Know your Sadc member countries: Mozambique

16 Jun, 2024 - 00:06 0 Views
Know your Sadc member countries: Mozambique President Filipe Nyusi

MOZAMBIQUE is a founding member of the Southern African Development Coordination Conference (Sadcc) which was formed in Lusaka, Zambia, in 1980, and later transformed into the Southern African Development Community (Sadc) in 1992.


The country’s President is Filipe Nyusi of Frelimo, the party that liberated Mozambique from Portuguese rule following a guerilla war against the colonialists. Mozambique became independent on 25 June, 1975 and the first multi-party elections were held in 1994.

Capital: Maputo

Total Area- 801,590 sq km

Currency: Metical

Population:  34 803 523 as of Friday, 14 June, 2024, based on Worldometer elaboration of the latest United Nations data 1

Geographical location

The country lies on the east coast of Southern Africa and borders the United Republic of Tanzania, Zambia, Malawi, Zimbabwe, South Africa and Swaziland.


The official and business language is Portuguese. English is widely spoken in business and academic circles, especially in Maputo, the capital. Local languages include Emakua, Shangane, Bitanga, Xitswa, Chope, Ronga, Elomwe, Chuabo, Sena, Shona, Ndau, Nyandja, Kimwani and Chimakonde.

Geographically, Mozambique covers an area of over 800 000 square kilometres, three times the size of Great Britain. Situated to the south east of the African continent, it shares borders with six other countries, Tanzania, Malawi and Zambia to the north, Zimbabwe to the west, South Africa and Eswatini to the south. The 2 500km long coastline boasts numerous superb beaches fringed by lagoons, coral reefs and strings of small islands.

The Geography of Mozambique apprises a vast, low, grassland plateau which rises from the coast towards the mountains in the north and west covers nearly half the country’s land area. The population is concentrated along the coast and the fertile river valleys. The Zambezi is the largest of the country’s 25 rivers. Mozambique is rich in mineral resources such as gold, emeralds, copper, iron ore and bauxite and is currently engaged in oil exploration.


The climate varies from tropical and subtropical in the north and central parts of Mozambique to dry semi-arid steppe and dry arid desert in the south. The hottest regions are located in the Zambezi basin, the coastline of Cabo Delgado, Nampula, Zambezia and Sofala.

The south is the coolest part of the country, with an average maximum and minimum temperature of 30ºC and 19ºC respectively. The annual average precipitation for the whole country is 1  032 mm and the rainy season lasts from October to April. It varies widely from the coast to the inland areas and from north to south.

Average annual precipitation ranges from 800 mm to 1 000 mm along the coast, with values above 1 200 mm between Beira and Quelimane. It decreases inland reaching 400 mm at the border with South Africa and Zimbabwe. The north and central part of the country has annual precipitation from 1 000 mm to over 2 000 mm because of the northeast monsoon and high mountains.

In the southern inland part of the country it ranges from 500 mm to 600 mm. Annual evapotranspiration varies between 800 mm in central Niassa and on the border with Zimbabwe to more than 1 600 mm in the eastern and middle Zambezi basin. Along the coast it varies between 1 200 mm and 1 500 mm.

Pre-Colonial Period

The primitive people of Mozambique were bushmen hunters and gatherers. The great migrations between 200/300AD of the warlike Bantu peoples from the Great Lakes forced these primitive people to flee to regions poorer in resources. Before the century, Trading posts were established by the Suahil-Arabs on the coast to exchange products from the interior, mainly gold and ivory, for articles of various origins.

Colonial Penetration

At the end of the century, There was Portuguese mercantile penetration, mainly due to the demand for gold intended for the acquisition of Asian spices. Initially, the Portuguese settled on the coast where they built the fortresses of Sofala (1505) and Ilha de Moçambique (1507). Only later, through processes of military conquest supported by missionary and merchant activities, did they penetrate into the interior where they established some trading posts such as Sena (1530) and Quelimane (1544).

The purpose was no longer simply controlling the flow of gold, but rather controlling access to gold-producing areas. This phase of commercial penetration is called the golden phase. The other last two were ivory and slaves, as the products most sought after by mercantilism were exactly ivory and slaves respectively.The flow of these products ended up being carried out through the Prazos system in the Zambezi valley, which would have constituted the first form of Portuguese colonization in Mozambique. The deadlines were a kind of fiefdom of Portuguese merchants who had occupied a portion of donated, purchased or conquered land.

The abolition of the pleasure system by royal decrees of 1832 and 1854 created conditions for the emergence of military states in the Zambezi valley, which were fundamentally dedicated to the slave trade, even after the official abolition of slavery in 1836 and later in 1842.In the Mozambican context, the Macúa-Lómué populations were those most sacrificed by slavery. Many of them were exported to the Mascarene Islands, Madagascar, Zanzibar, the Persian Gulf, Brazil and Cuba. Until about 1850, Cuba constituted the main market for Zambezian slaves.

With the advent of the Berlin conference (1884/1885), Portugal was forced to carry out the effective occupation of Mozambican territory. Given the Portuguese military and financial incapacity, the alternative found was to lease the sovereignty and powers of various territorial extensions to majestic and tenant companies.Companhia de Moçambique and Companhia do Niassa are typical examples of majestic companies. Companhia da Zambézia, Boror, Luabo, Madal society, Lugela agricultural company and Sena Sugar Estates make up the example of tenant companies.

