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Almost five centuries as a Portuguese colony came to a close with independence in 1975. Large-scale emigration by whites, economic dependence on South Africa, a severe drought, and a prolonged civil war hindered the country's development. The ruling party formally abandoned Marxism in 1989, and a new constitution the following year provided for multiparty elections and a free market economy. A UN-negotiated peace agreement with rebel forces ended the fighting in 1992. Heavy flooding in both 1999 and 2000 severely hurt the economy. Political stability and sound economic policies have encouraged recent foreign investment.
Geography Mozambique
South-eastern Africa, bordering the Mozambique Channel, between South Africa and Tanzania
Geographic coordinates:
18 15 S, 35 00 E
Map references:
total: 801,590 sq km
water: 17,500 sq km
land: 784,090 sq km
Area - comparative:
slightly less than twice the size of California
Land boundaries:
total: 4,571 km
border countries: Malawi 1,569 km, South Africa 491 km, Swaziland 105 km, Tanzania 756 km, Zambia 419 km, Zimbabwe 1,231 km
2,470 km
Maritime claims - as described in UNCLOS 1982 (see Notes and Definitions):
territorial sea: 12 NM
exclusive economic zone: 200 NM
tropical to subtropical
mostly coastal lowlands, uplands in center, high plateaus in northwest, mountains in west
Elevation extremes:
lowest point: Indian Ocean 0 m
highest point: Monte Binga 2,436 m
Natural resources:
coal, titanium, natural gas, hydropower, tantalum, graphite
Land use:
arable land: 3.98%
permanent crops: 0.29%
other: 95.73% (1998 est.)
Irrigated land:
1,070 sq km (1998 est.)
Natural hazards:
severe droughts; devastating cyclones and floods occur in central and southern provinces
Environment - current issues:
a long civil war and recurrent drought in the hinterlands have resulted in increased migration of the population to urban and coastal areas with adverse environmental consequences; desertification; pollution of surface and coastal waters; elephant poaching for ivory is a problem
Environment - international agreements:
party to: Biodiversity, Climate Change, Desertification, Endangered Species, Hazardous Wastes, Law of the Sea, Ozone Layer Protection
signed, but not ratified: none of the selected agreements
Geography - note:
the Zambezi flows through the north-central and most fertile part of the country
People Mozambique
note: estimates for this country explicitly take into account the effects of excess mortality due to AIDS; this can result in lower life expectancy, higher infant mortality and death rates, lower population and growth rates, and changes in the distribution of population by age and sex than would otherwise be expected; the 1997 Mozambican census reported a population of 16,099,246 (July 2004 est.)
Age structure:
0-14 years: 43.6% (male 4,126,178; female 4,074,759)
15-64 years: 53.6% (male 4,944,416; female 5,145,167)
65 years and over: 2.8% (male 215,418; female 305,793) (2004 est.)
Median age:
total: 18.2 years
male: 17.8 years
female: 18.6 years (2004 est.)
Population growth rate:
1.22% (2004 est.)
Birth rate:
36.06 births/1,000 population (2004 est.)
Death rate:
23.86 deaths/1,000 population (2004 est.)
Net migration rate:
0 migrant(s)/1,000 population (2004 est.)
Sex ratio:
at birth: 1.03 male(s)/female
under 15 years: 1.01 male(s)/female
15-64 years: 0.96 male(s)/female
65 years and over: 0.7 male(s)/female
total population: 0.98 male(s)/female (2004 est.)
Infant mortality rate:
total: 137.08 deaths/1,000 live births
female: 131.32 deaths/1,000 live births (2004 est.)
male: 142.67 deaths/1,000 live births
Life expectancy at birth:
total population: 37.1 years
male: 37.83 years
female: 36.34 years (2004 est.)
Total fertility rate:
4.78 children born/woman (2004 est.)
HIV/AIDS - adult prevalence rate:
13% (2001 est.)
