Mozambique Map

Introduction   People   History   Culture   Life   Land   Animal   Economy   Language   Politics   Government   Education   Defence   Time   Currency   Communications   Organization   Provinces   Disputes  
Mozambique    Introduction Back to Top

Mozambique, independent republic, south-eastern Africa, bordered on the north by Tanzania, on the east by the Mozambique Channel of the Indian Ocean, on the south and south-west by South Africa and Swaziland, and on the west by Zimbabwe, Zambia, and Malawi. Mozambique gained independence from Portugal in 1975. It has a total area of 801,590 sq km (309,496 sq mi). Maputo is the capital and largest city.

Official Name - Republic of Mozambique
Capital - Maputo 2,000,000 (1993)
Population - 17,877,927 (1996)
Life Expectancy - 47 years for men 49 years for women
Area - 801,590 sq km (309,496 sq mi)
Largest Cities - Beira 299,300 Nampula 202,600 (1990)
Languages - Portuguese
Religions - Roman Catholicism; Islam
Currency - Metical
Government - Multiparty republic
Mozambique    Provinces Back to Top

10 provinces (provincias, singular - provincia); Cabo Delgado, Gaza, Inhambane, Manica, Maputo, Nampula, Niassa, Sofala, Tete, Zambezia

Mozambique    People Back to Top

Mozambique had an estimated population of 19,371,057 in 2001, giving the country an average density of 24 persons per sq km (63 per sq mi). Despite a dozen years of civil war, the country doubled its population between 1970 and 1998. Many people fled to cities during the war, but the population of Mozambique remains overwhelmingly rural.

Portuguese is the official language, the vast majority of Mozambicans speak languages of the Niger-Congo group, the so-called Bantu languages, which dominate central and southern Africa. Within that group, Makua-Lomwe, Tsonga, and Shona are the most widespread languages, but the country has great linguistic and cultural variety. Language groups in the Zambezi valley are quite diverse and include Sena, Lomwe, and Chuabo. Mozambicans share many languages with their neighbours, including Swahili, Yao, and Makonde with Tanzanians; Nyanja and Chewa with Malawians; Shona with Zimbabweans; and Shangaan with people of the northeastern Transvaal in South Africa. The Swahili speakers of Mozambique's northern coast have an Islamic heritage in common with the coastal populations of eastern Africa as far north as Mogadishu, Somalia. Similarly, small groups in the far south and throughout the country share Nguni languages with South African and Zimbabwean peoples as a result of the important population movements of the early 19th century. Groups speaking European and Asian languages are largely limited to the port cities of Maputo, Beira, Quelimane, Nacala, and Pemba.

Mozambique    History Back to Top

The first written record of Mozambique dates from the 10th century ad, when Arab writer al-Mas’udi mentioned the town of Sofala (south of present-day Beira) and the iron-using people called the Wak Wak who lived there. Long before that time, perhaps as early as the 3rd century ad, Bantu-speaking peoples from central Africa migrated to the region, where they grew crops and raised cattle. Their settlements took on increasing complexity. By the 10th century, settlements featured stone enclosures, and their inhabitants played an important role in intra-African trade to the west. Over the next several centuries, traders from northeastern Africa and later from the Middle East and Asia arrived by sea, prompting ports along the Mozambican coast to flourish. Sofala, among the most prominent ports, developed as a trade center for gold from the interior.

Commercial settlements also developed to the north of Sofala at Angoche, Moçambique Island, the Querimba Islands, and the mouth of the Zambezi. The beads, cloth, and other goods brought by Arab and Asian traders attracted caravans of agrarian-based traders from inland Mozambique. They in turn distributed the goods to the African interior. A struggle for control of this trade developed, and it was soon won by the cattle-owning chiefs of the Karanga in the south and the Makua in the north. Slave trading was also common throughout this period, in both the coastal and interior regions.

