Nationality: Noun and adjective--Mozambican(s).
Population (2009 est.): 20.4 million; 48.2% male and 51.8% female.
Population annual growth rate (2009): 1.7%.
Ethnic groups: Makhuwa, Tsonga, Makonde, Shangaan, Shona, Sena, Ndau, and other indigenous groups, and approximately 10,000 Europeans, 35,000 Euro-Africans, and 15,000 South Asians.
Religions: Christian 40%, Muslim 20%, indigenous African and other beliefs 40% (1997 census--recent estimates give a higher Muslim percentage).
Languages: Portuguese (official), various indigenous languages.
Education: Mean years of schooling (adults over 25): men 2.1, women 1.2. Primary net enrollment rate (2005)--78%. Adult illiteracy rate (2008)--52.2%.
Health: Infant mortality rate (2007)--111/1,000. Life expectancy (2007)--40.4 years.
Work force (9.4 million est. 2006): Agriculture--81%; industry--6%; services--13% (1997 estimate).
Mozambique's major ethnic groups encompass numerous subgroups with diverse languages, dialects, cultures, and histories. Many are linked to similar ethnic groups living in neighboring countries. The north-central provinces of Zambezia and Nampula are the most populous, with about 45% of the population. The estimated 4 million Makhuwa are the dominant group in the northern part of the country. The Sena and Ndau are prominent in the Zambezi valley, and the Tsonga and Shangaan dominate in southern Mozambique.
Despite the influence of Islamic coastal traders and European colonizers, the people of Mozambique have largely retained an indigenous culture based on small-scale agriculture. Mozambique's most highly developed art forms are wood sculpture, for which the Makonde in northern Mozambique are particularly renowned, and dance. The middle and upper classes continue to be heavily influenced by the Portuguese colonial and linguistic heritage.
During the colonial era, Christian missionaries were active in Mozambique, and many foreign clergy remain in the country. According to the national census, about 40% of the population is Christian, at least 20% is Muslim, and the remainder adheres to traditional beliefs.
Under the colonial regime, educational opportunities for black Mozambicans were limited, and 93% of that population was illiterate. In fact, most of today's political leaders were educated in missionary schools. After independence, the government placed a high priority on expanding education, which reduced the illiteracy rate to about two-thirds of the population, as primary school enrollment increased. Unfortunately, in recent years school construction and teacher training enrollments have not kept up with population growth. With post-war enrollments reaching all-time highs, the quality of education has suffered.
GDP (2007): $9.788 billion.
Annual economic (GDP) growth rate (2008): 6.5%.
Per capita gross domestic product (2008): $956.
Natural resources: Hydroelectric power, coal, natural gas, titanium ore, tantalite, graphite, iron ore, semi-precious stones, and arable land.
Agriculture (21% of GDP; annual growth 7.9%): Exports--cotton, cashew nuts, sugarcane, tea, cassava (tapioca), corn, coconuts, sisal, citrus and tropical fruits, potatoes, sunflowers, beef and poultry. Domestically consumed food crops--corn, pigeon peas, cassava, rice, beef, pork, chicken, and goat.
Industry (31% of GDP; annual growth 10%): Types--food, beverages, chemicals (fertilizer, soap, paints), aluminum, petroleum products, textiles, cement, glass, asbestos, and tobacco.
Services (39.7% of GDP; annual growth 4.7%).
Trade: Imports (2008)--$3.29 billion. Import commodities--machinery and equipment, vehicles, fuel, chemicals, metal products, foodstuffs and textiles. Main suppliers--South Africa, Netherlands, Portugal. Exports (2008)--$2.7 billion. Export commodities--aluminum, cashews, prawns, cotton, sugar, citrus, timber, bulk electricity, natural gas. Main markets--Belgium, South Africa, Zimbabwe.
Monetary unit: 1 metical (plural meticais) = 100 centavos Main exports: Seafood, cotton GNI per capita: US $370 (World Bank, 2008) Internet domain: .mz International dialling code: +258
Alleviating poverty. At the end of the civil war in 1992, Mozambique ranked among the poorest countries in the world. It still ranks among the least developed nations with very low socioeconomic indicators. In the last decade, however, Mozambique has experienced a notable economic recovery. Per capita GDP in 2008 was estimated at U.S. $956, a significant increase over the mid-1980s level of U.S. $120. With high foreign debt and a good track record on economic reform, Mozambique was the first African nation and sixth country worldwide to qualify for debt relief under the World Bank and International Monetary Fund (IMF) initial HIPC (Heavily Indebted Poor Countries) Initiative. In April 2000, Mozambique qualified for the Enhanced HIPC program and reached its completion point in September 2001. This led to the Paris Club members agreeing in November 2001 to substantially reduce the remaining bilateral debt, resulting in the complete forgiveness of a considerable volume of bilateral debt. The United States already finished the process and has forgiven Mozambique's debt.
