The University of Arizona

The tangled politics of conservation and resource extraction in Mozambique's green economy

Kate Symons

Abstract


This article explores how Mozambique's green economy has been produced through the intersection of global ideas about green development, regional economic development dynamics, and local debates and political pressures around extraction and conservation. Mozambique's green economy aims to compress many of its current challenges into a seemingly attractive and compelling agenda. The green economy discourse has produced a new relationship between the conservation and extractives sector, characterized by 'green' financing and offsetting measures intended to handle (at least on paper) the contradictions between extractives-led growth and sustainable development. However, the green economy vision has also provided specific actors with ways to contest extraction. The article provides a lens onto the production of green economy policies and institutions in Mozambique, the way the policy combines neoliberal and non-neoliberal political ideas, and how green economy ideas are played out in the situated politics of debates over conservation and extraction. I consider how 'the' green economy is reworked through tracing a particular case – the recent debates over whether a large coal port should be built in the Ponta do Ouro Marine Reserve. This foregrounds the multiple and often ambiguous uses of green economy discourses to pursue different, and sometimes contradictory agendas. The article contributes new empirical information on the roll-out of green economies in a developing country context, while also seeking to expand current political ecology literature on neoliberalism and green economies more generally.

Key words: Mozambique, green economy, neoliberal nature, extractives, conservation, assemblage


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DOI: http://dx.doi.org/10.2458/v25i1.22762