Salazar’s Portugal kept tight control over all aspects of African life. Until the late 1960s blacks were routinely denied opportunities in education, employment, and government, and political dissent was met with swift imprisonment or exile. In 1962 a group of exiled Mozambicans led by Eduardo Mondlane met in Tanzania and formed the Front for the Liberation of Mozambique (Frelimo, from Frente de Libertação de Moçambique). Two years later, Frelimo launched a guerrilla war against Portuguese Mozambique. The Portuguese countered the insurrection with arms and, in an attempt to pacify the people of Mozambique, a major development program. Many roads, schools, and hospitals were built, stimulating rapid economic growth. In 1969 work began on the Cabora Bassa Dam, which was to be the showpiece of Portuguese development policies.

Mozambique    Culture Back to Top

Many of the cultural traditions of the Mozambican people survived centuries of colonialism. The Makonde in the north are renowned for their ebony sculptures and masks. The Chopi of the south central coast are famous for their complex musical arrangements and dance. Mozambique’s tradition of visual art has produced several modern artists who have achieved international renown. One of the most famous Mozambican artists is Malangatana, whose paintings portray the sufferings of the colonial period and the civil war.

Mozambique enjoys a great range of cultural and linguistic diversity. Islamic culture, Swahili language, and matrilineal Bantu-speaking groups coexist in northern and central regions, reflecting prevailing patterns in neighbouring Tanzania and Malawi. The great variety of people of the Zambezi valley overlap culturally and linguistically with neighbouring Malawi, Zambia, and Zimbabwe, and patrilineal, cattle-keeping people who share a heritage with neighbouring Nguni-speaking groups in South Africa and Zimbabwe are common in the south. Amid the variety of languages, social relationships, artistic traditions, clothing, and ornamentation patterns is a common theme of dynamic and creative cultural expression in song, oral poetry, dance, and performance.

Although material and performance arts are deeply embedded in daily religious and social expressions, some regional traditions are well known throughout the nation and beyond. The haunting paintings of Malangatana Valente Ngwenya, commonly known as Malangatana, have captured an international audience. Malangatana and the muralist Mankew Valente Muhumana have inspired the formation of artist cooperatives, particularly around Maputo. The carved wooden sculpture and masks of the Makonde people of northern Mozambique and Tanzania and the complex Chopi orchestral performances, or midogo, are among the best-known artistic traditions. Popular music includes the work of Alexandre Langa, Xidimingwana, and the Nampula group Eyuphuro. Soccer is the nation's favourite sporting activity. Mozambique's soccer team competes with other African nations and within the Portuguese-speaking Sporting League, which also includes Angola, Portugal, and Brazil.

Mozambique    Life Back to Top

During the 20th century, the coastal cities attracted large Indian, European, and mixed-race populations, creating a melting pot of customs, languages, and cuisine. Many foreigners and people with foreign connections fled the country during the civil war, but the mix of cultures slowly revived in the late 1990s. The civil war also forced a large number of refugees from the countryside into the cities. South of the Zambezi, migrant laborers returning from South Africa have brought home Western goods and ideas, while north of the Zambezi, cultural traditions are typically more conservative. Patrilineal societies, that is, those that trace their heritage and descent through the father’s line, dominate south of the Zambezi River.

Mozambique    Land Back to Top

Lowlands dominate the southern provinces, narrowing to a mere coastal plain north of the cleft that the Zambezi River cuts through the country's midsection. The Zambezi valley, the lower section of which is a part of the East African Rift Valley, is the country's most dramatic geographic feature. Throughout the country the land rises gently to the west. In the centre and north it slopes steadily into the high plains, and ultimately the mountainous regions of the northwest border Malawi and Zambia. Four of the country's five highland regions straddle the west and northwest border areas: the Chimoio Plateau on the border with Zimbabwe, the Maravia highlands bordering Zambia, and the Angónia highlands and Lichinga Plateau, which lie, respectively, west and east of Malawi's protrusion into Mozambique. Mount Binga, the country's highest elevation at 7,992 feet (2,436 metres), is part of the Chimoio highlands. The 7,936-foot peak at Mount Namúli dominates the Mozambican highland, which constitutes much of the northern interior.

