OFFICIAL NAME: Republic of Mozambique
SYSTEM OF GOVERNMENT: Unitary Multiparty Republic
AREA: 798,800 Sq Km (308,418 Sq Mi)
ESTIMATED 2000 POPULATION: 17,857,100
LOCATION & GEOGRAPHY: Mozambique is located on the southeast
coast of Africa. It is bound by Swaziland to the south,
South Africa to the southwest, Zimbabwe to the west, Zambia
and Malawi to the northwest, Tanzania to the north and the
Indian Ocean to the east. The country is divided into two
topographical regions by the Zambezi River. (1.) North of
the Zambezi river, the narrow coastline moves inland to
hills and low plateaux, and further west to rugged highlands,
which include the Livingstone-Nyasa Highlands, Namuli or
Shire Highlands, Angonia Highlands, Tete Highlands and the
Maconde Plateau. (2.) South of the Zambezi River, the lowlands
are broader with the Mashonaland Plateau and Lebomo Mountains
located in the deep south. The country is drained by five
principal rivers and several smaller ones with the largest
and most important the Zambezi. The country has three lakes,
Lake Nyasa or Malawi, Lake Chiuta and Lake Shirwa, all in
the north. Major Cities (pop. est.); Maputo 931,600, Beira
298,800, Nampula 250,500 (1991). Land Use; forested 18%,
pastures 56%, agricultural-cultivated 4%, other 22% (1993).
CLIMATE: Mozambique has a tropical climate with two seasons.
A wet season from October to March and a dry season from April to September.
Climatic conditions, however, vary depending on altitude. Rainfall is heavy
along the coast and decreases in the north and south. Annual precipitation
varies from 500 to 900 mm (20 to 35 inches) depending on the region with
an average of 590 mm (23 inches). Cyclones are also common during the wet
season. Average temperature ranges in Maputo are from 13 to 24 degrees
Celsius (55 to 75 degrees Fahrenheit) in July to 22 to 31 degrees Celsius
(72 to 88 degrees Fahrenheit) in February.
PEOPLE: The majority of the population belong to local tribal
groups which include the Makua-Lomwe who account for 37% of the population
while the Shona account for 10% and the Tsonga for 23%. Other ethnic minorities
include Europeans, mainly Portuguese, Euro-Asians and Indians.
DEMOGRAPHIC/VITAL STATISTICS: Density; 18 persons per sq km (47
persons per sq mi) (1991). Urban-Rural; 13.2% urban, 86.8% rural (1980).
Sex Distribution; 49.3% male, 50.7% female (1990). Life Expectancy at Birth;
44.9 years male, 48.1 years female (1990). Age Breakdown; 44% under 15,
26% 15 to 29, 16% 30 to 44, 9% 45 to 59, 4% 60 to 74, 1% 75 and over (1990).
Birth Rate; 45.0 per 1,000 (1990). Death Rate; 18.5 per 1,000 (1990). Increase
Rate; 26.5 per 1,000 (1990). Infant Mortality Rate; 141.0 per 1,000 live
RELIGIONS: Around 48% of the population follow local native tribal
beliefs while 39% are Christians and 13% are Muslims.
LANGUAGES: The official language is Portuguese which is used
for government, education and commerce purposes. A variety of local tribal
languages are also widely spoken.
EDUCATION: Aged 25 or over and having attained: no formal schooling
80.7%, primary 18.2%, secondary 0.9%, higher 0.2% (1980). Literacy; literate
population aged 15 or over 32.9% (1990).
MODERN HISTORY - WWII TO 1993: In 1951 Mozambique became an overseas
province of Portugal and in 1962 the Front for the Liberation of Mozambique
(FRELIMO) was established. In 1964 the FRELIMO began guerrilla attacks
against the Portuguese and soon gained control of the northern part of
Mozambique. Fighting between the FRELIMO and Portuguese forces continued
until a ceasefire was declared in Sept. 1974. On June 25, 1975 Mozambique
gained independence with the FRELIMO, leader Samora Machel as President.
The FRELIMO adopted socialist economic policies and around 250,000 Portuguese
left the country leaving a trail of destruction. In Mar. 1976 Mozambique
closed its border with Rhodesia (Zimbabwe) resulting in border fighting
between Mozambican and Rhodesian troops. As a result the Rhodesian Intelligence
helped to establish the Mozambique National Resistance (Renamo) and after
Zimbabwe's independence in 1980, South Africa continued to support the
RENAMO. The RENAMO embarked on a terror campaign against local people and
by Mar. 1989 a full scale civil war had claimed as many as 600,000 lives
and displaced an estimated 5 million people. In 1983 Mozambique announced
that it would liberalize its economic policies in an attempt to increase
investment in private enterprise. In Mar. 1984 South Africa signed a treaty,
in which they agreed to stop giving assistance to the guerrillas. During
the 1980's Mozambique experienced severe droughts which resulted in widespread
famine and death. In Oct 1986. Pres. Machel died in a plane crash and was
succeeded by Joaquim Chissano. In Jan. 1990 Pres. Chissano announced the
draft of a new constitution which involved a referendum to determine whether
the country should become a multiparty republic or remain a single-party
republic. In Feb. 1990 the RENAMO attacked and killed around 77 miners
on a train returning to Mozambique and in May attacked a passenger train
killing 40 people. In July it was announced that rival parties would contest
the next elections and in Dec. 1990 a partial cease-fire was negotiated.
