Factbook: Mozambique



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

Geographic coordinates: 18 15 S, 35 00 E

Map references: Africa

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

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

Land boundaries:
total: 4,571 km
border countries: Malawi 1,569 km, South Africa 491 km, Swaziland 105 km, Tanzania 756 km, Zambia 419 km, Zimbabwe 1,231 km

Coastline: 2,470 km

Maritime claims:
exclusive economic zone : 200 nm
territorial sea: 12 nm

Climate: tropical to subtropical

Terrain: 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

Land use:
arable land: 4%
permanent crops : 0%
permanent pastures: 56%
forests and woodland: 18%
other: 22% (1993 est.)

Irrigated land: 1,180 sq km (1993 est.)

Natural hazards: severe droughts and floods occur in central and southern provinces; devastating cyclones

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

Environment – international agreements:
party to: Biodiversity, Climate Change, Endangered Species, Ozone Layer Protection
signed, but not ratified: Desertification, Law of the Sea


Population: 18,165,476 (July 1997 est.)

Age structure:
0-14 years: 45% (male 4,021,791; female 4,136,853)
15-64 years: 53% (male 4,678,819; female 4,910,085)
65 years and over: 2% (male 173,177; female 244,751) (July 1997 est.)

Population growth rate: 2.6% (1997 est.)

Birth rate: 44.33 births/1,000 population (1997 est.)

Death rate: 18.31 deaths/1,000 population (1997 est.)

Net migration rate: 0 migrant(s)/1,000 population (1997 est.)

Sex ratio:
at birth: 1.03 male(s)/female
under 15 years: 0.97 male(s)/female
15-64 years: 0.95 male(s)/female
65 years and over : 0.71 male(s)/female
total population: 0.96 male(s)/female (1997 est.)

Infant mortality rate: 122.9 deaths/1,000 live births (1997 est.)

Life expectancy at birth:
total population: 44.85 years
male: 43.71 years
female: 46.02 years (1997 est.)

Total fertility rate: 6.11 children born/woman (1997 est.)

noun: Mozambican(s)
adjective: Mozambican

Ethnic groups: indigenous tribal groups 99.66% (Shangaan, Chokwe, Manyika, Sena, Makua, and others), Europeans 0.06%, Euro-Africans 0.2%, Indians 0.08%

Religions: indigenous beliefs 50%, Christian 30%, Muslim 20%

Languages: Portuguese (official), indigenous dialects

definition: age 15 and over can read and write
total population : 40.1%
male: 57.7%
female: 23.3% (1995 est.)


Country name:
conventional long form: Republic of Mozambique
conventional short form: Mozambique
local long form : Republica Popular de Mocambique
local short form: Mocambique

Data code: MZ

Government type: republic

National capital: Maputo

Administrative divisions: 10 provinces (provincias, singular – provincia); Cabo Delgado, Gaza, Inhambane, Manica, Maputo, Nampula, Niassa, Sofala, Tete, Zambezia

Independence: 25 June 1975 (from Portugal)

National holiday: Independence Day, 25 June (1975)

Constitution: 30 November 1990

Legal system: based on Portuguese civil law system and customary law

Suffrage: 18 years of age; universal

Executive branch:
chief of state: President Joaquim Alberto CHISSANO (since 6 November 1986); note – before being popularly elected, CHISSANO was elected president by FRELIMO’s Central Committee 4 November 1986 (reelected by the Committee 30 July 1989)
head of government: Prime Minister Pascoal MOCUMBI (since NA December 1994)
cabinet : Cabinet
elections: president elected by popular vote for a five-year term; election last held 27 October 1994 (next to be held NA 1999); prime minister appointed by the president
election results: Joaquim Alberto CHISSANO elected president; percent of vote – Joaquim CHISSANO 53.3%, Afonso DHLAKAMA 33.3%

Legislative branch: unicameral Assembly of the Republic or Assembleia da Republica (250 seats; members are directly elected by popular vote on a secret ballot to serve five-year terms)
elections: last held 27-29 October 1994 (next to be held NA October 1999)
election results: percent of vote by party – Frelimo 44.33%, RENAMO 33.78%, Democratic Union 5.15%, other 16.74%; seats by party – Frelimo 129, RENAMO 112, Democratic Union 9
note: the presidential and legislative elections took place as called for in the 1992 peace accords; RENAMO participated in the elections

Judicial branch: Supreme Court, judges appointed by the president and judges elected by the Assembly

Political parties and leaders: Front for the Liberation of Mozambique or FRELIMO [Joaquim Alberto CHISSANO, chairman]; Mozambique National Resistance or RENAMO [Afonso DHLAKAMA, president]; Democratic Union or DU [Antonio PALANGE, general secretary]

International organization participation: ACP, AfDB, C, CCC, ECA, FAO, G-77, IBRD, ICAO, ICFTU, ICRM, IDA, IDB, IFAD, IFC, IFRCS, ILO, IMF, IMO, Inmarsat, Intelsat, Interpol, IOC, IOM (observer), ISO (correspondent), ITU, NAM, OAU, OIC, SADC, UN, UNCTAD, UNESCO, UNIDO, UPU, WFTU, WHO, WIPO, WMO, WToO, WTrO

Diplomatic representation in the US:
chief of mission: Ambassador Marcos Geraldo NAMASHULUA
chancery: Suite 570, 1990 M Street NW, Washington, DC 20036
telephone: [1] (202) 293-7146
FAX: [1] (202) 835-0245