Mozambique    Plants and Animal Back to Top

The vegetation of lowland Mozambique is predominantly light forest and grassland, while on the coast mangroves grow in the swamps and palms line the beaches. Tropical rain forests once stood south of the Zambezi Delta, but they have all been cut down. Forests become denser in the higher elevations, particularly along the border with Zimbabwe. Until recent times, Mozambique supported a large and varied animal population. Elephants, water buffaloes, hippopotamuses, crocodiles, baboons, giraffes, lions, cobras, adders, flamingos, herons, buzzards, and other animals thrived throughout much of the region. However, much of the country’s animal habitat has been destroyed by decades of human encroachment and by civil warfare. The reserves and game parks established by the Portuguese suffered nearly complete losses of habitat during the civil war in the 1980s. The coasts, however, were less affected and remain relatively unpolluted, and the islands offshore continue to shelter a rich variety of marine life.

Mozambique    Economy Back to Top

Under Portuguese rule Mozambique was a major exporter of sugar, copra (the meaty lining of coconuts), cotton, rice, tea, and cashews. Mozambique also exported labor in enormous quantities, as the colonial government received compensation for the hundreds of thousands of Mozambicans who traveled to work in the mines of South Africa and Southern Rhodesia (now Zimbabwe). Railroads, ports, and tourism also provided significant income and made services an important part of the country’s economy before independence.

Mozambique's predominantly rain-fed agricultural economy is based on family production and hoe technology. During the 20th century, plantation production of market crops displaced family agriculture in some of the most fertile areas. The colonial economy was characterized by private monopolies, central planning, and state marketing of key products, all designed to promote capital accumulation by the state, Portuguese settlers, and Portuguese-based commerce and industry. Colonial policy had also excluded most Mozambicans from highly skilled and managerial positions until the years immediately preceding independence. The Frelimo government tried to redirect patterns of accumulation and development by nationalizing key properties, promoting African education and training, and breaking up the Portuguese and Asian hold on commercial distribution. Despite Frelimo's public stand against racial discrimination, Portuguese settlers and Asian traders—threatened by the government's economic policies—left by the thousands. Settlers anticipating nationalization abandoned their properties, adding by default to the proportion of the national economy that the state controlled.

Before the peace accord of October 1992, Mozambique's economy was devastated by a protracted civil war and socialist mismanagement. In 1994, it ranked as one of the poorest countries in the world. Since then, Mozambique has undertaken a series of economic reforms. Almost all aspects of the economy have been liberalized to some extent. More than 900 state enterprises have been privatized. A value-added tax, introduced in 1999, launched the government's comprehensive tax reform program. Pending are much needed commercial code reform and greater private sector involvement in the transportation, telecommunications, and energy sectors. Since 1996, inflation has been low and foreign exchange rates relatively stable. Albeit from a small base, Mozambique's economy grew at an annual 10% rate in 1997-99, one of the highest growth rates in the world. Growth slowed and inflation rose in 2000 due to devastating flooding in the early part of the year. Both indicators should recover in 2001. The country depends on foreign assistance to balance the budget and to pay for a trade imbalance in which imports greatly outnumber exports. The trade situation should improve in the medium term, however, as trade and transportation links to South Africa and the rest of the region have been improved and sizeable foreign investments are beginning to materialize. Among these investments are metal production (aluminum, steel), natural gas, power generation, agriculture, fishing, timber, and transportation services. Mozambique has received a formal cancellation of a large portion of its external debt through an IMF initiative and is scheduled to receive additional relief.

Mozambique    Communications Back to Top

fair system but not available generally (telephone density is only 3.5 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: satellite earth stations - 5 Intelsat

Mozambique    Languages Back to Top

The people of Mozambique generally speak at least one of eight native languages, which in turn partially defines their ethnicity. Most of the languages are Bantu in origin. In the extreme north are the Makonde people, who are related to the population of southern Tanzania. Their neighbors are the Yao, who live along the shore of Lake Nyasa. Most of Nampula Province in north central Mozambique is inhabited by Makua speakers, who are the largest single linguistic group in the country. The Zambezi Valley has been a meeting place of many different peoples over the centuries, and its linguistic makeup reflects this history. People north of the river speak languages related to those of Malawi and Zambia, often referred to as the Maravi language group.

