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Info Africa - MOZAMBIQUE

Mozambique is in south-eastern Africa, bordering the Mozambique Channel. Its neighbouring countries include South Africa, Swaziland, Tanzania, Malawi, Zambia and Zimbabwe. It finally gained independence in 1975 from Portugal, who had control of Mozambique for nearly five centuries. Mozambique used to be a centre for the slave trade in the 18th century. Politically, Mozambique continues to practice its strong economic policies that encourage foreign investment. This country is home to beaches and some beautiful islands. The Zambezi River is the largest in Mozambique. Many people live along the coast and river valleys, where the land is most fertile. The capital city, Maputo, has museums and galleries, such

as the gallery in the Ministry of Labor building. The Ilha de Moçambique (Mozambique Island) has a number of 17th and 18th century buildings from the Portuguese colonial time. Sandy beaches and water games are mostly enjoyed on the Bazaruto Archipelago, which has four exotic islands. This country is known for its rich artistic tradition. The Makonde people of the north produce some of Africa’s most sophisticated art. Mozambique also has a strong oral and music tradition. The older generations preserve everything from the country’s past to its moral and cultural roots. These stories are passed from generation to generation. This practice shows the strong oral culture that is embedded in the Mozambican society.
CATEGORIES: Demographics - Quick Facts - Economy - Communications - Health Issues
Country Flag: Mozambique's Flag

Three equal horizontal bands of green (top), black, and yellow with a red isosceles triangle based on the hoist side; the black band is edged in white; centered in the triangle is a yellow five-pointed star bearing a crossed rifle and hoe in black superimposed on an open white book

Nationality: Mozambican

Capital: Maputo

Population: 19,686,505 (July 2006 est.)

Age structure:

  • 0-14 years: 42.7%
  • 15-64 years: 54.5%
  • 65 years and over: 2.8% (2006 est.)  

Population growth rate: 1.38% (2006 est.)

Literacy rate:

  • ages 15 and above can read and write.
  • 47.8% of the population is literate (male: 63.5%, female: 32.7%) (2003 est.)

Major religions: Catholic 23.8%, Muslim 17.8%, Zionist Christian 17.5%, other 17.8%, none 23.1% (1997 census)

Languages: Emakhuwa 26.1%, Xichangana 11.3%, Portuguese 8.8% (official; spoken by 27% of population as a second language), Elomwe 7.6%, Cisena 6.8%, Echuwabo 5.8%, other Mozambican languages 32%, other foreign languages 0.3%, unspecified 1.3% (1997 census)

Quick Facts
  • total: 801,590 sq km
  • land: 784,090 sq km
  • water: 17,500 sq km

Area comparative to Canadian province:
slightly bigger than Alberta

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

Environmental 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


When Mozambique obtained independence in 197, it was one of the word’s poorest countries. The civil war that lasted from 1977-92 contributed to the destabilization of the country’s economy. Since 1987, however, Mozambique introduced various macroeconomic reforms and received donor assistance, which helped improve the country’s economic growth rate. Political stability also contributed to this. Mozambique has introduced value-added tax and has improved the customs service; both continue to improve the government’s collection abilities. Unfortunately, the majority of the population, engaged in subsistence agriculture, lives below the poverty line. Mozambique is also still dependent upon foreign aid. The country’s largest foreign investment project, the Mozal aluminium smelter, has increased export revenues. The government now owns Portugal’s majority share of the Cahora Bassa Hydroelectricity (HCB) Company. Mozambique’s foreign debt has been reduced as a result of the IMF’s Heavily Indebted Poor Countries (HIPC) and Enhanced HIPC programs. The debt is now at a manageable stage.

Major industries:

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

Agricultural products:

  • cotton
  • cashew nuts
  • sugarcane
  • tea
  • cassava (tapioca)
  • corn
  • coconuts
  • sisal
  • citrus and tropical fruits
  • potatoes
  • sunflowers
  • beef,
  • poultry

Oil production: 0 bbl/day (2003)

Railways: 3,123 km

Road map: 30,400 km (paved: 5,685 km, unpaved: 24,715 km)

Currency: Metical


Telephone lines in use: 77,600 (2003)

Cellular lines in use: 708,000 (2004)

Television Stations: 1(2001)

Radio Stations: AM 13, FM 17, shortwave 11 (2001)

Internet users: 138,000 (2005)

Health Issues

HIV/AIDS adult prevalence rate: 12.2% (2003 est.)

People living with HIV/AIDS: 1.3 million (2003 est.)

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