Nation at a Glance - Mozambique

History

Almost five centuries as a Portuguese colony came to a close with independence in 1975. Large-scale emigration, economic dependence on South Africa, a severe drought, and a prolonged civil war hindered the country's development until the mid-1990s. The ruling Front for the Liberation of Mozambique (FRELIMO) 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 between FRELIMO and rebel Mozambique National Resistance (RENAMO) forces ended the fighting in 1992. In December 2004, Mozambique underwent a delicate transition as Joaquim CHISSANO stepped down after 18 years in office. His elected successor, Armando GUEBUZA, served two terms and then passed executive power to Filipe NYUSI in October 2014. RENAMO’s residual armed forces engaged in a low-level insurgency from 2012 to 2014.

Location: Southeastern Africa, bordering the Mozambique Channel, between South Africa and Tanzania

Border Countries: Malawi 1,498 km, South Africa 496 km, Swaziland 108 km, Tanzania 840 km, Zambia 439 km, Zimbabwe 1,402 km

Total Area: 799,380 sq km Land: 786,380 sq km Water: 13,000 sq km

Climate: Tropical to subtropical

Terrain: Mostly coastal lowlands, uplands in center, high plateaus in northwest, mountains in west

Natural resources: Coal, titanium, natural gas, hydropower, tantalum, graphite

Land use: Agricultural land: 56.3% arable land 6.4%; permanent crops 0.3%; permanent pasture 49.6%Forest: 43.7% Other: 0% (2011 est.)

Ethnic groups: African 99.66% (Makhuwa, Tsonga, Lomwe, Sena, and others), Europeans 0.06%, Euro-Africans 0.2%, Indians 0.08%

Languages: 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)

Religions: Roman Catholic 28.4%, Muslim 17.9%, Zionist Christian 15.5%, Protestant 12.2% (includes Pentecostal 10.9% and Anglican 1.3%), Other 6.7%, None 18.7%, Unspecified 0.7% (2007 est.)

Population: 25,930,150

Literacy: 58.8%; Male: 73.3%; Female: 45.4% (2015 est.)

Administrative divisions: 10 provinces (provincias, singular - provincia), 1 city (cidade)*; Cabo Delgado, Gaza, Inhambane, Manica, Maputo, Cidade de Maputo*, Nampula, Niassa, Sofala, Tete, Zambezia

Economy: At independence in 1975, Mozambique was one of the world's poorest countries. Socialist policies, economic mismanagement, and a brutal civil war from 1977 to 1992 further impoverished the country. 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, propelled the country’s GDP, in purchasing power parity terms, from $4 billion in 1993 to about $37 billion in 2017. 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, about half the population remains below the poverty line and subsistence agriculture continues to employ the vast majority of the country's work force. Mozambique's once substantial foreign debt was reduced through forgiveness and rescheduling under the IMF's Heavily Indebted Poor Countries (HIPC) and Enhanced HIPC initiatives. However, in 2016, information surfaced revealing that the Mozambican Government was responsible for over $2 billion in government-backed loans secured between 2012-14 by state-owned defense and security companies without parliamentary approval or national budget inclusion; this prompted the IMF and international donors to halt direct budget support to the Government of Mozambique. An international audit was performed on Mozambique’s debt in 2016-17, but debt restructuring and resumption of donor support have yet to occur. Mozambique grew at an average annual rate of 6%-8% in the decade leading up to 2015, one of Africa's strongest performances, but the sizable external debt burden, donor withdrawal, elevated inflation, and currency depreciation contributed to slower growth in 2016-17. Two major International consortiums, led by American companies ExxonMobil and Anadarko, are seeking approval to develop massive natural gas deposits off the coast of Cabo Delgado province, in what has the potential to become the largest infrastructure project in Africa. . The government predicts sales of liquefied natural gas from these projects could generate several billion dollars in revenues annually sometime after 2022.

Agriculture - products: Cotton, cashew nuts, sugarcane, tea, cassava (manioc, tapioca), corn, coconuts, sisal, citrus and tropical fruits, potatoes, sunflowers; beef, poultry

Industries: Aluminum, petroleum products, chemicals (fertilizer, soap, paints), textiles, cement, glass, asbestos, tobacco, food, beverages

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