Between the first and fifth centuries AD, Bantu
-speaking peoples migrated to present-day Mozambique from farther north and west. Northern Mozambique lies within the monsoon trade winds of the Indian Ocean. Between the 7th and 11th centuries, a series of Swahili port towns developed there, which contributed to the development of a distinct Swahili culture
. In the late medieval period, these towns were frequented by traders from Somalia, Ethiopia, Egypt, Arabia, Persia, and India.
Mozambique is endowed with rich and extensive natural resources. The country's economy is based largely on agriculture, but industry is growing, mainly food and beverages, chemical manufacturing and aluminium and petroleum production. The tourism sector is also expanding. South Africa
is Mozambique's main trading partner and source of foreign direct investment
, while Belgium
are also among the country's most important economic partners. Since 2001, Mozambique's annual average GDP growth has been among the world's highest. However, the country is still one of the poorest and most underdeveloped countries
in the world,
ranking low in GDP per capita
, human development
, measures of inequality
and average life expectancy
The only official language of Mozambique is Portuguese
, which is spoken mostly as a second language by about half the population. Common native languages include Makhuwa
, and Swahili
. The country's population of around 29 million is composed of overwhelmingly Bantu people
. The largest religion in Mozambique is Christianity, with significant minorities following Islam and African traditional religions. Mozambique is a member of the United Nations
, the African Union
, the Commonwealth of Nations
, the Organisation of the Islamic Cooperation
, the Community of Portuguese Language Countries
, the Non-Aligned Movement
, the Southern African Development Community
, and is an observer at La Francophonie
The country was named Moçambique by the Portuguese after the Island of Mozambique
, derived from Mussa Bin Bique
or Musa Al Big
or Mossa Al Bique
or Mussa Ben Mbiki
or Mussa Ibn Malik
, an Arab
trader who first visited the island and later lived there.
The island-town was the capital of the Portuguese colony until 1898, when it was moved south to Lourenço Marques (now Maputo
-speaking people's migration into Mozambique dates as far back as the 4th century BC.
It's believed between the 1st and 5th centuries AD, waves of migration from the west and north went through the Zambezi River
valley and then gradually into the plateau and coastal areas of Southern Africa
They established agricultural communities or societies based on herding cattle. They brought with them the technology for melting and smithing iron.
Arab-Swahili slave traders and their captives on the Ruvuma River
From the late first millennium AD, vast Indian Ocean trade
networks extended as far south into Mozambique as evidenced by the ancient port town of Chibuene
Beginning in the 9th century, a growing involvement in Indian Ocean trade led to the development of numerous port towns along the entire East African coast, including modern day Mozambique. Largely autonomous, these towns broadly participated in the incipient Swahili culture
. Islam was often adopted by urban elites, facilitating trade. In Mozambique, Sofala
, and Mozambique Island
were regional powers by the 15th century.
The towns traded with merchants from both the African interior and the broader Indian Ocean world. Particularly important were the gold and ivory caravan routes. Inland states like the Kingdom of Zimbabwe
and Kingdom of Mutapa
provided the coveted gold and ivory, which were then exchanged up the coast to larger port cities like Kilwa
Portuguese Mozambique (1498–1975)
The Island of Mozambique
is a small coral island at the mouth of Mossuril Bay on the Nacala
coast of northern Mozambique, first explored by Europeans in the late 15th century.
After the Portuguese invaded Mozambique in about 1500, Portuguese trading posts and forts displaced the Arabic commercial and military hegemony, becoming regular ports of call on the new European sea route to the east.
The voyage of Vasco da Gama
around the Cape of Good Hope
in 1498 marked the Portuguese entry into trade, politics, and society of the region. The Portuguese gained control of the Island of Mozambique
and the port city of Sofala
in the early 16th century, and by the 1530s, small groups of Portuguese traders and prospectors
seeking gold penetrated the interior regions, where they set up garrisons and trading posts at Sena
on the River Zambezi
and tried to gain exclusive control over the gold trade.
In the central part of the Mozambique territory, the Portuguese attempted to legitimise and consolidate their trade and settlement positions through the creation of prazos
(land grants) tied to their settlement and administration. While prazos
was originally developed to be held by the Portuguese, through intermarriage they became African Portuguese or African Indian centres defended by large African slave armies known as Chikunda
.[clarification needed]
Historically within Mozambique, there was slavery. Human beings were bought and sold by African tribal chiefs, first to Arab Muslim traders and sent to Middle East Asia cities and plantations, and later to Portuguese and other European traders as well. Many Mozambican slaves were supplied by tribal chiefs who raided warring tribes and sold their captives to the prazeiros
View of the Central Avenue in Lourenço Marques, now Maputo, ca. 1905;
Although Portuguese influence gradually expanded, its power was limited and exercised through individual settlers and officials who were granted extensive autonomy. The Portuguese were able to wrest much of the coastal trade from Arab Muslims between 1500 and 1700, but, with the Arab Muslim seizure of Portugal's key foothold at Fort Jesus
on Mombasa Island
(now in Kenya) in 1698, the pendulum began to swing in the other direction. As a result, investment lagged while Lisbon
devoted itself to the more lucrative trade with India and the Far East and to the colonisation of Brazil.
