The Mozambique Channel separates the country from the island of Madagascar. Mozambique's c.1,600 mi (2,575 km) coastline is interrupted by the mouths of numerous rivers, notably the Rovuma (which forms part of the boundary with Tanzania), Lúrio, Incomati (Komati), Lugela, Zambezi (which is navigable for c.290 mi/465 km within the territory), Revùe, Save (Sabi), and Limpopo. South of the Zambezi estuary the coastal belt is very narrow, and in the far north the coastline is made up of rocky cliffs. Along the northern coast are numerous islets and lagoons; in the far south is Maputo Bay. The northern and central interior is mountainous; Monte Binga (7,992 ft/2,436 m), the country's loftiest point, is situated at the Zimbabwean border W of Beira. About one third of Lake Nyasa (Lake Malawi) falls within Mozambique's boundaries; Lake Chilwa (Lago Chirua) is at the border with Malawi. Much of the country is covered with savanna; there are also extensive hardwood forests, and palms grow widely along the coast and near rivers.
In addition to the capital, other cities include Beira, Moçambique, Nampula, Pemba, Quelimane, Tete, Angoche, and Xai-Xai. The principal ethnic groups are, in the north, the Yao, Makonde, and Makua; in the center, the Thonga, Chewa, Nyanja, and Sena; and in the south, the Shona and Tonga. Small numbers of Swahili live along the coast. People of European, mixed African and European, and South Asian descent make up less than 1% of the population.
About 40% of the inhabitants of Mozambique are Christian (Roman Catholic and Zionist Christian), while about 18% follow traditional religious beliefs, and another 18% are Muslims (most of these living in the north). Although Bantu languages are widely spoken, Portuguese is the official language.
In 1990, Mozambique was estimated to be the world's poorest nation; since then, the country has been in transition toward a more market-oriented economy and the prospect of raising its standard of living. Mozambique remains an overwhelmingly agricultural and poor country, however, with the majority of its workers engaged in traditional subsistence cultivation of such crops as cassava, corn, coconuts, potatoes, and sunflowers. The principal cash crops are cotton, cashews, sugarcane, tea, sisal, citrus, and tropical fruits. Cattle and goats are raised, but their numbers are kept low by the tsetse fly. There are forestry and fishing industries, including prawns. The country's mineral wealth has not been determined fully; however, titanium and natural-gas deposits are being developed by foreign investors. There are also significant coal deposits, which are being developed more extensively, as well as hydropower. Many citizens work abroad in South African mines.
Mozambique's industrial sector includes the processing of raw materials (mostly food, cotton, and tobacco) and the production of chemical fertilizer, aluminum, petroleum products, textiles, glass, and asbestos. Electricity from the giant Cahora Bassa hydroelectric project (located on the Zambezi near Tete) is exported to South Africa. A smaller hydroelectric plant is situated at Chicamba Real (near Beira) on the Revùe River. The economy is also reliant on foreign aid.
Mozambique has a substantial trade imbalance, although export earnings have increased in recent years. The principal imports are machinery and equipment, motor vehicles, fuel, chemicals, metal products, food, and textiles; chief exports are aluminum, prawns, cashews, cotton, sugar, citrus, timber, and bulk electricity. The Netherlands and South Africa are the country's main trading partners. Mozambique also derives income from handling foreign trade for nearby countries; goods are shipped on rail lines that terminate at the ports of Maputo, Nacala, Lumbo (near Moçambique), and Beira. A toll road that opened in 1998 carries goods from South Africa's industrial north to Maputo.
Mozambique is governed under the constitution of 1990. The president, who is head of state, is elected by popular vote for a five-year term and is eligible for a second term. The government is headed by a prime minister, who is appointed by the president. The unicameral legislature consists of the 250-seat Assembly of the Republic, whose members are popularly elected for five-year terms. Administratively, Mozambique is divided into 10 provinces and the capital city.
Bantu-speakers began to migrate into the region of Mozambique in the middle of the 1st millennium A.D. From 1000, Arab and Swahili traders settled along parts of the coast, notably at Sofala (near modern Beira), at Cuama (near the Zambezi estuary), and on the site of present-day Inhambane. The traders had contact with the interior, and Sofala was particularly noted as a gold- and ivory-exporting center closely linked with—and at times controlled by—Kilwa (on the coast of modern Tanzania).
