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Vale Mozambique next year. Ben Sansom lifts the veil on benefits percolate through to the local community M ozambique is one of the poorest nations on earth. It was ravaged by a brutal civil war for 15 years after its independence from Portugal; but the country has made huge efforts since peace was achieved in 1992 to improve the national economy and boost its productivity. Among the many successful strategies for economic development has been the privatisation of a large swathe of state owned businesses and the attraction of considerable foreign investment into the country. As a result, Mozambique has enjoyed what the World Bank described as a " blistering pace of economic growth", averaging around eight per cent increase in GDP per annum between 1994 and 2006. In spite of this undoubted success, described by the IMF as " one of the success stories in sub- Saharan Africa", the trickle- down of wealth to those living in poverty simply has not happened at the rate that had been hoped for. Life expectancy is still very low and Mozambique has one of the worst infant mortality rates in the world, all thanks to the malaria- carrying mosquito. Efforts continue to be poured into economic reform and into reviving agriculture and improving transportation. With political stability and modern mineral legislation, it is the exploitation of the land's valuable mineral deposits that have the potential to lift the nation out of poverty and provide employment as well as finance for improvements in health and wellbeing. One of the companies playing a major part in this resurgence in Mozambique's fortunes is the Brazilian mining company Vale. Launched as the state owned Companhia Vale do Rio Doce in 1942, Vale had grown to become the country's principal exporter of iron ore within seven years, it being responsible for some 80 per cent of the nation's iron ore exports. Privatisation followed in 1997, and since then the company has pursued a strategy of concentrating on its core mining business; divesting non- core operations; and strengthening and diversifying its portfolio of mining interests largely through acquisition. Today, Vale is the world's second largest mining company, employing over 100,000 people across five continents. Iron ore and nickel continue to be its largest March 10 www. bus- ex. com 45 Sharing wealth