Bristol twinned with Beira in 1990 as a way of supporting a Front-Line State in the struggle against Apartheid South Africa.
Mozambique is one of the poorest countries in the world, currently falling well below the UN standard of development on all indicators. Over half the population still live below the poverty line. Here are the UN facts on Mozambique.
Beira is a low lying port city, the second largest in Mozambique, it is located in the central region in the Sofala Province and currently has a population of around 550,000 people.
It has always been strategically and economically one of the most important cities in Mozambique. In the 1800’s Beira was established as a city with a port and railway system that made it one of East Africa’s most important trading cities throughout the early and mid-part of the 1900’s.
Like many areas of Mozambique, Beira suffered in the decades that followed the country’s independence in 1975. Beira became an isolated refuge for disolocated populations during the war of destabilization escaping conflict in rural areas. This put unprecedented pressure on the infrastructure of the city built for a population of around 150,000.
Despite being in an agriculturally rich region, hardship ensued due initially to lack of access to rural areas, and subsequent lack of road maintenance and transport.
In 1987 the economic structural adjustment programme sponsored by the World Bank led to the slow rehabilition of urban infrastructure, followed by a delayed investment and delivery of social programmes.
In the 1990’s following peace negotiations and elections, international donor agency support increased with a continued emphasis on physical economic infrastructure in conjunction with social programmes.
For the last 30 years Bristol Link with Beira have been supporting the Municipality of Beira to develop, tackling the long-term effects of the civil war, and the ensuing natural disasters.
Beira has always suffered from coastal erosion and annual flooding. In 2000, Cyclone Eline caused severe flooding in Beira, damaging buildings, roads and livelihoods. In 2019 Cyclone Idai destroyed 90% of the city, around 600 people died, and most residents were displaced. This has set back the development of the city once again.