Mozambique and Angola this year marked four decades of independence from Portugal, with robust economic growth rates buoyed by abundant natural resources giving the southern African nations reason to celebrate. A prime investment destination following the recent discovery of huge natural gas and coal deposits, Mozambique will be the first to mark its freedom on Thursday. Meanwhile Angola, Africa’s secondbiggest crude oil producer, will commemorate its independence anniversary on November 11.
In a sharp contrast to the long civil wars that ravaged both the ex-colonies — pitting Marxist regimes against guerrillas backed by apartheid-era South Africa -– they recently saw an influx of Portuguese job seekers. Even as an AK47 automatic rifle adorns the multi-coloured Mozambican national flag, relations between Lisbon and Maputo are now “excellent”, says Portugal’s ambassador Jose Augusto Duarte. The year 2012 saw the last bone of contention between the TWO countries resolved, with the sale of the gigantic Cahora Bassa dam to Mozambique.
Angola will commemorate its independence anniversary on November 11. “Any problems that came up in the decolonisation of Mozambique have been resolved. We don’t have any dispute,” Duarte said. But Mozambique’s independence was traumatic for many settlers who hastily fled in 1975, when former President Armando Guebuza then interior minister under independence leader Samora Machel ordered an estimated 200,000 Portuguese residents to either adopt Mozambican nationality or leave the country within 24 hours.