Country profile: Mozambique
Since independence from Portugal in 1975, Mozambique has been battered by civil war, economic mismanagement and famine.
A peace deal in 1992 ended 16 years of civil war, and the country has
made much progress in economic development and political stability.
Portugal began to colonise the area that became Mozambique in the
early 16th century. An anti-authoritarian coup in 1974 in Portugal
ended colonial rule and its ten-year war with the Frelimo independence
Politics: Ruling Frelimo party's Armando Guebuza won presidential elections in 2004 and again in 2009
Economy: Critics complain that Mozambique is
pursuing capital-intensive, showpiece mega-projects that generate
little social benefit; natural disasters have slowed post-civil war
International: Mozambican UN peacekeepers have served in Burundi
Mozambican support for armed groups fighting the white-minority rule
governments in Rhodesia and South Africa led to those two countries
sponsoring the Renamo movement, which fought Frelimo in the 1977-1992
This conflict, combined with Rhodesian and South
African intervention and central economic planning by the Marxist
leadership of Frelimo left the country in chaos. About a million people
died in the civil war and millions more fled abroad or to other parts
of the country.
An attempt to secure a ceasefire with South
Africa in the Nkomati Accord of 1984 broke down, and the government and
Renamo eventually began talks brokered first by Christian groups and
then by the United Nations. Frelimo inaugurated a new constitution in
1990 that enshrined free elections, and both sides signed the resulting
Rome Peace Accords of 1992.
Frelimo has won all subsequent
elections, some of which have been disputed by Renamo and smaller
opposition groups. Political life has nonetheless remained stable, with
Renamo continuing to work within the constitutional system.
investors are showing interest in Mozambique's untapped oil and gas
reserves, and titanium mining is a growing source of revenue. Most of
the population works the land, however, and infrastructure nationwide
still suffers from colonial neglect, war and under-investment.
economy suffered serious setbacks when in 2000 and 2001 Mozambique was
hit by floods which affected about a quarter of the population and
destroyed much of its infrastructure.
Furthermore, in 2002 a
severe drought hit many central and southern parts of the country,
including previously flood-stricken areas. Poverty remains widespread,
with more than 50% of Mozambicans living on less than $1 a day.
- Full name: The Republic of Mozambique
- Population: 22.9 million (via UN, 2009)
- Capital: Maputo
- Area: 812,379 sq km (313,661 sq miles)
- Major languages: Portuguese (official), Makua-Lomwe, Swahili, other indigenous languages
- Major religions: Christianity, indigenous beliefs, Islam
- Life expectancy: 47 years (men), 49 years (women) (UN)
- 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
President: Armando Guebuza
Armando Guebuza, from the ruling Frelimo party, succeeded Mozambique's long-time leader Joaquim Chissano in February 2005.
Armando Guebuza has encouraged greater foreign investment
He won another term in office in the October 2009 elections.
in power since it led the country to independence from Portugal in
1975, won 191 parliamentary seats out of 250 - enough to change the
constitution at will.
Mr Guebuza, seen as welcoming of greater
foreign investment, beat his rivals, long-time leader of the opposition
party Renamo, Afonso Dhlakama, and the head of a new party, Daviz
Simango, capturing 75.46 % of the presidential vote.
Guebuza, a millionaire businessman, is under pressure to provide poor
Mozambicans with the benefits of tourism and untapped mineral and
energy resources that have started to draw foreign investors,
particularly from neighbouring South Africa.
And Guebuza, who
made his fortune in the energy, transport and port industries, faces
the new challenge of accommodating a new generation that was not born
in the liberation struggle nor the 16-year civil war against Renamo.
was a member of Frelimo's armed wing and played a leading role in
Mozambique's struggle for independence. As a former interior minister
in 1975 he ordered the expulsion of Portuguese citizens from the
His predecessor, Joaquim Chissano, became president in
1986 after the death of founding president, Samora Machel. Mr Chissano
oversaw a move away from Marxism and the introduction of a multi-party
Television is the most popular medium in towns and cities, with
state-run TVM, the only national network, and private STV topping the
ratings. Portuguese state TV's African service, RTP Africa, and
Brazilian-owned TV Miramar are widely-watched.
Nacional radio is a key source of news for many Mozambicans. Private FM
stations operate in most towns. BBC World Service broadcasts to Maputo
(95.5 FM), Beira (88.5 FM), Xai Xai (100.9 FM), Nampula (88.3 FM) and
Quelimane (95.3 FM).
Dozens of community radio and TV stations
are funded by the government and Unesco. Print titles have little
influence in the countryside because of high levels of illiteracy.
constitution protects media freedom, but criminal libel laws deter
total freedom of expression. The opposition says it receives inadequate
coverage in the state media.
By early 2008, 200,000 Mozambicans were online (ITU figure).
- 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
- 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