During their summit in Scotland in July 2005, the G8 nations agreed to significant multilateral debt relief for the world's least developed nations. On December 21, 2005, the IMF formalized the complete cancellation of all Mozambican IMF debt contracted prior to January 1, 2005, worth U.S. $153 million.
Rebounding growth. The resettlement of civil war refugees, political stability, and continuing economic reforms have led to a high economic growth rate. Between 1994 and 2006, average annual GDP growth was approximately 8%. Mozambique achieved this growth rate even though the devastating floods of 2000 slowed GDP growth to 2.1%. As of 2008, the average growth rate was at 6.5%. Future strong expansion requires continued economic reforms, major foreign direct investment, and the resurrection of the agriculture, transportation, and tourism sectors. Focusing on economic growth in the agricultural sector is a major challenge for the government. Although more than 80% of the population engages in small-scale agriculture, the sector suffers from inadequate infrastructure, commercial networks, and investment. However, a majority of Mozambique's arable land is still uncultivated, leaving room for considerable growth.
Low inflation. The government's tight control of spending and the money supply, combined with financial sector reform, successfully reduced inflation from 70% in 1994 to less than 5% in 1998-1999. Economic disruptions resulting from the devastating floods of 2000 caused inflation to jump to 12.7% that year. The government is still working to bring inflation down to those lower numbers. In 2004 inflation was 9.1%; in 2005 it climbed to 11.2%; in 2006 it dropped back down to 9.4%. As of May 2009, the floating exchange rate was approximately 26.7 meticais per dollar. (Note: In July 2006 the government revised its currency, dropping three zeros. Thus a coin formerly worth 1,000 meticais was from then on worth only one metical. And thus, where a dollar previously had been worth, for example, 26,000 meticais, it was from July onward worth 26.)
Extensive economic reform. Economic reform has been extensive. More than 1,200 state-owned enterprises (mostly small) have been privatized. Preparations for privatization and/or sector liberalization are underway for the remaining parastatals, including telecommunications, electricity, ports, and the railroads. The government frequently selects a strategic foreign investor when privatizing 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.
Improving trade imbalance. In 2008, Mozambique exported U.S. $2.7 billion worth of goods and imported U.S. $3.2 billion worth of goods. Support programs provided by foreign donors and private financing of foreign direct investment mega-projects and their associated raw materials have largely compensated for balance-of-payment shortfalls. The medium-term outlook for exports is encouraging, as a number of recent foreign investment projects have improved the trade balance. This export growth is expected to continue. MOZAL I, a large aluminum smelter that commenced production in mid-2000, greatly expanded Mozambique's trade volume. In April 2001, the International Finance Corporation (IFC) approved financing assistance for MOZAL II, which doubled overall production capacity. Phase two went online in April 2003, five months ahead of schedule, using primarily Mozambican workers during construction. Traditional Mozambican exports include cashews, shrimp, fish, copra, sugar, cotton, tea, and citrus and exotic fruits. Most of these industries are being rehabilitated. In addition, Mozambique is less dependent upon imports for basic food and manufactured goods as the result of steady increases in local production.
SADC trade protocol. In December 1999, the Mozambican Council of Ministers approved the Southern African Development Community (SADC) Trade Protocol. The Protocol will create a free trade zone among more than 200 million consumers in the SADC region. Implementation of the Protocol began in 2002 and had an overall zero-tariff target set for 2008; however, Mozambique's country-specific zero-tariff goal is currently 2015. Mozambique joined the World Trade Organization (WTO) on August 26, 1995.
Mozambique's first inhabitants were San hunter and gatherers, ancestors of the Khoisani peoples. Between the first and fourth centuries AD, waves of Bantu-speaking peoples migrated from the north through the Zambezi River valley and then gradually into the plateau and coastal areas. The Bantu were farmers and ironworkers.