During these wars, the Mazrui
and Omani Arabs
reclaimed much of the Indian Ocean trade, forcing the Portuguese to retreat south. Many prazos
had declined by the mid-19th century, but several of them survived. During the 19th century other European powers, particularly the British (British South Africa Company
) and the French (Madagascar), became increasingly involved in the trade and politics of the region around the Portuguese East African
Portuguese language printing and typesetting class, 1930
By the early 20th century the Portuguese had shifted the administration of much of Mozambique to large private companies, like the Mozambique Company
, the Zambezia Company
and the Niassa Company
, controlled and financed mostly by British financiers such as Solomon Joel
, which established railroad lines to their neighbouring colonies (South Africa and Rhodesia). Although slavery had been legally abolished in Mozambique, at the end of the 19th century the Chartered companies enacted a forced labour policy and supplied cheap—often forced—African labour to the mines and plantations
of the nearby British colonies and South Africa.
The Zambezia Company, the most profitable chartered company, took over a number of smaller prazeiro
holdings and established military outposts to protect its property. The chartered companies built roads and ports to bring their goods to market including a railroad linking present-day Zimbabwe with the Mozambican port of Beira
Due to their unsatisfactory performance and the shift, under the corporatist Estado Novo
regime of Oliveira Salazar
, toward a stronger Portuguese control of Portuguese Empire
's economy, the companies' concessions were not renewed when they ran out. This was what happened in 1942 with the Mozambique Company, which however continued to operate in the agricultural and commercial sectors as a corporation, and had already happened in 1929 with the termination of the Niassa Company's concession. In 1951, the Portuguese overseas colonies in Africa were rebranded as Overseas Provinces of Portugal.
Mozambican War of Independence (1964–1975)
ideologies spread out across Africa, many clandestine political movements were established in support of Mozambican independence. These movements claimed that since policies and development plans were primarily designed by the ruling authorities for the benefit of Mozambique's Portuguese population, little attention was paid to Mozambique's tribal integration and the development of its native communities.
According to the official guerrilla statements, this affected a majority of the indigenous population who suffered both state-sponsored discrimination and enormous social pressure. Many felt they had received too little opportunity or resources to upgrade their skills and improve their economic and social situation to a degree comparable to that of the Europeans. Statistically, Mozambique's Portuguese whites were indeed wealthier and more skilled than the black indigenous majority. As a response to the guerrilla movement, the Portuguese government from the 1960s and principally the early 1970s initiated gradual changes with new socioeconomic developments and egalitarian policies. 
The Front for the Liberation of Mozambique (FRELIMO
) initiated a guerrilla campaign against Portuguese rule in September 1964. This conflict—along with the two others already initiated in the other Portuguese colonies of Angola
and Portuguese Guinea
—became part of the so-called Portuguese Colonial War
(1961–1974). From a military standpoint, the Portuguese regular army maintained control of the population centres while the guerrilla forces sought to undermine their influence in rural and tribal areas in the north and west. As part of their response to FRELIMO, the Portuguese government began to pay more attention to creating favourable conditions for social development and economic growth.
FRELIMO took control of the territory after ten years of sporadic warfare, as well as Portugal's own return to democracy after the fall of the authoritarian Estado Novo
regime in the Carnation Revolution
of April 1974 and the failed coup of 25 November 1975
. Within a year, most of the 250,000 Portuguese in Mozambique had left—some expelled by the government of the nearly independent territory, some fleeing in fear—and Mozambique became independent from Portugal on 25 June 1975. A law had been passed on the initiative of the relatively unknown Armando Guebuza
of the FRELIMO
party, ordering the Portuguese to leave the country in 24 hours with only 20 kilograms (44 pounds) of luggage. Unable to salvage any of their assets, most of them returned to Portugal penniless.
Mozambican Civil War (1977–1992)
A land mine victim in Mozambique
The new government
under president Samora Machel
established a one-party state
based on Marxist
principles. It received diplomatic and some military support from Cuba
and the Soviet Union
and proceeded to crack down on opposition.
Starting shortly after the independence, the country was plagued from 1977 to 1992 by a long and violent civil war between the opposition forces of anti-communist Mozambican National Resistance (RENAMO
) rebel militias and the FRELIMO regime. This conflict characterised the first decades of Mozambican independence, combined with sabotage from the neighbouring states of Rhodesia
and South Africa, ineffective policies, failed central planning, and the resulting economic collapse. This period was also marked by the exodus of Portuguese nationals and Mozambicans of Portuguese heritage,
a collapsed infrastructure, lack of investment in productive assets, and government nationalisation of privately owned industries, as well as widespread famine.
During most of the civil war, the FRELIMO-formed central government was unable to exercise effective control outside of urban areas, many of which were cut off from the capital.
RENAMO-controlled areas included up to 50% of the rural areas in several provinces, and it is reported that health services of any kind were isolated from assistance for years in those areas. The problem worsened when the government cut back spending on health care.
The war was marked by mass human rights violations from both sides of the conflict, with RENAMO contributing to the chaos through the use of terror and indiscriminate targeting of civilians.
The central government executed tens of thousands of people while trying to extend its control throughout the country and sent many people to "re-education camps" where thousands died.
The geopolitical situation in 1975, nations friendly to the FRELIMO are shown in orange
During the war, RENAMO proposed a peace agreement based on the secession of RENAMO-controlled northern and western territories as the independent Republic of Rombesia
, but FRELIMO refused, insisting on the undivided sovereignty of the entire country. An estimated one million Mozambicans perished during the civil war, 1.7 million took refuge in neighbouring states, and several million more were internally displaced.
The FRELIMO regime also gave shelter and support to South African (African National Congress
) and Zimbabwean (Zimbabwe African National Union
) rebel movements, while the governments of Rhodesia and later South Africa (at that time still apartheid) backed RENAMO in the civil war.