In 1498, Vasco da Gama, a Portuguese navigator en route around Africa to India, visited Quelimane and Moçambique. Between 1500 and 1502 Pedro Álvares Cabral and Sancho de Tovar, also Portuguese explorers, visited Sofala and Maputo Bay. In 1505, the Portuguese under Francisco de Almeida occupied Moçambique, and Pedro de Anhaia established a Portuguese settlement at Sofala. The Portuguese also set up trading stations N of Cabo Delgado (near the mouth of the Ruvuma), but their main influence (especially after 1600) in E Africa was in the Moçambique region.
Between 1509 and 1512 António Fernandes traveled inland and visited the Mwanamutapa kingdom, which controlled the region between the Zambezi and Save rivers and was the source of much of the gold exported at Sofala. Soon after, Swahili traders resident in Mwanamutapa began to redirect the kingdom's gold trade away from Portuguese-controlled Sofala and toward more northern ports. Thus, Portugal became interested in directly controlling the interior. In 1531, posts were established inland at Sena and Tete on the Zambezi, and in 1544 a station was founded at Quelimane.
In 1560 and 1561 Gonçalo da Silveira, a Portuguese Jesuit missionary, visited Mwanamutapa, where he quickly made converts, including King Nogomo Mupunzagato. However, the Swahili traders who lived there, fearing for their commercial position, persuaded Nogomo to have Silveira murdered. Between 1569 and 1572 an army of about 1,000 Portuguese under Francisco Barreto attempted to gain control of the interior, but Barreto and most of the soldiers died of disease at Sena. In 1574, an army of 400 men under Vasco Fernandes Homen marched into the interior from Sofala, but most of the men were killed in fighting with Africans.
In the late 16th and early 17th cent. the official Portuguese presence in the interior was limited to small trading colonies along the Zambezi. At the same time Portuguese adventurers began to establish control over large estates (called prazos), which resembled feudal kingdoms. They were ruled absolutely and often ruthlessly by their owners (called prazeros); Africans were forced to work on plantations, and considerable slave-raiding was undertaken (especially after 1650). Some of the prazeros maintained private armies, and they were generally independent of the Portuguese crown to which they were theoretically subordinate.
From about 1628 the Portuguese gained increasing influence in Mwanamutapa, and they became intimately involved in the civil wars that led to the demise of that kingdom by the end of the 17th cent. Mozambique was ruled as part of Goa in India until 1752, when it was given its own administration headed by a captain-general. Although the Portuguese helped introduce several American crops (notably corn and cashew nuts) that became staples of Mozambique's agriculture, the impact of their presence on African society was mainly destructive.Colonial Struggles and Portuguese Domination
From the mid-18th to the mid-19th cent. large numbers of Africans were exported as slaves, largely to the Mascarene Islands and to Brazil. In the 1820s and 1830s groups of Nguni-speaking people from S Africa invaded Mozambique; most of the Nguni continued northward into present-day Malawi and Tanzania, but one group, the Shangana, remained in S Mozambique, where they held effective control until the late 19th cent. From the mid-19th cent. to the late 1880s the mestiço Joaquim José da Cruz and his son António Nicente controlled trade along the lower Zambezi. Thus, when the scramble for African territory among the European powers began in the 1880s, the Portuguese government had only an insecure hold on Mozambique. Nevertheless, Portugal tried to increase its nominal holdings, partly in an attempt to connect by land its territory in Mozambique and in Angola (in SW Africa).
Portuguese claims in present-day Zimbabwe and Malawi were strongly opposed by the British, who in 1890 delivered an ultimatum to Portugal demanding that it withdraw from these regions. Portugal complied, and in 1891 a treaty establishing the boundaries between British and Portuguese holdings in SE Africa was negotiated. Beginning in the 1890s and ending only around 1920, the Portuguese established their authority in Mozambique by force of arms against determined African resistance. Between 1895 and 1897 the Shangana were defeated; between 1897 and 1900 the Nyanja were conquered; in 1912 the Yao were pacified; and in 1917 control was established in extreme S Mozambique. In the 1890s several private companies were founded to develop and administer most of Mozambique. In 1910 the status of the territory was changed from province to colony.