When Portuguese explorers reached Mozambique in 1498, Arab trading settlements had existed along the coast and outlying islands for several centuries. From about 1500, Portuguese trading posts and forts became regular ports of call on the new route to the East. Later, traders and prospectors penetrated the interior regions, seeking gold and slaves. Although Portuguese influence gradually expanded, its power was limited and exercised through individual settlers who were granted extensive autonomy. As a result, investment lagged while Lisbon devoted itself to the more lucrative trade with India and the Far East and to the colonization of Brazil.
By the early 20th century the Portuguese had shifted the administration of much of the country to large private companies, controlled and financed mostly by the British, which established railroad lines to neighboring countries and supplied cheap--often forced--African labor to the mines and plantations of the nearby British colonies and South Africa. Because policies were designed to benefit white settlers and the Portuguese homeland, little attention was paid to Mozambique's national integration, its economic infrastructure, or the skills of its population.
After World War II, while many European nations were granting independence to their colonies, Portugal clung to the concept that Mozambique and other Portuguese possessions were overseas provinces of the mother country, and emigration to the colonies soared. Mozambique's Portuguese population at the time of independence was about 250,000. The drive for Mozambican independence developed apace, and in 1962 several anti-colonial political groups formed the Front for the Liberation of Mozambique (FRELIMO), which initiated an armed campaign against Portuguese colonial rule in September 1964. After 10 years of sporadic warfare and major political changes in Portugal, Mozambique became independent on June 25, 1975.
The last 30 years of Mozambique's history have reflected political developments elsewhere in the 20th century. Following the April 1974 coup in Lisbon, Portuguese colonialism collapsed. In Mozambique, the military decision to withdraw occurred within the context of a decade of armed anti-colonial struggle, initially led by American-educated Eduardo Mondlane, who was assassinated in 1969. When independence was achieved in 1975, the leaders of FRELIMO's military campaign rapidly established a one-party state allied to the Soviet bloc and outlawed rival political activity. FRELIMO eliminated political pluralism, religious educational institutions, and the role of traditional authorities.
The new government gave shelter and support to South African (ANC) and Zimbabwean (ZANU) liberation movements while the governments of first Rhodesia and later apartheid South Africa fostered and financed an armed rebel movement in central Mozambique called the Mozambican National Resistance (RENAMO). Civil war, sabotage from neighboring states, and economic collapse characterized the first decade of Mozambican independence. Also marking this period were the mass exodus of Portuguese nationals, weak infrastructure, nationalization, and economic mismanagement. During most of the civil war, the government was unable to exercise effective control outside of urban areas, many of which were cut off from the capital. An estimated 1 million Mozambicans perished during the civil war, 1.7 million took refuge in neighboring states, and several million more were internally displaced. In the third FRELIMO party congress in 1983, President Samora Machel conceded the failure of socialism and the need for major political and economic reforms. He died, along with several advisers, in a suspicious 1986 plane crash.
His successor, Joaquim Chissano, continued the reforms and began peace talks with RENAMO. The new constitution enacted in 1990 provided for a multi-party political system, market-based economy, and free elections. The civil war ended in October 1992 with the Rome General Peace Accords. Under supervision of the ONUMOZ peacekeeping force of the United Nations, peace returned to Mozambique.
By mid-1995 the more than 1.7 million Mozambican refugees who had sought asylum in neighboring Malawi, Zimbabwe, Swaziland, Zambia, Tanzania, and South Africa as a result of war and drought had returned, as part of the largest repatriation witnessed in Sub-Saharan Africa. Additionally, a further estimated 4 million internally displaced people returned to their areas of origin.
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Noticias - main daily, has government shareholding
Diario de Mocambique - private, daily
Demos - private, weekly
Zambeze - private, weekly
Domingo - private, weekly
Savana - private, weekly
Fim de Semana - private, weekly
Folha Universal - private, weekly
Televisao de Mozambique (TVM) - state-run
Soico TV (STV) - private
TV Miramar - private
Radio Mozambique - state-run, operates national
Antena Nacional network and provincial and local channels in Portuguese, English and many indigenous languages
Radio Cidade - state-run, youth-oriented FM network
Radio Miramar - private Nove FM - private
Radio-Televisao Klint (RTK) - private
Radio Maria Mozambique - Roman Catholic
Agencia Informacao Mocambique (AIM) - English-language pages