The civil war took about 600 000 lives, by 1990, the number increased to over a million people.
On 19 October 1986, Samora Machel was on his way back from an international meeting in Zambia
in the presidential Tupolev Tu-134
aircraft when the plane crashed
in the Lebombo Mountains
. There were ten survivors, but President Machel and thirty-three others died, including ministers and officials of the Mozambique government. The United Nations' Soviet delegation issued a minority report contending that their expertise and experience had been undermined by the South Africans. Representatives of the Soviet Union advanced the theory that the plane had been intentionally diverted by a false navigational beacon
signal, using a technology provided by military intelligence operatives of the South African government.
Democratic era (1993–present)
Mozambique held elections in 1994, which were accepted by most political parties as free and fair although still contested by many nationals and observers alike. FRELIMO
won, under Joaquim Chissano, while RENAMO
, led by Afonso Dhlakama
, ran as the official opposition.
By mid-1995, over 1.7 million refugees who had sought asylum in neighbouring countries had returned to Mozambique, part of the largest repatriation witnessed in sub-Saharan Africa. An additional four million internally displaced persons
had returned to their homes.
In December 1999, Mozambique held elections for a second time since the civil war, which were again won by FRELIMO. RENAMO accused FRELIMO of fraud, and threatened to return to civil war, but backed down after taking the matter to the Supreme Court and losing.
In early 2000, a cyclone
caused widespread flooding
in the country, killing hundreds and devastating the already precarious infrastructure.
There were widespread suspicions that foreign aid resources had been diverted by powerful leaders of FRELIMO. Carlos Cardoso
, a journalist investigating these allegations, was murdered,
and his death was never satisfactorily explained.
Indicating in 2001 that he would not run for a third term,
Chissano criticised leaders who stayed on longer than he had, which was generally seen as a reference to Zambian president Frederick Chiluba
, who at the time was considering a third term, and Zimbabwean president Robert Mugabe
, then in his fourth term.
Presidential and National Assembly elections took place on 1–2 December 2004. FRELIMO candidate Armando Guebuza
with 64% of the popular vote, while his opponent, Afonso Dhlakama
of RENAMO, received 32% of the popular vote. FRELIMO won 160 seats in Parliament, with a coalition of RENAMO and several small parties winning the 90 remaining seats. Guebuza was inaugurated as the President of Mozambique on 2 February 2005,
and served two five-year terms. His successor, Filipe Nyusi
, became the fourth President of Mozambique on 15 January 2015.
From 2013 to 2019, a low-intensity insurgency by RENAMO
occurred, mainly in the country's central and northern regions. On 5 September 2014, former president Guebuza and the leader of RENAMO Dhlakama signed the Accord on Cessation of Hostilities, which brought the military hostilities to a halt and allowed both parties to concentrate on the general elections to be held in October 2014. However, after the general elections, a new political crisis emerged. RENAMO did not recognise the validity of the election results and demanded the control of six provinces – Nampula, Niassa, Tete, Zambezia, Sofala, and Manica – where they claimed to have won a majority.
About 12,000 refugees are now in neighbouring Malawi
, Doctors Without Borders
, and Human Rights Watch
reported that government forces had torched villages and carried out summary executions
and sexual abuses
In October 2019, President Filipe Nyusi was re-elected after a landslide victory in general election
. Frelimo won 184 seats, Renamo got 60 seats and the MDM party received the remaining six seats in the National Assembly. Opposition did not accept the results because of allegations of fraud and irregularities. Frelimo secured two-thirds majority in parliament which allowed Frelimo to re-adjust the constitution without needing the agreement of the opposition.
Geography and climate
At 309,475 sq mi (801,537 km2
), Mozambique is the world's 36th-largest country. It is comparable in size to Turkey
. Mozambique is located on the southeast coast of Africa. It is bound by Eswatini
to the south, South Africa
to the southwest, Zimbabwe
to the west, Zambia
to the northwest, Tanzania
to the north and the Indian Ocean to the east. Mozambique lies between latitudes 10°
, and longitudes 30°
The country is divided into two topographical regions by the Zambezi River
. To the north of the Zambezi
River, the narrow coastal strip gives way to inland hills and low plateaus. Rugged highlands are further west; they include the Niassa
or Shire highlands, Angonia highlands, Tete
highlands and the Makonde
plateau, covered with miombo
woodlands. To the south of the Zambezi River, the lowlands are broader with the Mashonaland plateau and Lebombo Mountains
located in the deep south.
The country is drained by five principal rivers and several smaller ones with the largest and most important the Zambezi. The country has four notable lakes: Lake Niassa
(or Malawi), Lake Chiuta
, Lake Cahora Bassa
and Lake Shirwa
, all in the north. The major cities are Maputo
Mozambique map of Köppen climate classification zones
Mozambique has a tropical climate with two seasons, a wet season from October to March and a dry season from April to September. Climatic conditions, however, vary depending on altitude. Rainfall is heavy along the coast and decreases in the north and south. Annual precipitation varies from 500 to 900 mm (19.7 to 35.4 in) depending on the region, with an average of 590 mm (23.2 in). Cyclones are common during the wet season. Average temperature ranges in Maputo are from 13 to 24 °C (55.4 to 75.2 °F) in July and from 22 to 31 °C (71.6 to 87.8 °F) in February.
In 2019 Mozambique suffered floods and destruction from the devastating cyclones Idai
. This is the first time two cyclones have struck the southern African nation in a single season.