The government also announced that it was introducing a free market economy
and renamed the country from the People's Republic of Mozambique to the
Republic of Mozambique. Less than one month after the partial cease-fire
the RENAMO launched further attacks. In Feb. 1991 the Mozambique National
Union (UNAMO) a splinter faction of the RENAMO opposed to continuing violence
and the Liberal and Democratic Party of Mozambique were legalized. In May
1991 talks held in Rome between RENAMO and the government broke down while
at home the rebels stepped up their campaign against government and military
installations. In June 1991 a planned RENAMO coup was foiled resulting
in the arrest of a group of military officers and civilians. In Oct. 1991
RENAMO and the government agreed on the basis for a negotiated peace settlement.
Also in 1991 the government faced a worsening famine situation due to the
continuing drought and requested further food aid assistance, although
the fighting between RENAMO and government forces made the distribution
of such aid very difficult. In Jan. 1992 RENAMO rebels attacked the town
of Macia, killing 50 and wounding 25. On July 4, 1992 the RENAMO leader,
Alfonso Dhlakama announced he was tied of the war his militia had waged
since 1976 and on Aug. 7, 1992 he and Pres. Chissano signed a joint declaration
that they would sign a peace accord in Oct. 1992. On Oct. 4, 1992 a cease-fire
accord was signed by Pres. Chissano and the RENAMO leader in Rome, and
on Dec. 16, 1992 the UN agreed to send some 7,500 troops and civilian personnel
to oversee the rebel disarmament and to organize elections. In Feb. 1993
the UN's special representative, Aldo Ajello suggested that he planned
multiparty elections for Oct. 1993 be postponed until Oct. 1994 due to
delays in implementing the accords of the peace pact that included the
integration of RENAMO forces into the Army. In April 1993 the African Development
Bank announced a US $30 million aid grant for a five year rehabilitation
program. On Oct. 20, 1993 UN Secretary-General Boutros-Ghali met with Pres.
Chissano and Dhlakama in Maputo, and announced an agreement on the establishment
of a 20-member electoral commission and a schedule for demobilization of
the rebel forces. On Dec. 1, 1993 the government and RENAMO reached an
agreement and began the disarmament process. Also in 1993 the government
received loans from OPEC International Development Program for the redevelopment
of hospitals and Denmark also offered a loan to assist in health and agricultural
programs while Britain offered a grant for humanitarian aid.
CURRENCY: The official currency is the Metical (MT) (plural;
Meticais) divided into 100 Centavos.
ECONOMY: Gross National Product; USD $1,375,000,000 (1993). Public
Debt; USD $4,650,000,000 (1993). Imports; USD $1,018,000,000 (1994). Exports;
USD $149,500,000 (1994). Tourism Receipts; N/A. Balance of Trade; USD -$868,000,000
(1994). Economically Active Population; 5,671,290 or 48.6% of total population
(1980). Unemployed; 1.7% (1980).
MAIN TRADING PARTNERS: Its main trading partners are the USA,
Portugal, France, Iraq, Japan and Singapore.
MAIN PRIMARY PRODUCTS: Bananas, Bauxite, Cashew Nuts, Cassava, Cereals,
Coal, Coconuts, Copper.
MAJOR INDUSTRIES: Agriculture, Chemicals, Cement, Food Processing,
Mining, Petroleum Products, Textiles.
MAIN EXPORTS: Cashew Nuts, Cotton, Shrimp, Tea, Textiles.
TRANSPORT: Railroads; route length 3,271 km (2,033 mi) (1988),
passenger-km 75,300,000 (46,789,000 passenger-mi) (1988), cargo ton-km
231,800,000 (158,760,000 short ton-mi) (1988). Roads; length 26,095 km
(16,215 mi) (1989). Vehicles; cars 84,000 (1989), trucks and buses 24,000
(1989). Merchant Marine; vessels 114 (1990), deadweight tonnage 29,153
(1990). Air Transport; passenger-km 553,829,000 (344,133,000 passenger-mi)
(1990), cargo ton-km 60,636,000 (41,530,000 short ton-mi) (1990).
COMMUNICATIONS: Daily Newspapers; total of 2 with a total circulation
of 81,000 (1994). Radio; receivers 620,000 (1994). Television; receivers
35,000 (1994). Telephones; units 62,100 (1993).
MILITARY: 50,000 (1993) total active duty personnel with 90.0%
army, 2.2% navy and 8.0% air force while military expenditure accounts
for 7.6% (1993) of the Gross National Product (GNP).
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