After the 1926 revolution in Portugal, the Portuguese government took a more direct interest in Mozambique. The companies lost the right to administer their regions, and at the same time the government furthered economic development by building railroads and by systematically forcing Africans to work on European-owned land. Portuguese colonial policy was based on the egalitarian theory of "assimilation": if an African became assimilated to Portuguese culture (i.e., if he was fluent in Portuguese, was Christian, and had a "good character"), he was to be given the same legal status as a Portuguese citizen. In practice, however, very few Africans qualified for citizenship (partly because there were inadequate educational opportunities), and they were directed to work for Europeans or to grow export crops.
In 1951 the status of Mozambique was changed to "overseas province" in a move designed to indicate to world opinion that the territory would have increased autonomy; in a similar move in 1972, Mozambique was declared to be a "self-governing state." In both instances, however, Portugal maintained firm control over the territory. Between 1961 and 1963 several laws (one of which abolished forced labor) were passed to improve the living conditions of Africans. At the same time, many African nations were becoming independent, and nationalist sentiment was growing in Mozambique.The Struggle for Independence
In 1962 several nationalist groups were united to form the Mozambique Liberation Front (Frelimo), headed by Eduardo Mondlane. The Portuguese adamantly refused to give the territory independence, and in 1964 Frelimo initiated guerrilla warfare in N Mozambique. In 1969, Mondlane was assassinated in Dar es Salaam; he was succeeded by Uria Simango (1969) and by Samora Moisès Machel (1970). By the early 1970s, Frelimo (which had a force of about 7,000 guerrillas) controlled much of central and N Mozambique and was engaged in often fierce fighting with the Portuguese (who maintained an army of about 60,000 in the territory).
In 1974 the government of Portugal was overthrown by the military. The new regime (which favored self-determination for all of Portugal's colonies) made an effort to resolve the conflict in Mozambique. Talks with Frelimo resulted in a mutual cease-fire and an agreement for Mozambique to become independent in June, 1975.Upheaval in the New Nation
In reaction to the independence agreement, a group of white rebels attempted to seize control of the Mozambique government but were quickly subdued by Portuguese and Frelimo troops. As black rule of Mozambique became a reality (with Machel as president) and as increased racial violence erupted, there was an exodus of Europeans from Mozambique. As the Portuguese left, they took their valuable skills and machinery, which had an adverse effect on the economy. Frelimo established a single-party Marxist state, nationalized all industry, and abolished private land ownership. Frelimo also instituted health and education reforms.
Mozambique became a base for the nationalist rebels of the Zimbabwe African National Union (ZANU), a move that angered Rhodesia and South Africa. In 1979, Rhodesia invaded Mozambique, destroying communications facilities, agricultural centers, and transportation lines; many civilians were killed in the attacks. After Zimbabwe (formerly Rhodesia) obtained majority rule in 1980, the Mozambique National Resistance Movement (MNR or Renamo), a powerful dissident group financed in part by South Africa, waged guerrilla warfare against Frelimo.
In addition to the chaos created by economic and political conditions, Mozambique was foundering under the weight of a large and inefficient bureaucracy. In the 1980s, Machel cut the size of the government and began to privatize industry. In 1984, Mozambique signed a nonaggression pact (the Incomati accord) with South Africa; the terms of the pact prohibited South African support of Renamo and Mozambican support of the African National Congress. Mozambique accused South Africa of violating the accord, and fighting continued between the government and Renamo throughout the 1980s. In 1986, Machel was killed in a plane crash and succeeded by Joaquim Chissano.
In 1992, Mozambique suffered from one of the worst droughts of the century and from the widespread famine that ensued. Renamo rebels, who controlled most of the rural areas, blocked famine relief efforts. Civil war and starvation killed tens of thousands, and more than a million refugees fled the country. In 1992, Frelimo and Renamo signed an accord ending the civil war. In multiparty elections held in 1994, with the presence of UN peacekeepers, Chissano, the Frelimo candidate, won the presidency, and his party secured a slight majority in parliament.
The Chissano government had begun repudiating Marxism in the 1980s, pledging itself to develop a market-oriented economy. In the 1990s it privatized a number of state-owned companies and made progress in cutting inflation, stabilizing the currency, and stimulating economic growth, and by the end of the decade it had largely recovered from the civil war, although widespread poverty remained a problem. The Dec., 1999, elections were again won by Chissano and Frelimo, but the Renamo presidential candidate, Afonso Dhlakama, denounced the results as fraudulent and called for a recount; foreign observers, who were denied access to the final vote tabulation, expressed concerns about the vote-counting process. The supreme court denied (Jan., 2000) Dhlakama's request for a recount, stating that Renamo had failed to provide evidence of ballot fraud. In February and March, 2000, the Limpopo and Changane river valleys in S Mozambique experienced severe flooding as a result of heavy rain from a cyclone (hurricane); an estimated one million people were affected. The results of the elections led Renamo to boycott the national assembly for much of 2000, and protest demonstrations in November resulted in scattered violence in central and N Mozambique.