Maputo City Hall
Mozambique is a multi-party democracy under the 1990 constitution. The executive branch comprises a President, Prime Minister
, and Council of Ministers. There is a National Assembly
and municipal assemblies. The judiciary comprises a Supreme Court and provincial, district, and municipal courts. Suffrage
is universal at eighteen. In the 1994 elections
, Joaquim Chissano
was elected president with 53% of the vote, and a 250-member National Assembly was voted in with 129 Liberation Front of Mozambique
) deputies, 112 Mozambican National Resistance
) deputies, and nine representatives of three smaller parties that formed the Democratic Union (UD). Since its formation in 1994, the National Assembly has made progress in becoming a body increasingly more independent of the executive. By 1999, more than one-half (53%) of the legislation passed originated in the Assembly.
After some delays, in 1998 the country held its first local elections to provide for local representation and some budgetary authority at the municipal level. The principal opposition party, RENAMO, boycotted the local elections, citing flaws in the registration process. Independent slates contested the elections and won seats in municipal assemblies. Turnout was very low.
In the aftermath of the 1998 local elections, the government resolved to make more accommodations to the opposition's procedural concerns for the second round of multiparty national elections in 1999. Working through the National Assembly, the electoral law was rewritten and passed by consensus in December 1998. Financed largely by international donors, a very successful voter registration was conducted from July to September 1999, providing voter registration cards to 85% of the potential electorate (more than seven million voters).
The second general elections were held 3–5 December 1999, with high voter turnout
. International and domestic observers agreed that the voting process was well organised and went smoothly. Both the opposition and observers subsequently cited flaws in the tabulation process that, had they not occurred, might have changed the outcome. In the end, however, international and domestic observers concluded that the close result of the vote reflected the will of the people.
A section of the crowd at its final campaign rally for the 2014 election
President Chissano won the presidency with a margin of 4% over the RENAMO-Electoral Union coalition candidate, Afonso Dhlakama
, and began his five-year term in January 2000. FRELIMO
increased its majority in the National Assembly with 133 out of 250 seats. RENAMO-UE coalition won 116 seats, one went independent, and no third parties are represented.
The opposition coalition did not accept the National Election Commission's results of the presidential vote and filed a formal complaint to the Supreme Court. One month after the voting, the court dismissed the opposition's challenge and validated the election results. The opposition did not file a complaint about the results of the legislative vote.
The second local elections, involving thirty-three municipalities with some 2.4 million registered voters, took place in November 2003. This was the first time that FRELIMO, RENAMO-UE, and independent parties competed without significant boycotts. The 24% turnout was well above the 15% turnout in the first municipal elections. FRELIMO won twenty-eight mayoral positions and the majority in twenty-nine municipal assemblies, while RENAMO won five mayoral positions and the majority in four municipal assemblies. The voting was conducted in an orderly fashion without violent incidents. However, the period immediately after the elections was marked by objections about voter and candidate registration and vote tabulation, as well as calls for greater transparency. The government would go on to approve a new general elections law in May 2009 that contained innovations based on the experience of the 2003 municipal elections.
Presidential and National Assembly elections took place on 1–2 December 2004. FRELIMO candidate Armando Guebuza
won with 64% of the popular vote. His opponent, Afonso Dhlakama of RENAMO, received 32% of the popular vote. FRELIMO won 160 seats in Parliament. A coalition of RENAMO and several small parties won the 90 remaining seats. Armando Guebuza was inaugurated as the President of Mozambique on 2 February 2005.
RENAMO and some other opposition parties made claims of election fraud and denounced the result. These claims were supported by international observers (among others by the European Union Election Observation Mission to Mozambique and the Carter Centre) to the elections who criticised the fact that the National Electoral Commission (CNE) did not conduct fair and transparent elections. They listed a whole range of shortcomings by the electoral authorities that benefited the ruling party FRELIMO.
According to EU observers, the election's shortcomings probably did not affect the final result in the presidential election. On the other hand, the observers have declared that the outcome of the parliamentary election and thus the distribution of seats in the National Assembly does not reflect the will of the Mozambican people and is clearly to the disadvantage of RENAMO.
After clashes between RENAMO guards and the police in Muxungue and Gondola in April 2013, RENAMO said it would boycott and disrupt local elections in November 2013. Since the end of the civil war in 1992, about 300 RENAMO guards had remained armed and refused to join the national army or the police force.
Mozambique's embassy in Washington, D.C.
While allegiances dating back to the liberation struggle remain relevant, Mozambique's foreign policy has become increasingly pragmatic. The twin pillars of Mozambique's foreign policy are maintenance of good relations with its neighbours
and maintenance and expansion of ties to development partners.
During the 1970s and the early 1980s, Mozambique's foreign policy was inextricably linked to the struggles for majority rule in Rhodesia
and South Africa as well as superpower competition and the Cold War
Mozambique's decision to enforce UN sanctions against Rhodesia and deny that country access to the sea led Ian Smith
's government to undertake overt and covert actions to oppose the country. Although the change of government in Zimbabwe in 1980 removed this threat, the government of South Africa continued to destabilise Mozambique.
Mozambique also belonged to the Front Line States
The 1984 Nkomati Accord
, while failing in its goal of ending South African support to RENAMO, opened initial diplomatic contacts between the Mozambican and South African governments. This process gained momentum with South Africa's elimination of apartheid
, which culminated in the establishment of full diplomatic relations in October 1993. While relations with neighbouring Zimbabwe, Malawi, Zambia and Tanzania show occasional strains, Mozambique's ties to these countries remain strong.
