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Almost five centuries as a Portuguese colony, Mozambique 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 Emilio GUEBUZA, promised to continue the sound economic policies that have encouraged foreign investment. President GUEBUZA was reelected to a second term in October 2009. However, the elections were flawed by voter fraud, questionable disqualification of candidates, and Frelimo use of government resources during the campaign. As a result, Freedom House removed Mozambique from its list of electoral democracies.

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, propelled the country’s GDP from $4 billion in 1993, following the war, to about $30.9 billion in 2014.

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, more than half the population remains below the poverty line. Subsistence agriculture continues to employ the vast majority of the country’s work force. A substantial trade imbalance persists although aluminum production from the Mozal smelter has significantly boosted export earnings in recent years. In 2012, The Mozambican government took over Portugal’s last remaining share in the Cahora Bassa Hydroelectricity Company (HCB), a significant contributor to the Southern African Power Pool.

The government has plans to expand the Cahora Bassa Dam and build additional dams to increase its electricity exports and fulfill the needs of its burgeoning domestic industries. 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. In July 2007, the US government’s Millennium Challenge Corporation (MCC) signed a $506.9 million Compact with Mozambique that ended in 2013. The Compact focused on improving sanitation, roads, agriculture, and the business regulation environment in an effort to spur economic growth in the four northern provinces of the country. Citizens rioted in September 2010 after fuel, water, electricity, and bread price increases were announced. In an attempt to lessen the negative impact on the population, the government implemented subsidies, decreased taxes and tariffs, and instituted other fiscal measures.

Mozambique grew at an average annual rate of 6%-8% in the decade up to 2014, one of Africa’s strongest performances. Mozambique’s ability to attract large investment projects in natural resources is expected to extend high growth rates in coming years. Revenues from these vast resources, including natural gas, coal, titanium and hydroelectric capacity, could overtake donor assistance within five years.

Mozambique GDP (purchasing power parity):
$29.76 billion (2014 est.)
$27.47 billion (2013 est.)
$25.63 billion (2012 est.)
note: data are in 2014 US dollars
country comparison to the world: 127

Mozambique GDP (official exchange rate):
$16.59 billion (2014 est.)

Mozambique GDP – real growth rate:
8.3% (2014 est.)
7.1% (2013 est.)
7.2% (2012 est.)
* country comparison to the world: 10

Mozambique GDP – per capita (PPP):
$1,100 (2014 est.)
$1,100 (2013 est.)
$1,000 (2012 est.)
note: data are in 2013 US dollars
country comparison to the world: 222

Mozambique Gross national saving:
1.7% of GDP (2014 est.)
10.6% of GDP (2013 est.)
8.2% of GDP (2012 est.)
country comparison to the world: 170

Mozambique GDP – composition, by end use:
household consumption: 74.2%
government consumption: 17.9%
investment in fixed capital: 50.3%
investment in inventories: 0%
exports of goods and services: 31.8%
imports of goods and services: -74.3%
(2014 est.)

Mozambique GDP – composition, by sector of origin:
agriculture: 28.9%
industry: 24%
services: 47.1%
(2014 est.)

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

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

Mozambique Industrial production growth rate:
9% (2014 est.)
* country comparison to the world: 17

Mozambique Labor force:
12.25 million (2014 est.)
* country comparison to the world: 44

Mozambique Labor force – by occupation:
agriculture: 81%
industry: 6%
services: 13%
(1997 est.)

Mozambique Unemployment rate:
17% (2007 est.)
21% (1997 est.)
* country comparison to the world: 154

Mozambique Population below poverty line:
52% (2009 est.)

Household income or consumption by percentage share:
lowest 10%: 1.9%
highest 10%: 36.7%

Mozambique Distribution of family income – Gini index:
45.6 (2008)
47.3 (2002)
country comparison to the world: 36

Mozambique Budget:
revenues: $5.324 billion
expenditures: $6.967 billion
(2014 est.)