The company system was used north of the Save River. And, these were mainly dedicated to a plantation economy and some labour traffic to some neighbouring countries. The south of the Save River (provinces of Inhambane, Gaza and Maputo) came under the direct administration of the colonial State.In this region of the country, a service economy was basically developed based on the export of labour to South African mines and rail-port transport via the Port of Maputo. This regional economic division explains the reason for the current symmetry of development between the North and the South of the country.

The colonial occupation was not peaceful. Mozambicans have always imposed resistance struggles, with emphasis on the resistance led by Mawewe, Muzila, Ngungunhane, Komala, Kuphula, Marave, Molid-Volay and Mataca. In practice, the so-called pacification of Mozambique by the Portuguese only took place in the 19th century.

The Fight for Independence

 Secular oppression and Portuguese colonial fascism would eventually force the Mozambican people to take up arms and fight for independence. The National liberation struggle was led by FRELIMO (Front for the Liberation of Mozambique).This organisation was founded in 1962 through the merger of 3 movements formed in exile, namely UDENAMO (União Nacional Democrática de Moçambique), MANU (Mozambique African National Union) and UNAMI (União Nacional de Moçambique Independente).Led by Eduardo Chivambo Mondlane, FRELIMO began with the National liberation struggle on September 25, 1964 in the administrative post of Chai in the province of Cabo Delgado. The first president of FRELIMO, Eduardo Mondlane, would end up being murdered on February 3, 1969.

He was succeeded by Samora Moisés Machel, who proclaimed the country’s independence on June 25, 1975. Machel, who ended up dying in a plane crash in M’buzini, neighboring South Africa, ended up being succeeded by Joaquim Alberto Chissano, who in turn was replaced by current President Armando Emílio Guebuza.From the beginning of the 80s, the country experienced an armed conflict led by RENAMO (National Resistance of Mozambique).The conflict that claimed many lives and destroyed much economic infrastructure would only end in 1992 with the signing of the General Peace Agreements between the FRELIMO Government and RENAMO.In 1994, the country held its first multi-party elections, won by FRELIMO, which again won the second and third elections held in 2000 and 2004.


Independent Mozambique inherited a colonial economic structure characterised by an asymmetry between the North and South of the country and between the countryside and the city. The South is more developed than the North and the city is more developed than the countryside. The lack of economic integration and the extreme oppression of labour constituted the most dominant characteristics of this asymmetry.

The development strategy formulated to reverse this asymmetry relied on a centrally planned socialist economy. However, unfavourable regional and international circumstances, natural calamities and a 16-year internal military conflict made the strategy unfeasible. External debt (around 5,5 billion in 1995) forced the country to make a radical change towards a market development strategy, joining the Bretton Woods Institutions and the consequent adoption of a Structural Adjustment Program, from 1987 onwards. Since then, the country has been experiencing notable economic growth.

The Gross Domestic Product (GDP) has been growing at an average of above 7-8% per year, even reaching double-digit levels. Inflation is below 10%. The tendency is to keep it in single digits. In monetary terms, Mozambique has one of the most liberalised exchange rate regimes in Africa. External commercial partners have sufficient reasons to inspire great confidence in the country in view of the capacity that the monetary authorities have achieved.The Central Bank’s external reserves have been above six months of imports of goods and services.

The State, through the execution of its budgetary policy, regulates and boosts the most important socio-economic areas and creates a good business environment that is very favourable to the development of private initiative. The legal reforms within the scope of financial, tax, labour, commercial and land legislation carried out by the Government contribute significantly to strengthening this good environment with the respective attraction of national and foreign private investment.

The country’s economic potential for attracting investments in agro-industry, agriculture, tourism, fishing and mining is enormous. Projects such as Mozal, Cahora Bassa Dam, Railway-Port Corridors and Tourist Complexes throughout the country have contributed significantly to placing Mozambique on the path to major regional and international investments.

Despite the notable economic growth that the country has been experiencing, many Mozambicans continue to live below the poverty line. The fight against absolute poverty is one of the Government’s main priorities for the five-year period 2005-2009. To this end, the second phase of the Absolute Poverty Reduction Action Plan (PARPA II) was drawn up.


Trade Products Portfolio

Below is information provided by the Mozambican Ministry of Industry and Trade


Aluminium, coal, natural gas, electricity, heavy mineral sands, precious stones, woods


Petrolueum, unwrought aluminium,  electricity, machinery,  construction materials,  vehicles, pharmaceutical products, furniture

Cash Crops:

Cashew nuts, sesame, almonds, sugar, cotton, banana, tobacco

Food imports:

Wheat, maize, rice frozen fish, meat 

Major Tourists Attractions


 Mozambique has always established itself as a cultural hub with outstanding international interventions in the fields of architecture, painting, music, literature and poetry. Names like Malangatana, Mia Couto and José Craveirinha, among others, have long surpassed national borders. Also in the area of ??sport, he stood out in several disciplines, namely athletics with Lurdes Mutola. Also important and representative of the artistic and creative spirit of the Mozambican people is the crafts that can be found in various areas, particularly the blackwood sculptures of the Macondes of Northern Mozambique.

Inhaca Island, Maputo Bay, Macuti Lighthouse and Shipwreck, Hlane Royal National Park, Monument to Heroes of Mozambique, Bazurato Archipelago, Nucleo du Arte, Zalala Beach –


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