In the years immediately following its independence, Mozambique benefited from considerable assistance from some Western countries, notably the Scandinavians. The Soviet Union and its allies became Mozambique's primary economic, military and political supporters, and its foreign policy reflected this linkage. This began to change in 1983; in 1984 Mozambique joined the World Bank
and International Monetary Fund
. Western aid by the Scandinavian countries of Sweden
quickly replaced Soviet support. Finland
and the Netherlands
are becoming increasingly important sources of development assistance. Italy also maintains a profile in Mozambique as a result of its key role during the peace process. Relations with Portugal, the former colonial power, continue to be important because Portuguese investors play a visible role in Mozambique's economy.
Mozambique is divided into ten provinces (provincias) and one capital city (cidade capital) with provincial status. The provinces are subdivided into 129 districts (distritos). The districts are further divided into 405 "Postos Administrativos" (Administrative Posts) and then into Localidades (Localities), the lowest geographical level of the central state administration. Since 1998, 53 "Municípios" (Municipalities) have been created in Mozambique.
(administrative posts) are the main subdivisions of districts. This name, in use during colonial times, was abolished after independence
and was replaced by localidades
(localities). However, it was re-established in 1986.
Administrative posts are headed by a Secretários (secretaries), which before independence were called Chefes de Posto (post chiefs).
Administrative posts can be further subdivided into localities, also headed by secretaries.
Same-sex sexual activity has been legal since 2015.
Discrimination against LGBT people
in Mozambique is widespread.
A proportional representation of Mozambique's exports
Mozambique is one of the poorest and most underdeveloped countries in the world, even though between 1994 and 2006 its average annual GDP growth was approximately 8%. The IMF
classifies Mozambique as a Heavily Indebted Poor Country
. In a 2006 survey, three-quarters of Mozambicans said that in the past five years their economic position had remained the same or become worse.
Mozambique's official currency is the New Metical
(as of March 2018, US$1 is roughly equivalent to 62 New Meticals), which replaced old Meticals at the rate of a thousand to one. The old currency was redeemable at the Bank of Mozambique
until the end of 2012. The US$, South African rand
, and recently the euro
are also widely accepted and used in business transactions. The minimum legal salary is around US$60 per month. Mozambique is a member of the Southern African Development Community
The SADC free trade
protocol is aimed at making the Southern African region more competitive by eliminating tariffs
and other trade barriers
. The World Bank
in 2007 talked of Mozambique's 'blistering pace of economic growth'. A joint donor-government study in early 2007 said 'Mozambique is generally considered an aid success story.'
The resettlement of civil war refugees
and successful economic reform have led to a high growth rate: the country enjoyed a remarkable recovery, achieving an average annual rate of economic growth of 8% between 1996 and 2006
and between 6–7% from 2006 to 2011.
The devastating floods of early 2000
slowed GDP growth to 2.1%,
but a full recovery was achieved in 2001 with growth of 14.8%.
. Rapid expansion in the future hinged on several major foreign investment projects, continued economic reform, and the revival of the agriculture, transportation, and tourism sectors.
In 2013 about 80% of the population was employed in agriculture, the majority of whom were engaged in small-scale subsistence farming
which still suffered from inadequate infrastructure, commercial networks, and investment.
However, in 2012, more than 90% of Mozambique's arable land was still uncultivated
In 2013, a BBC article reported that starting in 2009, Portuguese had been returning to Mozambique because of the growing economy in Mozambique and the poor economic situation in Portugal.
, the capital of Mozambique, is the largest city in the country and is separate from the Maputo Province
. In the image the Port of Maputo
is featured, the second largest in East Africa
More than 1,200 mostly small state-owned enterprises
have been privatised
. Preparations for privatisation and/or sector liberalisation were made for the remaining parastatal enterprises, including telecommunications, energy, ports, and railways. The government frequently selected a strategic foreign investor when privatising a parastatal. Additionally, customs duties have been reduced, and customs management has been streamlined and reformed. The government introduced a value-added tax in 1999 as part of its efforts to increase domestic revenues. Plans for 2003–04 included Commercial Code reform; comprehensive judicial reform; financial sector strengthening; continued civil service reform; and improved government budget, audit, and inspection capability.
Further political instability resulting from flooding left thousands homeless, displaced within their own country.
Mozambique's economy has been shaken by a number of corruption scandals. In July 2011, the government proposed new anti-corruption laws to criminalise embezzlement, influence peddling and graft, following numerous instances of the theft of public money. This has been endorsed by the country's Council of Ministers. Mozambique has convicted two former ministers for graft in the past two years.
Mozambique was ranked 116 of 178 countries in anti-graft watchdog Transparency International
's latest index of global corruption. According to a USAID report written in 2005, "the scale and scope of corruption in Mozambique are cause for alarm."
In March 2012, the government of the southern Mozambican province of Inhambane uncovered the misappropriation of public funds by the director of the Provincial Anti-Drugs Office, Calisto Alberto Tomo. He was found to have colluded with the accountant in the Anti-Drugs Office, Recalda Guambe, to steal over 260,000 meticais between 2008 and 2010.
The government of Mozambique has taken steps to address the problem of corruption, and some positive developments can be observed, such as the passages of several new anti-corruption bills in 2012.
