Exploring Resource and Climate Drivers of Conflict in Northern Mozambique

The rise of a violent extremist group in Mozambique’s Cabo Delgado province has posed a threat to the security of local communities since its emergence in 2017. The Islamist militants have halted foreign-owned liquefied natural gas projects that have the potential to become one of Africa’s largest investments, using violence to seize land and garner attention for their cause. The damage to the social and economic fabric of life in the area has been significant. Cabo Delgado is in dire need of economic upliftment given that the region is plagued by poverty, inequality and unemployment. Accounts of the conflict frequently cite social and political tensions and economic underdevelopment as key drivers of the violence, but the role of adverse climatic conditions is often overlooked. Cyclones, floods and a series of health crises have created an environment conducive to the emergence of conflict, as infrastructure damage and food insecurity have deteriorated the quality of life in Cabo Delgado – conditions which the extremists have exploited for recruitment.