"Cable Thievery Is Darkening Daily Life in Mozambique," by Michael Wines, New York Times, 15 June, p. A3.
One of the saddest examples of why a Gap state like Mozambique doesn't get anywhere over time: There is so little there of value other than the raw materials that people can get their hands on, that thieves will steal the very elements of connectivity that would have otherwise served as the basic infrastructure for development. Mozambique's stunted development means the people there are forced to eat their seed corn on a regular basis to achieve something so basic as producing aluminum pots and pans. The country's only aluminum smelter produces only for export, and the economy imports no aluminum, so the people make do on their own by tearing down electrical cables and smelting the aluminum found therein. It's like watching the snake devour its own tail.
Simply put, Mozambique is so disconnected from the global economy that it can't make something like the importing of aluminum pots and pans happen. What do you need to make that happen? I mean, I know there are companies that want to sell aluminum pots and pans there. It takes enough rule sets and infrastructure to draw that economic connectivity in from the world outside, and apparently Mozambique's government can't manage even that. So the eating of the seed corn continues apace and Mozambique remains firmly stuck deep inside the Gap.