HIV/AIDS - people living with HIV/AIDS:
1.1 million (2001 est.)
HIV/AIDS - deaths:
60,000 (2001 est.)
noun: Mozambican(s)
adjective: Mozambican
Ethnic groups:
indigenous tribal groups 99.66% (Shangaan, Chokwe, Manyika, Sena, Makua, and others), Europeans 0.06%, Euro-Africans 0.2%, Indians 0.08%
indigenous beliefs 50%, Christian 30%, Muslim 20%
Portuguese (official), indigenous dialects
definition: age 15 and over can read and write
total population: 47.8%
male: 63.5%
female: 32.7% (2003 est.)
Government Mozambique
Country name:
conventional long form: Republic of Mozambique
conventional short form: Mozambique
local short form: Mocambique
former: Portuguese East Africa
local long form: Republica de Mocambique
Government type:
Administrative divisions:
10 provinces (provincias, singular - provincia), 1 city (cidade)*; Cabo Delgado, Gaza, Inhambane, Manica, Maputo, Cidade de Maputo*, Nampula, Niassa, Sofala, Tete, Zambezia
25 June 1975 (from Portugal)
National holiday:
Independence Day, 25 June (1975)
30 November 1990
Legal system:
based on Portuguese civil law system and customary law
18 years of age; universal
Executive branch:
chief of state: President Joaquim Alberto CHISSANO (since 6 November 1986); note - before being popularly elected, CHISSANO was elected president by Frelimo's Central Committee on 4 November 1986 (reelected by the Committee 30 July 1989)
head of government: Prime Minister Luisa DIOGO (since 17 February 2004)
cabinet: Cabinet
elections: president elected by popular vote for a five-year term; election last held 3-5 December 1999 (next to be held NA December 2004); prime minister appointed by the president
election results: Joaquim Alberto CHISSANO reelected president; percent of vote - Joaquim Alberto CHISSANO 52.3%, Afonso DHLAKAMA 47.7%
Legislative branch:
unicameral Assembly of the Republic or Assembleia da Republica (250 seats; members are directly elected by popular vote on a secret ballot to serve five-year terms)
elections: last held 3-5 December 1999 (next to be held NA December 2004)
election results: percent of vote by party - Frelimo 48.54%, Renamo-UE 38.81%; seats by party - Frelimo 133, Renamo-UE 117
note: Renamo-UE ran as a multiparty coalition; none of the other opposition parties received the 5% required to win parliamentary seats; in September 2000, Renamo-UE member Raul DOMINGOS was expelled from the party; he continues to hold his parliamentary seat as an independent
Judicial branch:
Supreme Court (the court of final appeal; some of its professional judges are appointed by the president and some are elected by the Assembly); other courts include an Administrative Court, customs courts, maritime courts, courts marshal, labor courts
note: although the constitution provides for the creation of a separate Constitutional Court, one has never been established; in its absence the Supreme Court reviews constitutional cases
Political parties and leaders:
Front for the Liberation of Mozambique (Frente de Liberatacao de Mocambique) or Frelimo [Joaquim Alberto CHISSANO, president]; Mozambique National Resistance-Electoral Union (Resistencia Nacional Mocambicana-Uniao Eleitoral) or Renamo-UE [Afonso DHLAKAMA, president]
Political pressure groups and leaders:
Institute for Peace and Democracy (Instituto para Paz e Democracia) or IPADE [Raul DOMINGOS, president]; Etica [Abdul CARIMO Issa, chairman]; Movement for Peace and Citizenship (Movimento para Paz e Cidadania); Mozambican League of Human Rights (Liga Mocambicana dos Direitos Humanos) or LDH [Alice MABOTE, president]; Human Rights and Development (Direitos Humanos e Desenvolvimento) or DHD [Artemisia FRANCO, secretary general]
International organization participation:
Diplomatic representation in the US:
chief of mission: Ambassador Armando PANGUENE