Mozambique    Politics Back to Top

Front for the Liberation of Mozambique (Frente de Liberatacao de Mocambique) or Frelimo [Joaquim Alberto CHISSANO, chairman]; Mozambique National Resistance - Electoral Union (Resistencia Nacional Mocambicana - Uniao Eleitoral) or Renamo-UE [Afonso DHLAKAMA, president]

Mozambique    Government Back to Top

Mozambique has a multiparty, republican government that operates under a constitution approved in 1990. The 1990 constitution, a first step toward the 1992 accord that ended the civil war, replaced the Marxist-Leninist constitution of 1978. Under the 1990 constitution, executive power is vested in a president who is both head of state and commander-in-chief. The president oversees the administration and enforcement of legislation, and has the power to call elections, dissolve the legislative body, and declare war. The president is directly elected for a term of five years, and may be reelected for two more terms. All citizens 18 years or older are eligible to vote.

Mozambique    organization Back to Top
International organization Member


Mozambique    Education Back to Top

Portuguese invested heavily in education in the last decade of their rule, for centuries before that they actively suppressed African education. As a result, 90 percent of Mozambicans were believed to be illiterate at independence in 1975. The first Mozambican government mounted a campaign for literacy and made education compulsory for children from ages 6 to 12, or for a total of 7 years. Schooling, however, was disrupted by the civil war, continuing only in the towns that escaped the fighting. By 2001 only 62 of the population was literate. In 1996 an estimated 62 percent of primary-school-aged children attended school, and only 7 percent of secondary-school-aged children were enrolled. The country’s three institutions of higher education enrolled just 7,143 students. Eduardo Mondlane University in Maputo is Mozambique’s only university.

Mozambique    Defence Back to Top

Military branches: Army, Naval Command, Air and Air Defense Forces, Militia
Military manpower - availability: males age 15-49: 4,627,052 (2001 est.)
Military manpower - fit for military service: males age 15-49: 2,670,933 (2001 est.)

Mozambique    International Disputes Back to Top


Mozambique    Time Back to Top
Live Time and Date ( Click Here )
Mozambique    Currency and General Information Back to Top
Mozambique Meticais United States Dollars
1.00 MZM 0.0000435161 USD
22,980.00 MZM 1 USD