In 2010–2011, Anadarko Petroleum
discovered the Mamba South gas field
, recoverable reserves of 4,200 billion cubic metres (150 trillion cubic feet) of natural gas in the Rovuma
Basin, off the coast of northern Cabo Delgado Province
. Once developed, this could make Mozambique one of the largest producers of liquefied natural gas
in the world. In January 2017, 3 firms were selected by the Mozambique Government for the Natural Gas Development Projects in the Rovuma gas basin. GL Africa Energy (UK) was awarded one of the tenders. It plans to build and operate a 250 MW gas-powered plant.
Production was scheduled to start in 2018.
European tourists on the beach, in Inhambane
The country's natural environment, wildlife, and historic heritage provide opportunities for beach, cultural, and eco-tourism
Mozambique has a great potential for growth in its gross domestic product (GDP). 
The north beaches with clean water are suitable for tourism,[original research?]
especially those that are very far from urban centres, such as those in the province of Cabo Delgado
, especially the Quirimbas Islands, and the province of Inhambane
, especially the Archipelago of Bazaruto.
The Inhambane Province attracts international divers because of the marine biodiversity and the presence of whale sharks
and manta rays 
The country also has several national parks, including Gorongosa National Park
, with its infrastructures rehabilitated and repopulated in certain species of animals that were already disappearing.
Steam locomotive at Inhambane, 2009.
Modes of transport in Mozambique include rail, road
, and air
There is an international airport at Maputo
, 21 other paved airports, and over 100 airstrips with unpaved runways.
On the Indian Ocean coast are several large seaports
, including Nacala
, with further ports being developed. There are 3,750 km of navigable
inland waterways. There are rail links serving principal cities and connecting the country with Malawi
and South Africa. The Mozambican railway system developed over more than a century from three different ports on the Indian Ocean that served as terminals for separate lines to the hinterland. The railroads were major targets during the Mozambican Civil War
, were sabotaged by RENAMO
, and are being rehabilitated. A parastatal
authority, Portos e Caminhos de Ferro de Moçambique
(abbreviated CFM; in English- Mozambique Ports and Railways), oversees the railway system of Mozambique and its connected ports, but management has been largely outsourced. Each line has its own development corridor.
As of 2005 there were 3,123 km of railway track, consisting of 2,983 km of 1,067 mm
(3 ft 6 in) gauge, compatible with neighbouring rail systems, and a 140 km line of 762 mm
(2 ft 6 in) gauge, the Gaza Railway
The central Beira Railroad Corporation
route links the port of Beira
to the landlocked countries of Malawi, Zambia and Zimbabwe. To the north of this the port of Nacala
is also linked by rail to Malawi, and to the south Maputo
is linked to Zimbabwe and South Africa. These networks interconnect only via neighbouring countries. A new route for coal haulage between Tete
was planned to come into service by 2010,
and in August 2010, Mozambique and Botswana
signed a memorandum of understanding to develop a 1,100 km railway through Zimbabwe, to carry coal from Serule
in Botswana to a deepwater port at Techobanine
Point in Mozambique.
Water supply and sanitation
Woman fetching water during the dry season from a polluted source in Machaze District of the Central Manica Province.
Water supply and sanitation in Mozambique is characterised by low levels of access to an improved water source
(estimated to be 51% in 2011), low levels of access to adequate sanitation (estimated to be 25% in 2011) and mostly poor service quality. In 2007 the government has defined a strategy for water supply and sanitation in rural areas, where 62% of the population lives. In urban areas, water is supplied by informal small-scale providers and by formal providers.
Beginning in 1998, Mozambique has reformed the formal part of the urban water supply sector through the creation of an independent regulatory agency called CRA, an asset-holding company called FIPAG and a Public-private partnership
(PPP) with a company called Aguas de Moçambique. The PPP covered those areas of the capital and of four other cities that had access to formal water supply systems. However, the PPP ended when the management contracts for four cities expired in 2008 and when the foreign partner of the company that serves the capital under a lease contract withdrew in 2010, claiming heavy losses.
While urban water supply has received considerable policy attention, the government has no strategy for urban sanitation yet. External donors finance about 87.4% of all public investments in the sector. The main donors in the water sector are the World Bank
, the African Development Bank
, Canada, the Netherlands, Sweden, Switzerland and the United States.
The north-central provinces of Zambezia and Nampula are the most populous, with about 45% of the population. The estimated four million Macua
are the dominant group in the northern part of the country; the Sena
) are prominent in the Zambezi valley,
and the Tsonga
people dominate in southern Mozambique. Other groups include Makonde
, and Nguni
people comprise 97.8% of the population, with the rest made up of Portuguese
ancestry, Euro-Africans (mestiço
people of mixed Bantu and Portuguese ancestry), and Indians.
Roughly 45,000 people of Indian descent
reside in Mozambique.
During Portuguese colonial rule, a large minority of people of Portuguese
descent lived permanently in almost all areas of the country,
and Mozambicans with Portuguese heritage
at the time of independence numbered about 360,000.
Many of these left the country after independence from Portugal in 1975.
There are various estimates for the size of Mozambique's Chinese community
, ranging from 7,000 to 12,000 as of 2007.
According to a 2011 survey, the total fertility rate was 5.9 children per woman, with 6.6 in rural areas and 4.5 in urban areas.
Ethnic map of Mozambique
Portuguese is the official and most widely spoken language of the nation, spoken by 50.3% of the population.
The Bantu-group languages of Mozambique that are indigenous to the country vary greatly in their groupings and in some cases are rather poorly appreciated and documented.