FAX: [1] (202) 835-0245
telephone: [1] (202) 293-7146
chancery: 1990 M Street NW, Suite 570, Washington, DC 20036
Diplomatic representation from the US:
chief of mission: Ambassador Sharon P. WILKINSON
embassy: Avenida Kenneth Kuanda 193, Maputo
mailing address: P. O. Box 783, Maputo
telephone: [258] (1) 492797
FAX: [258] (1) 490448
Flag description:
three equal horizontal bands of green (top), black, and yellow with a red isosceles triangle based on the hoist side; the black band is edged in white; centered in the triangle is a yellow five-pointed star bearing a crossed rifle and hoe in black superimposed on an open white book
Economy Mozambique
Economy - overview:
At independence in 1975, Mozambique was one of the world's poorest countries. Socialist mismanagement and a brutal civil war from 1977-92 exacerbated the situation. In 1987, the government embarked on a series of macroeconomic reforms designed to stabilize the economy. These steps, combined with donor assistance and with political stability since the multi-party elections in 1994, have led to dramatic improvements in the country's growth rate. Inflation was reduced to single digits during the late 1990s although it returned to double digits in 2000-03. Fiscal reforms, including the introduction of a value-added tax and reform of the customs service, have improved the government's revenue collection abilities. In spite of these gains, Mozambique remains dependent upon foreign assistance for much of its annual budget, and the majority of the population remains below the poverty line. Subsistence agriculture continues to employ the vast majority of the country's workforce. A substantial trade imbalance persists although the opening of the MOZAL aluminum smelter, the country's largest foreign investment project to date has increased export earnings. Additional investment projects in titanium extraction and processing and garment manufacturing should further close the import/export gap. Mozambique's once substantial foreign debt has been reduced through forgiveness and rescheduling under the IMF's Heavily Indebted Poor Countries (HIPC) and Enhanced HIPC initiatives, and is now at a manageable level.
purchasing power parity - $21.23 billion (2003 est.)
GDP - real growth rate:
7% (2003 est.)
GDP - per capita:
purchasing power parity - $1,200 (2003 est.)
GDP - composition by sector:
agriculture: 22%
industry: 23%
services: 55% (2001 est.)
Population below poverty line:
70% (2001 est.)
Household income or consumption by percentage share:
lowest 10%: 2.5%
highest 10%: 31.7% (1997)
Distribution of family income - Gini index:
39.6 (1996-97)
Inflation rate (consumer prices):
15.2% (2002 est.)
Labor force:
9.2 million (2000 est.)
Labor force - by occupation:
agriculture 81%, industry 6%, services 13% (1997 est.)
Unemployment rate:
21% (1997 est.)
revenues: $393.1 million
expenditures: $1.025 billion, including capital expenditures of $479.4 million (2001 est.)
food, beverages, chemicals (fertilizer, soap, paints), aluminum, petroleum products, textiles, cement, glass, asbestos, tobacco
Industrial production growth rate:
3.4% (2000)
Electricity - production:
7.193 billion kWh (2001)
Electricity - production by source:
fossil fuel: 2.9%
hydro: 97.1%
other: 0% (2001)
nuclear: 0%
Electricity - consumption:
1.39 billion kWh (2001)
Electricity - exports:
5.8 billion kWh (2001)
Electricity - imports:
500 million kWh (2001)
Oil - production:
0 bbl/day (2001 est.)
Oil - consumption:
8,500 bbl/day (2001 est.)
Oil - exports:
Oil - imports:
Oil - proved reserves:
0 bbl (1 January 2002)
Natural gas - production:
60 million cu m (2001 est.)
Natural gas - consumption:
60 million cu m (2001 est.)
Natural gas - exports:
0 cu m (2001 est.)
Natural gas - imports:
0 cu m (2001 est.)