Countries Currency Unit USD/Unit Units/USD
DZD Algeria Dinars 0.0129554 77.1877
USD United States Dollars 1.00000 1.00000
ARS Argentina Pesos 0.341293 2.93004
AUD Australia Dollars 0.533413 1.87472
ATS Austria Schillings ** 0.0632609 15.8076
BSD Bahamas Dollars 1.00000 1.00000
BBD Barbados Dollars 0.502513 1.99000
BEF Belgium Francs ** 0.0215788 46.3417
BMD Bermuda Dollars 1.00000 1.00000
BRL Brazil Reals 0.430318 2.32386
GBP United Kingdom Pounds 1.42399 0.702251
BGL Bulgaria Leva 0.447293 2.23567
CAD Canada Dollars 0.627606 1.59336
CLP Chile Pesos 0.00152392 656.202
CNY China Yuan Renminbi 0.120813 8.27726
CYP Cyprus Pounds 1.49883 0.667186
CZK Czech Republic Koruny 0.0281883 35.4758
DKK Denmark Kroner 0.117155 8.53568
XCD East Caribbean Dollars 0.370370 2.70000
EGP Egypt Pounds 0.217271 4.60255
EUR Euro 0.870489 1.14878
FJD Fiji Dollars 0.447227 2.23600
FIM Finland Markkaa ** 0.146406 6.83034
FRF France Francs ** 0.132705 7.53550
DEM Germany Deutsche Marks ** 0.445074 2.24682
XAU Gold Ounces 301.977 0.00331151
GRD Greece Drachmae ** 0.00255463 391.447
HKD Hong Kong Dollars 0.128215 7.79939
HUF Hungary Forint 0.00358416 279.006
ISK Iceland Kronur 0.00999868 100.013
INR India Rupees 0.0205205 48.7319
IDR Indonesia Rupiahs 0.000102055 9,798.61
IEP Ireland Pounds ** 1.10529 0.904738
ILS Israel New Shekels 0.212386 4.70841
ITL Italy Lire ** 0.000449570 2,224.35
JMD Jamaica Dollars 0.0210041 47.6099
JPY Japan Yen 0.00754183 132.594
JOD Jordan Dinars 1.41057 0.708931
LBP Lebanon Pounds 0.000660937 1,513.00
LUF Luxembourg Francs ** 0.0215788 46.3417
MYR Malaysia Ringgits 0.263330 3.79751
MXN Mexico Pesos 0.111007 9.00848
NZD New Zealand Dollars 0.440474 2.27028
NOK Norway Kroner 0.113022 8.84780
NLG Netherlands Guilders ** 0.395011 2.53158
PKR Pakistan Rupees 0.0166945 59.9000
PHP Philippines Pesos 0.0196386 50.9202
XPT Platinum Ounces 510.962 0.00195709
PLN Poland Zlotych 0.243488 4.10699
PTE Portugal Escudos ** 0.00434198 230.310
ROL Romania Lei 0.0000303433 32,956.21
RUR Russia Rubles 0.0321342 31.1195
SAR Saudi Arabia Riyals 0.266668 3.74998
XAG Silver Ounces 4.65692 0.214734
SGD Singapore Dollars 0.542540 1.84318
SKK Slovakia Koruny 0.0208441 47.9751
ZAR South Africa Rand 0.0883340 11.3207
KRW South Korea Won 0.000759354 1,316.91
ESP Spain Pesetas ** 0.00523174 191.141
XDR IMF Special Drawing Rights 1.24862 0.800882
SDD Sudan Dinars 0.00384615 260.000
SEK Sweden Kronor 0.0964189 10.3714
CHF Switzerland Francs 0.593789 1.68410
TWD Taiwan New Dollars 0.0286531 34.9002
THB Thailand Baht 0.0230087 43.4619
TTD Trinidad and Tobago Dollars 0.163399 6.12000
TRL Turkey Liras 0.000000763622 1,309,549.07
VEB Venezuela Bolivares 0.00108696 920.000
ZMK Zambia Kwacha 0.000239866 4,169.00

Mozambique : Geographic coordinates 18 15 S, 35 00 E
Mozambique : Population growth rate 1.3%
Mozambique : Birth rate 37.2 births/1,000 population
Mozambique : Death rate 24.21 deaths/1,000 population
Mozambique : People living with HIV/AIDS 1.2 million
Mozambique : Independence 25 June 1975
Mozambique : National holiday Independence Day, 25 June
Mozambique : Constitution 30 November 1990
Mozambique : GDP purchasing power parity - $19.1 billion
Mozambique : GDP - per capita purchasing power parity - $1,000
Mozambique : Electricity - consumption 307 million kWh
Mozambique : Exports $390 million prawns, cashews, cotton, sugar, citrus, timber; bulk electricity
Mozambique : Imports $1.4 billion machinery and equipment, mineral products, chemicals, metals, foodstuffs, textiles
Mozambique : Telephones 65,354
Mozambique : Mobile cellular 18,500
Mozambique : Radio broadcast stations AM 13, FM 16, shortwave 12
Mozambique : Radios 730,000
Mozambique : Television broadcast stations 1
Mozambique : Televisions 67,600
Mozambique : Internet country code .mz
Mozambique : Internet Service Providers (ISPs) 8
Mozambique : Internet users 6,250
Mozambique : Railways 3,131 km
Mozambique : Highways 30,400 km
Mozambique : Waterways 3,750 km
Mozambique : Pipelines crude oil 306 km; petroleum products 289 km
Mozambique : Ports and harbors Beira, Inhambane, Maputo, Nacala, Pemba, Quelimane
Mozambique : Merchant marine 3 ships
Mozambique : Airports 168
Mozambique : Heliports N/A
Mozambique : Military branches Army, Naval Command, Air and Air Defense Forces, Militia
Mozambique : Military expenditures $35.1 million