The presidential and legislative elections of Dec., 2004, were won by Frelimo, whose presidential candidate, Armando Guebuza, a millionaire business executive, won nearly 64% of the vote. Dhlakama and Renamo again accused Frelimo of fraud. International observers said there were widespread problems including presumed fraudulent totals in some strongly Frelimo districts but that the irregularities were not enough to have altered the overall result of the voting. In addition, the country's Constitutional Council criticized the election commission's handling of the vote count. Guebuza and Frelimo won the 2009 elections by even larger margins against an opposition divided between Renamo and the Mozambican Democratic Movement. Both opposition parties denounced the results and accused the ruling party of fraud.
See M. D. D. Newitt, Portuguese Settlement on the Zambesi: Exploration, Land Tenure, and Colonial Rule (1973); A. and B. Isaacman, Mozambique (1983); B. Munslow, Mozambique: The Revolution and its Origins (1983); B. Egero, A Dream Undone: The Political Economy of Democracy 1975-1984 (1987); J. E. Torp, Mozambique (1989); A. Vines, Renamo: Terrorism in Mozambique (1991).
Learn more about Mozambique with a free trial on Britannica.com.
Mozambique, officially the Republic of Mozambique (Moçambique or República de Moçambique, ), is a country in southeastern Africa bordered by the Indian Ocean to the east, Tanzania to the north, Malawi and Zambia to the northwest, Zimbabwe to the west and Swaziland and South Africa to the southwest. It was explored by Vasco da Gama in 1498 and colonized by Portugal in 1505. By 1510, the Portuguese had control of all of the former Arab sultanates on the east African coast. From about 1500, Portuguese trading posts and forts became regular ports of call on the new route to the east.
Mozambique is an LEDC (less economically developed country).
The voyage of Vasco da Gama around the Cape of Good Hope into the Indian Ocean in 1498 marked the Portuguese entry into trade, politics, and society in the Indian Ocean world. The Portuguese gained control of the Island of Mozambique and the port city of Sofala in the early 16th century, and by the 1530s small groups of Portuguese traders and prospectors penetrated the interior regions seeking gold, where they set up garrisons and trading posts at Sena and Tete on the Zambezi River and tried to gain exclusive control over the gold trade. The Portuguese attempted to legitimate and consolidate their trade and settlement positions through the creation of prazos (land grants) tied to Portuguese settlement and administration. While prazos were originally developed to be held by Portuguese, through intermarriage they became African Portuguese or African Indian centres defended by large African slave armies known as Chikunda. Historically within Mozambique there was slavery. Human beings were bought and sold by African tribal chiefs, Arab traders, and the Portuguese. Many Mozambican slaves were supplied by tribal chiefs who raided warring tribes and sold their captives to the prazeiros.
Although Portuguese influence gradually expanded, its power was limited and exercised through individual settlers and officials who were granted extensive autonomy. The Portuguese were able to wrest much of the coastal trade from Arabs between 1500 and 1700, but, with the Arab seizure of Portugal's key foothold at Fort Jesus on Mombasa Island (now in Kenya) in 1698, the pendulum began to swing in the other direction. As a result, investment lagged while Lisbon devoted itself to the more lucrative trade with India and the Far East and to the colonisation of Brazil. During the 18th and 19th centuries the Mazrui and Omani Arabs reclaimed much of the Indian Ocean trade, forcing the Portuguese to retreat south. Many prazos had declined by the mid-19th century, but several of them survived. During the 19th century other European powers, particularly the British and the French, became increasingly involved in the trade and politics of the region.
By the early 20th century the Portuguese had shifted the administration of much of Mozambique to large private companies, like the Mozambique Company, the Zambezia Company and the Niassa Company, controlled and financed mostly by the British, which established railroad lines to neighbouring countries. Although slavery had been legally abolished in Mozambique, at the end of the 19th century the Chartered companies enacted a forced labor policy and supplied cheap – often forced – African labor to the mines and plantations of the nearby British colonies and South Africa. The Zambezia Company, the most profitable chartered company, took over a number of smaller prazeiro holdings, and established military outposts to protect its property. The chartered companies built roads and ports to bring their goods to market including a railroad linking present day Zimbabwe with the Mozambican port of Beira.