Natural gas - proved reserves:
63.71 billion cu m (1 January 2002)
Agriculture - products:
cotton, cashew nuts, sugarcane, tea, cassava (tapioca), corn, coconuts, sisal, citrus and tropical fruits, potatoes, sunflowers; beef, poultry
$795 million f.o.b. (2003 est.)
Exports - commodities:
aluminum, prawns, cashews, cotton, sugar, citrus, timber; bulk electricity
Exports - partners:
Belgium 42.4%, South Africa 17.6%, Zimbabwe 5.7%, Spain 5.4%, Portugal 4.4% (2002)
$1.142 billion f.o.b. (2003 est.)
Imports - commodities:
machinery and equipment, vehicles, fuel, chemicals, metal products, foodstuffs, textiles
Imports - partners:
South Africa 30.4%, Portugal 6.1%, US 5.2%, India 4.2%, Australia 4.1% (2002)
Debt - external:
$966 million (2002 est.)
Economic aid - recipient:
$632.8 million (2001)
metical (MZM)
Currency code:
Exchange rates:
meticais per US dollar - 23,782.3 (2003), 23,678 (2002), 20,703.6 (2001), 15,447.1 (2000), 13,028.6 (1999)
note: effective October 2000, the exchange rate is determined as the weighted average of buying and selling exchange rates of all transactions of commercial banks and stock exchanges with the public
Fiscal year:
calendar year
Communications Mozambique
Telephones - main lines in use:
83,700 (2002)
Telephones - mobile cellular:
254,800 (2002)
Telephone system:
general assessment: fair system but not available generally (telephone density is only 16 telephones for each 1,000 persons)
domestic: the system consists of open-wire lines and trunk connection by microwave radio relay and tropospheric scatter
international: country code - 258; satellite earth stations - 5 Intelsat (2 Atlantic Ocean and 3 Indian Ocean)
Radio broadcast stations:
AM 13, FM 17, shortwave 11 (2001)
730,000 (1997)
Television broadcast stations:
1 (2001)
67,600 (2000)
Internet country code:
Internet hosts:
1,925 (2002)
Internet Service Providers (ISPs):
11 (2002)
Internet users:
30,000 (2002)
Transportation Mozambique
total: 3,123 km
narrow gauge: 2,983 km 1.067-m gauge; 140 km 0.762-m gauge (2002)
total: 30,400 km
paved: 5,685 km
unpaved: 24,715 km (1999 est.)
3,750 km (navigable routes)
gas 189 km; refined products 292 km (2003)
Ports and harbors:
Beira, Inhambane, Maputo, Nacala, Pemba, Quelimane
Merchant marine:
total: 3 ships (1,000 GRT or over) 4,125 GRT/7,024 DWT
by type: cargo 3
foreign-owned: Belgium 2 (2003 est.)
158 (2003 est.)
Airports - with paved runways:
total: 22
over 3,047 m: 1
2,438 to 3,047 m: 3
1,524 to 2,437 m: 10
914 to 1,523 m: 3
under 914 m: 5 (2003 est.)
Airports - with unpaved runways:
total: 136
2,438 to 3,047 m: 1
1,524 to 2,437 m: 14
914 to 1,523 m: 34
under 914 m: 87 (2003 est.)
Military Mozambique
Military branches:
Army, Navy, Air and Air Defense Forces, Special Forces
Military manpower - availability:
males age 15-49: 4,335,294 (2004 est.)
Military manpower - fit for military service:
males age 15-49: 2,485,197 (2004 est.)
Military expenditures - dollar figure:
$101.3 million (2003)
Military expenditures - percent of GDP:
2.2% (2003)
Transnational Issues Mozambique
Disputes - international:
Illicit drugs:
Southern African transit point for South Asian hashish, South Asian heroin, and South American cocaine probably destined for the European and South African markets; producer of cannabis (for local consumption) and methaqualone (for export to South Africa); corruption and poor regulatory capability makes the banking system vulnerable to money laundering, but the lack of a well-developed financial infrastructure limits the country's utility as a money-laundering center