|Republic of Mozambique
President: Armando Guebuza (2005)
Prime Minister: Alberto Vaquina
Land area: 302,737 sq mi (784,089 sq km);
total area: 309,494 sq mi (801,590 sq km)
Population (2012 est.): 23,515,934 (growth
rate: 2.442%); birth rate: 39.34/1000; infant mortality rate: 76.85/1000;
life expectancy: 52.02
Capital and largest city (2009 est.):
Monetary unit: Metical
name: República de Moçambique
Current government officials
Emakhuwa 25.3%, Portuguese (official) 10.7%, Xichangana 10.3%, Cisena 7.5%, Elomwe 7%, Echuwabo 5.1%, other Mozambican languages 30.1%, other 4% (1997 census)
African 99.66% (Makhuwa, Tsonga, Lomwe, Sena, and others), Europeans 0.06%, Euro-Africans 0.2%, Indians 0.08%
Catholic 28.4%, Protestant 27.7% (Zionist Christian 15.5%, Evangelical Pentecostal 10.9%, Anglican 1.3%), Muslim 17.9%, other 7.2%, none 18.7% (1997 census)
Independence Day, June 25
Literacy rate: 56.1% (2010 est.)
Economic summary: GDP/PPP (2012 est.):
$26.22 billion; per capita $1,200. Real growth rate: 7.5%.
Inflation: 3.5%. Unemployment: 21% (1997 est.). Arable
land: 5.43%. Agriculture: cotton, cashew nuts, sugarcane, tea,
cassava (tapioca), corn, coconuts, sisal, citrus and tropical fruits,
potatoes, sunflowers; beef, poultry. Labor force: 10.1 million
(2012 est.); agriculture 81%, industry 6%, services 13% (1997 est.).
Industries: aluminum, petroleum products, chemicals (fertilizer, soap, paints), textiles, cement, glass, asbestos, tobacco, food, beverages. Natural resources: coal, titanium, natural
gas, hydropower, tantalum, graphite. Exports: $3.516 billion
(2012 est.): aluminum, prawns, cashews, cotton, sugar, citrus,
timber; bulk electricity. Imports: $5.373 billion (2012
est.): machinery and equipment, vehicles, fuel, chemicals, metal
products, foodstuffs, textiles. Major trading partners:
Belgium, South Africa, Italy, Spain, China, India, U.S., Australia, Portugal (2011).
Communications: Telephones: main lines in
use: 88,100 (2011); mobile cellular: 7.855 million (2011). Broadcast media: 1 state-run TV station supplemented by private TV station; Portuguese state TV's African service, RTP Africa, and Brazilian-owned TV Miramar are available; state-run radio provides nearly 100% territorial coverage and broadcasts in multiple languages; a number of privately-owned and community-operated stations; transmissions of multiple international broadcasters are available (2007). Internet Service
Providers (ISPs): 89,737 (2012). Internet users: 613,600
total: 4,787 km (2008). Highways: total: 30,331 km; paved:
6,303 km; unpaved: 24,028 km (2000 est.). Waterways: 460 km
(Zambezi River navigable to Tete and along Cahora Bassa Lake) (2010).
Ports and terminals: Beira, Maputo, Nacala. Airports: 100 (2012).
International disputes: none.
Major sources and definitions
Mozambique stretches for 1,535 mi (2,470 km)
along Africa's southeast coast. It is nearly twice the size of California.
Tanzania is to the north; Malawi, Zambia, and Zimbabwe to the west; and
South Africa and Swaziland to the south. The country is generally a
low-lying plateau broken up by 25 sizable rivers that flow into the Indian
Ocean. The largest is the Zambezi, which provides access to central
Bantu speakers migrated to Mozambique in the
first millennium, and Arab and Swahili traders settled the region
thereafter. It was explored by Vasco da Gama in 1498 and first colonized
by Portugal in 1505. By 1510, the Portuguese had control of all of the
former Arab sultanates on the east African coast. Portuguese colonial rule
Guerrilla Activity Leads to Independence
Guerrilla activity began in 1963, and became so
effective by 1973 that Portugal was forced to dispatch 40,000 troops to
fight the rebels. A cease-fire was signed in Sept. 1974, and after having
been under Portuguese colonial rule for 470 years, Mozambique became
independent on June 25, 1975. The first president, Samora Moises Machel,
had been the head of the National Front for the Liberation of Mozambique
(FRELIMO) in its ten-year guerrilla war for independence. He died in a
plane crash in 1986, and was succeeded by his foreign minister, Joaquim
On Jan. 25, 1985, after a decade of
independence, the government became locked in a paralyzing war with
antigovernment guerrillas, the Mozambique National Resistance (MNR, or
Renamo), who were backed by the white minority government in South Africa.
The guerrilla movement weakened President Chissanó's attempts to
institute socialism, which he then decided to abandon in 1989. A new
constitution was drafted calling for three branches of government and
the granting civil liberties. A cease-fire agreement signed in Oct. 1992
between the government and the MNR ended 6 years of civil war.
Democracy and Economic Growth
In multiparty elections in 1994, President
Chissanó won. In Nov. 1995, the country was the first nonformer
British colony to become a member of the British Commonwealth. The
president's disciplined economic plan was highly successful, winning the
country foreign confidence and aid. While Mozambique posted some of the
world's largest economic growth rates in the late 1990s, it has suffered
enormous setbacks because of natural disasters, such as the enormous damage
caused by severe flooding in the winters of 2000 and 2001. Hundreds died
and thousands were displaced.
In 2002, Chissanó announced he would not
seek a third term. FRELIMO's candidate, independence hero Armando Guebuza,
was elected president and sworn in on Feb. 2, 2005.
In Oct. 2012, President Armando Guebuza relieved Prime Minister Aires Ali of his duties amid a cabinet reshuffle and named Alberto Vaquina as new prime minister. Economic growth continues in Mozambique. New coal and gas resources promise to support an estimated 7% growth in 2013.
See also Encyclopedia: Mozambique.
U.S. State Dept. Country Notes:
Information Please® Database, © 2008 Pearson
Education, Inc. All rights reserved.
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