Because policies and development plans were primarily designed by the ruling authorities for the benefit of Mozambique's Portuguese population, little attention was paid to Mozambique's tribal integration and the development of its native communities. This affected a majority of the indigenous population who suffered both state-sponsored discrimination and enormous social pressure. Many felt they had received too little opportunity or resources to upgrade their skills and improve their economic and social situation to a degree comparable to that of the Europeans.
The Front for the Liberation of Mozambique (FRELIMO), initiated a guerrilla campaign against Portuguese rule in September 1964. This conflict, along with the two others already initiated in the other Portuguese colonies of Angola and Guinea-Bissau, became part of the so-called Portuguese Colonial War (1961–1974).
After 10 years of sporadic warfare and Portugal's return to democracy through a leftist military coup in Lisbon (the Carnation Revolution of April 1974), FRELIMO took control of the territory. Within a year, almost all Portuguese population had left – some expelled by the government of the newly-independent territory, some fleeing in fear – and Mozambique became independent from Portugal on June 25, 1975.
By mid-1995 the more than 1.7 million Mozambican refugees who had sought asylum in neighbouring Malawi, Zimbabwe, Swaziland, Zambia, Tanzania, and South Africa as a result of war and drought had returned, as part of the largest repatriation witnessed in sub-Saharan Africa. Additionally, a further estimated four million internally displaced persons returned to their areas of origin.
During the 1970s and the early 1980s, Mozambique's foreign policy was inextricably linked to the struggles for majority rule in Rhodesia and South Africa as well as superpower competition and the Cold War. Mozambique's decision to enforce UN sanctions against Rhodesia and deny that country access to the sea led Ian Smith's government to undertake overt and covert actions to destabilize the country. Although the change of government in Zimbabwe in 1980 removed this threat, the government of South Africa continued to finance the destabilization of Mozambique. Mozambique also belonged to the Front Line States.
The 1984 Nkomati Accord, while failing in its goal of ending South African support to RENAMO, opened initial diplomatic contacts between the Mozambican and South African governments. This process gained momentum with South Africa's elimination of apartheid, which culminated in the establishment of full diplomatic relations in October 1993. While relations with neighbouring Zimbabwe, Malawi, Zambia, and Tanzania show occasional strains, Mozambique's ties to these countries remain strong.
In the years immediately following its independence, Mozambique benefited from considerable assistance from some Western countries, notably the Scandinavians. The Soviet Union and its allies, however, became Mozambique's primary economic, military, and political supporters and its foreign policy reflected this linkage. This began to change in 1983; in 1984 Mozambique joined the World Bank and International Monetary Fund. Western aid by the Scandinavian countries of Sweden, Norway, Denmark and Iceland quickly replaced Soviet support. Finland and the Netherlands are becoming increasingly important sources of development assistance. Italy also maintains a profile in Mozambique as a result of its key role during the peace process. Relations with Portugal, the former colonial power, continue to be important, as Portuguese investors play a visible role in Mozambique's economy.
Mozambique is a member of the Non-Aligned Movement and ranks among the moderate members of the African bloc in the United Nations and other international organisations. Mozambique also belongs to the African Union (formerly the Organisation of African Unity) and the Southern African Development Community. In 1994, the government became a full member of the Organisation of the Islamic Conference, in part to broaden its base of international support but also to please the country's sizable Muslim population. Similarly, in early 1996 Mozambique joined its Anglophone neighbours in the Commonwealth of Nations. It is the only nation to join the Commonwealth that was never part of the British Empire. In the same year, Mozambique became a founding member and the first President of the Community of Portuguese Language Countries (CPLP), and maintains close ties with other Lusophone states.
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. To the North of the Zambezi River, the narrow coastline moves inland to hills and low plateaux, and further west to rugged highlands, which include the Niassa highlands, Namuli or Shire highlands, Angonia highlands, Tete highlands and the Makonde plateau. To the 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 Niassa or Malawi, Lake Chiuta and Lake Shirwa, all in the north. The major cities are Maputo, Beira, Nampula, Tete, Quelimane, Chimoio, Pemba, Inhambane, Xai-Xai and Lichinga.
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.
