Discussion of development strategies in Mozambique reveals three main perspectives on the role of elites in the policy process: donor dominance, political dominance over technocracy, and the emergence of non-state (economic and civil society) actors as players in the policy process, although still with a marginal role. These analyses tend to see the identity of these actors as monolithic and clearly identifiable. The identities condition the involvement of these actors in a set of dichotomous relations, such as politicians versus technocrats, donors versus internal actors, and state versus non-state actors. Based on this understanding, this paper analyses the role of elites in policy processes, focusing on elite formation and power relations in Mozambique in a context of an economically dependent country undergoing democratization. The paper shows that the dominant analyses of the role of the elites in the policy process in Mozambique overlook the process of elite formation, which contributes to the existence of multiple and overlapping elite identities in the policy process. In this regard, the paper concludes that, despite the emergence of new elites (economic, societal and bureaucratic) resulting from economic and political liberalization and as an aspect of pro-poor policies, the differentiation between these elitesis more apparent than real because of the strategies they have adopted to maintain their dominance in a context of the increasing importance of electoral politics. Further, the paper concludes that the political elite still dominates the process, even with donor dependence, but that nonetheless this dominance is being challenged by an erosion of legitimacy caused by the low effectiveness of the development strategies, reflected in increasing public contestation over government policies, which opens up a space for changes in the current pattern of elite relations.
policy elites elite formation reform development policy elites elite formation reform development