Mozambique Taxes and other revenues:
32.1% of GDP (2014 est.)
country comparison to the world: 80

Mozambique Budget surplus (+) or deficit (-):
-9.9% of GDP (2014 est.)
country comparison to the world: 202

Mozambique Public debt:
47.2% of GDP (2014 est.)
41.1% of GDP (2013 est.)
country comparison to the world: 77

Mozambique Fiscal year:
calendar year

Inflation rate (consumer prices):
3% (2014 est.)
4.2% (2013 est.)

Central bank discount rate:
9.5% (17 January 2013)
3.25% (31 December 2010)
* country comparison to the world: 24

Commercial bank prime lending rate:
15.3% (31 December 2014 est.)
15.33% (31 December 2013 est.)
* country comparison to the world: 36

Stock of narrow money:
$5.267 billion (31 December 2014 est.)
$4.851 billion (31 December 2013 est.)
country comparison to the world: 97

Stock of broad money:
$7.777 billion (31 December 2014 est.)
$7.19 billion (31 December 2013 est.)
* country comparison to the world: 114

Stock of domestic credit:
$4.982 billion (31 December 2014 est.)
$4.573 billion (31 December 2013 est.)
country comparison to the world: 123

Market value of publicly traded shares:

Current account balance:
-$6.322 billion (2014 est.)
-$5.892 billion (2013 est.)
country comparison to the world: 174

$4.345 billion (2014 est.)
$4.123 billion (2013 est.)
* country comparison to the world: 118

Exports – partners:
aluminum, prawns, cashews, cotton, sugar, citrus, timber; bulk electricity

Exports – commodities:
South Africa 30.5%, Italy 9.8%, China 9.4%, Belgium 8%, Spain 6.1%, India 5.1% (2013)

$8.954 billion (2014 est.)
$8.48 billion (2013 est.)
country comparison to the world: 109

Imports – commodities:
machinery and equipment, vehicles, fuel, chemicals, metal products, foodstuffs, textiles

Imports – partners:
South Africa 26%, India 13.9%, China 12.6%, Portugal 4.5%, Australia 4.3% (2013)

Reserves of foreign exchange and gold:
$3.334 billion (31 December 2014 est.)
$3.142 billion (31 December 2013 est.)
country comparison to the world: 107

Debt – external:
$7.521 billion (31 December 2014 est.)
$6.416 billion (31 December 2013 est.)
country comparison to the world: 112

Exchange rates:
meticais (MZM) per US dollar –
31.2 (2014 est.)
30.125 (2013 est.)
28.38 (2012 est.)
29.075 (2011 est.)
33.96 (2010 est.)

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

Geographic coordinates:
18 15 S, 35 00 E

Map references:

total: 799,380 sq km
land: 786,380 sq km
water: 13,000 sq km
* country comparison to the world: 35

Area – comparative:
slightly less than twice the size of California

Land boundaries:
total: 4,783 km
border countries (6): Malawi 1,498 km, South Africa 496 km, Swaziland 108 km, Tanzania 840 km, Zambia 439 km, Zimbabwe 1,402 km

2,470 km

Maritime claims:
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:
agricultural land: 56.3%
arable land 6.4%; permanent crops 0.3%; permanent pasture 49.6%
forest: 43.7%
other: 0% (2011 est.)

Irrigated land:
1,181 sq km (2003)

Total renewable water resources:
217.1 cu km (2011)

Freshwater withdrawal (domestic/industrial/agricultural):
total: 0.88 cu km/yr (26%/4%/70%)
per capita: 46.05 cu m/yr (2005)

Natural hazards:
severe droughts; devastating cyclones and floods 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, Climate Change-Kyoto Protocol, Desertification, Endangered Species, Hazardous Wastes, Law of the Sea, Ozone Layer Protection, Ship Pollution, Wetlands
signed, but not ratified: none of the selected agreements

Geography – note:
the Zambezi River flows through the north-central and most fertile part of the country

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