In the 1994 elections. Joaquim Chissano was elected President with 53% of the vote, and a 250-member National Assembly was voted in with 129 Liberation Front of Mozambique (FRELIMO) deputies, 112 Mozambican National Resistance (RENAMO) deputies, and nine representatives of three smaller parties that formed the Democratic Union (UD). Since its formation in 1994, the National Assembly has made progress in becoming a body increasingly more independent of the executive. By 1999, more than one-half (53%) of the legislation passed originated in the Assembly.
After some delays, in 1998 the country held its first local elections to provide for local representation and some budgetary authority at the municipal level. The principal opposition party, RENAMO, boycotted the local elections, citing flaws in the registration process. Independent slates contested the elections and won seats in municipal assemblies. Turnout was very low.
In the aftermath of the 1998 local elections, the government resolved to make more accommodations to the opposition's procedural concerns for the second round of multiparty national elections in 1999. Working through the National Assembly, the electoral law was rewritten and passed by consensus in December 1998. Financed largely by international donors, a very successful voter registration was conducted from July to September 1999, providing voter registration cards to 85% of the potential electorate (more than seven million voters).
The second general elections were held December 3–5, 1999, with high voter turnout. International and domestic observers agreed that the voting process was well organised and went smoothly. Both the opposition and observers subsequently cited flaws in the tabulation process that, had they not occurred, might have changed the outcome. In the end, however, international and domestic observers concluded that the close result of the vote reflected the will of the people.
President Chissano won the presidency with a margin of 4% points over the RENAMO-Electoral Union coalition candidate, Afonso Dhlakama, and began his five-year term in January, 2000. FRELIMO increased its majority in the National Assembly with 133 out of 250 seats. RENAMO-UE coalition won 116 seats, one went independent, and no third parties are represented.
The opposition coalition did not accept the National Election Commission's results of the presidential vote and filed a formal complaint to the Supreme Court. One month after the voting, the court dismissed the opposition's challenge and validated the election results. The opposition did not file a complaint about the results of the legislative vote.
The second local elections, involving thirty-three municipalities with some 2.4 million registered voters, took place in November 2003. This was the first time that FRELIMO, RENAMO-UE, and independent parties competed without significant boycotts. The 24% turnout was well above the 15% turnout in the first municipal elections. FRELIMO won twenty-eight mayoral positions and the majority in twenty-nine municipal assemblies, while RENAMO won five mayoral positions and the majority in four municipal assemblies. The voting was conducted in an orderly fashion without violent incidents. However, the period immediately after the elections was marked by objections about voter and candidate registration and vote tabulation, as well as calls for greater transparency.
In May 2004, the government approved a new general elections law that contained innovations based on the experience of the 2003 municipal elections.
Presidential and National Assembly elections took place on December 1–2, 2004. FRELIMO candidate Armando Guebuza won with 64% of the popular vote. His opponent, Afonso Dhlakama of RENAMO, received 32% of the popular vote. FRELIMO won 160 seats in Parliament. A coalition of RENAMO and several small parties won the 90 remaining seats. Armando Guebuza was inaugurated as the President of Mozambique on February 2, 2005. RENAMO and some other opposition parties made claims of election fraud and denounced the result. These claims were supported by international observers (among others by the European Union Election Observation Mission to Mozambique and the Carter Centre) to the elections who criticised the fact that the National Electoral Commission (CNE) did not conduct fair and transparent elections. They listed a whole range of shortcomings by the electoral authorities that benefited the ruling party FRELIMO. However, according to EU observers, the elections shortcomings have probably not affected the final result in the presidential election. On the other hand, the observers have declared that the outcome of the parliamentary election and thus the distribution of seats in the National Assembly does not reflect the will of the Mozambican people and is clearly to the disadvantage of RENAMO.
The Reporters Without Borders' Worldwide Press Freedom Index 2006 ranked Mozambique 45th out of 168 countries.
The official currency is the New Metical (as of 2007, 1 USD is roughly equivalent to 25 Meticals), which replaced old Meticals in rate thousand to one. The old currency will be redeemed by the Bank of Mozambique until the end of 2012. The US dollar, South African rand, and recently the euro are also widely accepted and used in business transactions. The minimum legal salary is around US$60 per month. Mozambique is member of the Southern African Development Community (SADC). The SADC free trade protocol is aimed at making the Southern African region more competitive by eliminating tariffs and other trade barriers.