Diplomatic representation from the US:
chief of mission: Ambassador (vacant); Charge d’Affaires Peter Michael McKINLEY
embassy: Avenida Kenneth Kuanda 193, Maputo
mailing address: P. O. Box 783, Maputo
telephone : [258] (1) 492797
FAX: [258] (1) 490114

Flag description: 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


Economy – overview: One of Africa’s poorest countries, Mozambique has failed to exploit the economic potential of its sizable agricultural, hydropower, and transportation resources. Agricultural output is at only 75% of its 1981 level, and grain has to be imported. Industry operates at only 20%-40% of capacity. Foreign assistance programs supply the foreign exchange required to pay for imports of goods and services. The peace accord, signed in October 1992, has improved Mozambique’s prospects. The restoration of electrical transmission lines to South Africa and the completion of a new transmission line to Zimbabwe (permitting the giant Cahora Bassa hydropower plant to export large amounts of electricity), proposed construction of a natural gas pipeline to South Africa, and reform of transportation services will greatly improve foreign exchange receipts. The Mozambique and South African governments are developing the Maputo corridor, linking the port of Maputo with Witbank, South Africa. In the past few years, more than 500 state enterprises have been privatized, including the country’s largest commercial bank and a number of sizable manufacturing firms. Other pending reform measures are the privatization of customs operations, the reform of tax collection, and the facilitation of private enterprise in the transportation, energy, and telecommunications sectors.

GDP: purchasing power parity – $12.2 billion (1995 est.)

GDP – real growth rate: 3% (1995 est.)

GDP – per capita: purchasing power parity – $670 (1995 est.)

GDP – composition by sector:
agriculture: 33%
industry: 12%
services : 55% (1994 est.)

Inflation rate – consumer price index: 22% (1996 est.)

Labor force: NA
by occupation: 80% engaged in agriculture
note: in 1993, 47% of the wage earners were employed in industry, 28% in transportation and communication; traditionally, a large number of Mozambicans work abroad

Unemployment rate: 50% (1989 est.)

revenues: $252 million
expenditures : $607 million, including capital expenditures of $NA (1992 est.)

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

Industrial production growth rate: 5.8% (1993 est.)

Electricity – capacity: 2.36 million kW (1994)

Electricity – production: 490 million kWh (1994)

Electricity – consumption per capita: 45 kWh (1993)

Agriculture – products: cotton, cashew nuts, sugarcane, tea, cassava (tapioca), corn, rice, tropical fruits; beef, poultry

total value : $169 million (f.o.b., 1995)
commodities: shrimp 40%, cashews, cotton, sugar, copra, citrus
partners: Spain, South Africa, US, Portugal, Japan

total value: $784 million (c.i.f., 1995)
commodities : food, clothing, farm equipment, petroleum
partners: South Africa 44%, UK, France, Japan, Portugal

Debt – external: $5.5 billion (1995)

Economic aid:
recipient : ODA, $NA

Currency: 1 metical (Mt) = 100 centavos

Exchange rates: meticais (Mt) per US$1 – 11,455.0 (December 1996), 11,293.8 (1996), 9,024.3 (1995), 6,038.6 (1994), 3,874.2 (1993), 2,516.5 (1992)

Fiscal year: calendar year


Telephones: 59,000 (1983 est.)

Telephone system: fair system of tropospheric scatter, open-wire lines, and microwave radio relay
domestic: microwave radio relay and tropospheric scatter
international : satellite earth stations – 5 Intelsat (2 Atlantic Ocean and 3 Indian Ocean)

Radio broadcast stations: AM 29, FM 4, shortwave 0

Radios: 700,000 (1992 est.)

Television broadcast stations: 1

Televisions: 44,000 (1992 est.)


total: 3,131 km
narrow gauge: 2,988 km 1.067-m gauge; 143 km 0.762-m gauge (1994)

total: 29,810 km
paved: 5,545 km
unpaved : 24,265 km (1995 est.)
note: highway traffic impeded by land mines not removed at end of civil war

Waterways: about 3,750 km of navigable routes

Pipelines: crude oil (not operating) 306 km; petroleum products 289 km

Ports and harbors: Beira, Inhambane, Maputo, Nacala, Pemba

Merchant marine:
total : 4 cargo ships (1,000 GRT or over) totaling 5,694 GRT/9,724 DWT (1996 est.)

Airports: 129 (1996 est.)

Airports – with paved runways:
total: 85
over 3,047 m : 1
2,438 to 3,047 m: 4
1,524 to 2,437 m : 10
914 to 1,523 m: 5
under 914 m: 65 (1996 est.)

Airports – with unpaved runways:
total: 44
1,524 to 2,437 m : 12
914 to 1,523 m: 32 (1996 est.)


Military branches: Army, Naval Command, Air and Air Defense Forces, Militia

Military manpower – availability:
males age 15-49: 4,149,766 (1997 est.)

Military manpower – fit for military service:
males: 2,390,791 (1997 est.)

Military expenditures – dollar figure: $84 million (1994)

Military expenditures – percent of GDP: 5.3% (1994)

Transnational Issues

Disputes – international: none

Illicit drugs: Southern African transit hub for South American cocaine probably destined for the European and US markets; producer of hashish and methaqualone