Mozambique’s National Statistics Institute (INE) says its latest household survey reveals a widening gap between the richest 20 percent of the population and everybody else. INE survey shows an across the board improvement in living standards since the previous survey, held in 2008/09, but the gains are much sharper for the richer strata of the population than for the poorer.
At current prices, average monthly household expenditure per capita rose to US$31 from US$6 between 2000 and 2015.
The full report breaks this down into fifths (quintiles). The richest quintile saw its monthly per capita expenditure rise from US$28 in 2008/09 to US$96 at present and this this is more than the other four quintiles put together.
The structure of this expenditure shows that only 35.6 percent of expenditure goes on food and non-alcoholic drinks compared to 51.4 percent in the previous survey.
Poorer households inevitably spend a higher percentage of their income on food than do richer ones. So this figure points towards a sharp decline in monetary poverty.
But when broken down into quintiles, the survey shows that for quintiles one to three, accounting for 60 percent of the population, food accounts for over half their expenditure. For the poorest 20 percent, this figure rises to 62.5 percent.
At the top end of the scale, in the fourth quintile 39.8 percent of expenditure is on food and for the richest 20 percent, food only accounts for 14.4 per cent of their expenditure.
Inequality is also clear geographically. The highest per capita expenditure is in Maputo City, with US$71, followed by Maputo province with US$43. In none of the other nine provinces does per capita expenditure reach US$19 a month.
Ownership of durable goods is another indicator which has seen a general improvement across the entire population – but once again, the richest 20 percent have benefitted more than anybody else. 89.5 percent of households in the top quintile own a mobile phone, compared with 32.8 percent in the bottom quintile.