The government's tight control of spending and the money supply, combined with financial sector reform, successfully reduced inflation from 70% in 1994 to less than 5% in 1998–99. Economic disruptions stemming from the devastating floods of 2000 caused inflation to jump to 12.7% that year, and it was 13% in 2003. The Mozambique's currency, the Metical (MZN), devaluated by 50% to the dollar in 2001, although in late 2001 it began to stabilize. Since then, it has held steady at about 24,000 MZN to 1 U.S. dollar. New Metical replaced old Meticals in rate thousand to one on January 1 2007 bringing the exchange rate to 25 (new) MZN to 1 USD.
Imports remain almost 40% greater than exports, but this is a significant improvement over the 4:1 ratio of the immediate post-war years. In 2003, imports were $1.24 billion and exports were $910 million. Support programs provided by foreign donors and private financing of foreign direct investment mega-projects and their associated raw materials, have largely compensated for balance-of-payments shortfalls. The medium-term outlook for exports is encouraging, since a number of foreign investment projects should lead to substantial export growth and a better trade balance. MOZAL, a large aluminum smelter that commenced production in mid-2000, has greatly expanded the nation's trade volume. Traditional Mozambican exports include cashews, shrimp, fish, copra, sugar, cotton, tea, and citrus fruits. Most of these industries are being rehabilitated. As well, Mozambique is less dependent on imports for basic food and manufactured goods because of steady increases in local production.
The north-central provinces of Zambezia and Nampula are the most populous, with about 45% of the population. The estimated four million Macua are the dominant group in the northern part of the country; the Sena and Shona (mostly Ndau) are prominent in the Zambezi valley, and the Shangaan (Tsonga) dominate in southern Mozambique. Other groups include Makonde, Yao, Swahili, Tonga, Chopi, and Nguni (including Zulu). Bantu people comprise 99.66% of the population, the remaining 0.34% include Europeans 0.06% (largely of Portuguese ancestry), Euro-Africans 0.7% (mestiço people of mixed Bantu and Portuguese heritage), and Indians 0.08%. During Portuguese colonial rule, a large minority of people of Portuguese descent lived permanently in almost all areas of the country, and Mozambicans with Portuguese blood at the time of independence numbered about 360,000. Most of these left the region after independence from Portugal in 1975. The remaining minorities in Mozambique claim heritage from Pakistan, Portuguese India and Arab countries. There are also some 10,000 Chinese.
Despite the influence of Islamic coastal traders and European colonisers, the people of Mozambique have largely retained an indigenous culture based on small-scale agriculture. Mozambique's most well-known art forms are wood sculpture, for which the Makonde in northern Mozambique are particularly renowned, and dance. The middle and upper classes continue to be heavily influenced by the Portuguese colonial and linguistic heritage.
The Roman Catholic Church has established twelve dioceses (Beira, Chimoio, Gurué, Inhambane, Lichinga, Maputo, Nacala, Nampula, Pemba, Quelimane, Tete, and Xai-Xai - archdioceses are Beira, Maputo and Nampula). Statistics for the dioceses range from a low 7.44% Catholics in the population in the diocese of Chimoio, to 87.50% in Quelimane diocese (2006 official Catholic figures).
Muslims are particularly present in the north of the country. They are organised in several "tariqa" or brotherhoods (of the Qadiriya or Shadhuliyyah branch). Two national organisations also exist - the Conselho Islamico de Moçambique (reformists) and the Congresso Islamico de Mocambique (pro-sufi). There are also important Indo-Pakistani associations as well as some Shia and particularly Ismaili communities.
Among the main Protestant churches are Igreja União Baptista de Moçambique, the Assembleias de Deus, the Seventh-day Adventists, the Anglican Church of Southern Africa, the Igreja do Evangelho Completo de Deus, the Igreja Metodista Unida, the Igreja Presbiteriana de Moçambique, the Igreja de Cristo and the Assembleia Evangélica de Deus. The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints is also present as well as the Jehovah's Witnesses, the Brazilian Igreja Universal do Reino de Deus, Igreja Crista Maranata and the Salvation Army.
Mozambique-Africa's Rising Star: Mozambique's Tourism Sector Is Flourishing Thanks to Legislative Reforms and the Opening of High Quality Hotels and Resorts throughout the Country. Stephen Williams Reports on the Work Still in Progress
Feb 01, 2006; Speaking at a congress of tour and travel agencies being held in Maputo last November, Mozambique's prime minister Luisa...