultivated land and fishing grounds were lost by several communities. Local leaders have questioned whether these investments would benefit ordinary people.