Apart from its lingua franca uses in the north of the country, Swahili
is spoken in a small area of the coast next to the Tanzanian border; south of this, towards Moçambique Island, Kimwani
, regarded as a dialect of Swahili, is used. Immediately inland of the Swahili area, Makonde
is used, separated farther inland by a small strip of Makhuwa
-speaking territory from an area where Yao
or ChiYao is used. Makonde and Yao belong to a different group, Yao
being very close to the Mwera language
of the Rondo Plateau area in Tanzania.
Prepositions appear in these languages as locative prefixes prefixed to the noun and declined according to their own noun-class. Some Nyanja
is used at the coast of Lake Malawi, as well as on the other side of the Lake.
Somewhat different from all of these are the languages of the eMakhuwa group, with a loss of initial k-, which means that many nouns begin with a vowel: for example, epula
There is eMakhuwa proper, with the related eLomwe
, with a small eKoti
-speaking area at the coast. In an area straddling the lower Zambezi, Sena
, which belongs to the same group as Nyanja, is spoken, with areas speaking the related CiNyungwe and CiSenga
A large Shona
-speaking area extends between the Zimbabwe border and the sea: this was formerly known the Ndau
but now uses the orthography of the Standard Shona of Zimbabwe. Apparently similar to Shona, but lacking the tone patterns of the Shona language, and regarded by its speakers as quite separate, is CiBalke, also called Rue
, used in a small area near the Zimbabwe border.
South of this area are languages of the Tsonga
group, which are quite different again. XiTswa or Tswa
occurs at the coast and inland, XiTsonga or Tsonga
straddles the area around the Limpopo River
, including such local dialects as XiHlanganu, XiN'walungu, XiBila, XiHlengwe, and XiDzonga. This language area extends into neighbouring South Africa. Still related to these, but distinct, are GiTonga, BiTonga, and CiCopi or Chopi
, spoken north of the mouth of the Limpopo, and XiRonga or Ronga
, spoken in the immediate region around Maputo. The languages in this group are, judging by the short vocabularies,
very vaguely similar to Zulu
, but obviously not in the same immediate group. There are small Swazi
- and Zulu
-speaking areas in Mozambique immediately next to the Swaziland and KwaZulu-Natal borders.
Arabs, Chinese, and Indians primarily speak Portuguese and some Hindi. Indians from Portuguese India speak any of the Portuguese Creoles
of their origin aside from Portuguese as their second language.
A mosque in downtown Maputo
The 2017 census found that Christians made up 59.2% of Mozambique's population and Muslims comprised 18.9% of the population. 7.3% of the people held other beliefs, mainly animism
, and 13.9% had no religious beliefs.
A more recent government survey conducted by the Demographic and Health Surveys
Program in 2015 indicated that Catholicism had increased to 30.5% of the population, Muslims constituted 19.3%, and various Protestant groups a total of 44%.
According to 2018 estimates from the United States Commission on International Religious Freedom
, 28% of the population is Catholic, 18% are Muslim (mostly Sunni), 15% are Zionist Christians
, 12% are Protestants, 7% are members of other religious groups, and 18% have no religion.
The Roman Catholic Church has established twelve dioceses (Beira, Chimoio, Gurué, Inhambane, Lichinga, Maputo, Nacala, Nampula, Pemba, Quelimane, Tete,
and Xai-Xai; archdioceses are Beira
). Statistics for the dioceses range from a low 5.8% Catholics in the population in the Diocese of Chimoio
, to 32.50% in Quelimane diocese (Anuario catolico de Mocambique 2007).
The work of Methodism in Mozambique started in 1890. The Rev. Dr. Erwin Richards began a Methodist mission at Chicuque in Inhambane Province. The Igreja Metodista Unida em Moçambique (UMC in Mozambique) observed the 100th anniversary of Methodist presence in Mozambique in 1990. Then-Mozambique President Chissano praised the work and role of the UMC to more than 10,000 people who attended the ceremony.
The United Methodist Church has tripled in size in Mozambique since 1998. There are now more than 150,000 members in more than 180 congregations of the 24 districts. New pastors are ordained each year. New churches are chartered each year in each Annual Conference (North and South).
The Baháʼí Faith
has been present in Mozambique since the early 1950s but did not openly identify itself in those years because of the strong influence of the Catholic Church which did not recognise it officially as a world religion. The independence in 1975 saw the entrance of new pioneers. In total, there are about 3,000 declared Baháʼís in Mozambique as of 2010. The Administrative Committee is located in Maputo.
Muslims are particularly present in the north of the country. They are organised in several "tariqa
" or brotherhoods
. Two national organisations also exist—the Conselho Islâmico de Moçambique
and the Congresso Islâmico de Moçambique
. There are also important Pakistani, Indian associations as well as some Shia communities.
There is a very small but thriving Jewish community in Maputo.
There are currently 68,996 Jehovah's Witnesses in Mozambique.
Population pyramid 2016
The fertility rate is at about 5.5 births per woman. Public expenditure on health was at 2.7% of the GDP in 2004, whereas private expenditure on health was at 1.3% in the same year. Health expenditure per capita was 42 US$ (PPP) in 2004. In the early 21st century there were 3 physicians per 100,000 people in the country. Infant mortality
was at 100 per 1,000 births in 2005.
The 2010 maternal mortality rate per 100,000 births for Mozambique is 550. This is compared with 598.8 in 2008 and 385 in 1990. The under 5 mortality rate, per 1,000 births is 147 and the neonatal mortality as a percentage of under 5s mortality is 29. In Mozambique the number of midwives per 1,000 live births is 3 and the lifetime risk of death for pregnant women 1 in 37.
