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Podcast: 'In Chains' Episode 3

In the third episode of our new themed series In Chains, we speak with Dr. Alexis Aronowitz from University College Utrecht, Utrecht, The Netherlands, who is the author of the article, “Regulating business involvement in labor exploitation and human trafficking” published in Journal of Labor and Society.

Brill Publishes Two New Book Series in the Social Sciences

Brill is pleased to announce the addition of two new peer-reviewed book series to its Social Sciences publishing program: International Studies in Maritime Sociology and Studies in Political Economy of Global Labor and Work. The series will be published online and in print.

Brill adds Two New Journals to Its Social Sciences Publishing Program

Two journals, the Journal of Labor and Society (JLSO) and Protest, have been added to Brill’s expanding publishing program in the Social Sciences. Both journals will be published online and in print. Previous volumes of JLSO are already available on Brill’s website, the first issues of Protest are planned for publication in 2021.


Acquisitions Editor


Jason Prevost

V&R unipress

Julia Schwanke


The election of a new president dominated Mozambican politics. Frelimo's (‘Frente de Libertação de Moçambique’) Armando Guebuza won a flawed but convincing victory, suggesting that Mozambique is to be an elected one party state on the model of Botswana and South Africa. Guebuza takes over as president from Joaquim Chissano, whose attempt to stand again as candidate for election was blocked by Frelimo. GDP growth continues at more than 8% per year and there was considerable further expansion of the mineral and energy sector, but more than half the population live in extreme poverty and unemployment is rising. Growth seems to benefit only those who are already better off.


The implication of having one of the world’s largest gas fields was dawning on local elites and everyone wanted a share. After 20 years of peace, Renamo launched new attacks on road traffic and the army. Doctors went on strike. The gas field was not yet producing, but $ 624 m in capital gains taxes transformed relations with donors. Meanwhile, governing party Frelimo’s main concerns were the succession and opposition successes in local elections.


The ruling Frelimo party was re-elected in national elections on 15 October. The constitutional limit to two terms for a president in office forced Armando Guebuza to step down, although he remained head of the Frelimo party. Renamo agreed to a cease-fire in exchange for changes to the election law, but retained its militia. Renamo head Afonso Dhlakama gained 37% of the vote in the presidential elections, but claimed he had won and threatened a return to violence. Donor relations dominated foreign policy and the aid partners and agencies remained critically engaged in their relations with government. The run by international companies on stakes in the resource boom continued, mainly to secure access to the gas reservoirs.


In his first year in office, President Filipe Nyusi faced a wide range of challenges. The armed opposition, Renamo, went back to war, while keeping its seats in parliament, and negotiations collapsed. Dramatically falling commodity prices raised questions about the use of the huge gas reserves; a dubious $ 850 m bond issue caused more headaches. The economy continued to grow, but poverty was not reduced, while Nyusi and the younger generation struggled to wrest power from the old guard.


The year ended with a New Year ceasefire in the on-going low-key war with the Renamo armed opposition. But more than politics, the year was characterised by dramatic events linking foreign policy with the economy. Revelations that secret loans had totalled more than $ 2 bn was an economic and political bombshell, which also impacted on external relations. The imf cut its programme and donors cut budget support, leading to a foreign exchange crisis. The metical was devalued by 58% and annual inflation was 20.6%. A parliamentary commission declared the debt to be illegal and unconstitutional.


Recession and stalemate characterised the year. The hidden $ 2 bn debt was the key issue, with the imf and donors demanding information on how the money had been used, and the government and ruling party Frelimo flatly refusing to say. After the crisis of 2016, the economy stabilised, but the sharp devaluation of 2016, the withholding of some aid and loans, and a fall in investment kept the economy in recession, with the government resorting to heavy domestic borrowing and not paying its bills. A ceasefire in the low-level war between the government and the armed opposition party Renamo held throughout the year, and talks continued without a settlement. Two-and-a-half years after his election, President Nyusi finally won control of Frelimo at the party congress in September, which allowed him to move forward.


Ruling party Frelimo came under increasing pressure from various directions during the year. In December, the United States brought criminal charges against three Mozambicans, as well as Credit Suisse bankers, in the $ 2 bn secret debt case. In October, the opposition won a record 9 of 53 towns and cities in high-turnout municipal elections. There was evidence that Frelimo’s victory in four municipalities was fraudulent. An insurgency in northern Cabo Delgado province continued, with more than 100 dead and 189 tried in secret. The long-term president of the armed opposition party Renamo died of diabetes, but a ceasefire and peace talks continued. Development of the huge offshore gas fields moved cautiously forward.


Climate change, natural gas, a new civil war, the $ 2 bn secret debt, and the re-election of Frelimo in a dubious election dominated the year. Two record-breaking cyclones hit the centre and north, causing extensive damage. Investments inched forward to develop the natural gas fields off the coast of Cabo Delgado, but the worsening insurgency killed 583 people, closed roads, and disrupted gas construction. Legal cases in New York and Johannesburg provided more evidence of bribery and corruption in the secret debt saga. The re-election of Nyusi as president was besmirched by widespread misconduct. But the huge gas fields and potential investments and contracts meant that donors fully backed the Frelimo government and no longer challenged its corruption and misconduct.


The civil war in Cabo Delgado Province escalated, with 583,000 people displaced and seven districts virtually depopulated; debate on the roots of the war intensified. Work on the natural gas developments was curtailed by war and falling gas prices. Stringent measures that adversely affected that economy were imposed to successfully limit the spread of Covid-19. New data showed that Mozambique was growing poorer and more unequal. Corruption largely stopped any aid money going directly to government.


Insurgents reached the gates of one of the largest foreign investments in Africa on New Year’s Day, halting Mozambique’s huge gas project and setting the tenor of both domestic politics and foreign affairs for the rest of the year. The government promised security, but another attac k forced TotalEnergies to suspend work indefinitely. Rwanda and some southern African nations deployed troops, but the civil war in Cabo Delgado continued. A national survey showed that poverty had increased. There were crackdowns on the press and demonstrations. Political in-fighting continued. The trial began of 19 people over the $2.2 m secret loan from Credit Suisse.