The official HIV prevalence
in Mozambique in 2011 was 11.5% of the population aged between 15 and 49 years. In the southern parts of Mozambique—Maputo
provinces as well as the city of Maputo—the official figures are more than twice as high as the national average. In 2011 the health authorities estimated about 1.7 million Mozambicans were HIV-positive, of whom 600,000 were in need of anti-retroviral treatment. As of December 2011, 240,000 were receiving such treatment, increasing to 416,000 in March 2014 according to the health authorities. According to the 2011 UNAIDS Report, the HIV/AIDS
epidemic in Mozambique seems to be levelling off.
Portuguese is the primary language of instruction in all Mozambican schools. All Mozambicans are required by law to attend school through the primary level; however, a lot of children in Mozambique do not go to primary school because they have to work for their families' subsistence farms for a living. In 2007, one million children still did not go to school, most of them from poor rural families, and almost half of all teachers in Mozambique were still unqualified. Girls’ enrolment increased from 3 million in 2002 to 4.1 million in 2006 while the completion rate increased from 31,000 to 90,000, which testified a very poor completion rate.
After grade 7, pupils must take standardised national exams to enter secondary school, which runs from eighth to 10th grade.
Space in Mozambican universities is extremely limited; thus most pupils who complete pre-university school do not immediately proceed on to university studies. Many go to work as teachers or are unemployed. There are also institutes that give more vocational training, specialising in agricultural, technical or pedagogical studies, which students may attend after grade 10 in lieu of a pre-university school.
After independence from Portugal in 1975, a number of Mozambican pupils continued to be admitted every year at Portuguese high schools, polytechnical institutes and universities, through bilateral agreements between the Portuguese government and the Mozambican government.
According to 2010 estimates, the literacy rate
of Mozambique was 56.1% (70.8% male and 42.8% female).
By 2015, this had increased to 58.8% (73.3% male and 45.4% female).
Woman with traditional mask in Mozambique
Mozambique was ruled by Portugal, and they share a main language (Portuguese) and main religion (Roman Catholicism). But since most of the people of Mozambique are Bantus
, most of the culture is native; for Bantus living in urban areas, there is some Portuguese influence. Mozambican culture also influences the Portuguese culture
are known for their wood carving and elaborate masks, which are commonly used in traditional dances. There are two different kinds of wood carvings: shetani
, (evil spirits), which are mostly carved in heavy ebony
, tall, and elegantly curved with symbols and nonrepresentational faces; and ujamaa
, which are totem-type carvings which illustrate lifelike faces of people and various figures. These sculptures are usually referred to as "family trees" because they tell stories of many generations.
During the last years of the colonial period, Mozambican art reflected the oppression by the colonial power and became a symbol of resistance. After independence in 1975, modern art came into a new phase. The two best known and most influential contemporary Mozambican artists are the painter Malangatana Ngwenya
and the sculptor Alberto Chissano
. A lot of the post-independence art during the 1980s and 1990s reflect the political struggle, civil war, suffering, starvation, and struggle.
Dances are usually intricate, highly developed traditions throughout Mozambique. There are many different kinds of dances from tribe to tribe which are usually ritualistic in nature. The Chopi, for instance, act out battles dressed in animal skins. The men of Makua
dress in colourful outfits and masks while dancing on stilts around the village for hours. Groups of women in the northern part of the country perform a traditional dance called tufo
, to celebrate Islamic
With a nearly 500-year presence in the country, the Portuguese have greatly influenced Mozambique's cuisine. Staples and crops such as cassava
(a starchy root of Brazilian origin) and cashew
nuts (also of Brazilian origin, though Mozambique was once the largest producer of these nuts
), and pãozinho
, Portuguese-style French buns
), were brought in by the Portuguese. The use of spices and seasonings
such as bay leaves
, chili peppers
, fresh coriander
, garlic, onions, paprika
, red sweet peppers, and wine were introduced by the Portuguese, as were maize, millet
, potatoes, rice, sorghum
, and sugarcane
, the popular inteiro com piripiri
(whole chicken in piri-piri
(steak roll), pudim
), and rissóis
(battered shrimp) are all Portuguese dishes commonly eaten in present-day Mozambique.
Headquarters of Rádio Moçambique in KaMpfumo
district of Maputo
Mozambican media is heavily influenced by the government.
have relatively low circulation rates, due to high newspaper prices and low literacy rates
Among the most highly circulated newspapers are state-controlled dailies, such as Noticias
and Diário de Moçambique
, and the weekly Domingo
Their circulation is mostly confined to Maputo.
Most funding and advertising revenue is given to pro-government newspapers.
However, the number of private newspapers with critical views of the government have increased significantly in recent years.[when?]
are the most influential form of media in the country due to their ease of access.
State-owned radio stations are more popular than privately owned media. This is exemplified by the government radio station, Rádio Moçambique, the most popular station in the country.
It was established shortly after Mozambique's independence.
stations watched by Mozambicans are STV, TIM, and TVM Televisão Moçambique. Through cable and satellite, viewers can access tens of other African, Asian, Brazilian, and European channels.
The music of Mozambique
serves many purposes, ranging from religious expression to traditional ceremonies. Musical instruments are usually handmade. Some of the instruments used in Mozambican musical expression include drums made of wood and animal skin; the lupembe
, a woodwind instrument made from animal horns or wood; and the marimba
, which is a kind of xylophone
native to Mozambique and other parts of Africa. The marimba is a popular instrument with the Chopi
of the south-central coast, who are famous for their musical skill and dance.
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