Brighter Tanzania Foundation

Log in

Africa Files: Mozambique

Tuesday, June 05, 2018 11:41 AM | Jennifer Wisniewski (Administrator)

At a glance:

Population:  30.4 million

Capital:  Maputo

Primary language:  Portuguese

Currency:  Mozambican metical

GDP: 3.7% growth in 2017                      Mozambique Flag  Credit: www.worldatlas.com

Natural resources:  gold, emeralds, copper, iron ore, bauxite, natural gas

Religions:  Roman Catholicism (28%), Islam (17%), Zionist Christian (15.5%), Protestant (12.2%)

Literacy Rate:  47% (total) 28% (women)

Fertility Rate: 5.9 children per woman (one of highest in the world)

Life Expectancy:  58.31 (total) 60.40 (women)  56.12 (men)

Leading Cause of Death:  HIV / AIDS


Geography

Located on the coast of the Indian Ocean, Mozambique is a long, narrow country bordering six other countries:  Tanzania, Malawi, Zambia, Zimbabwe, South Africa, and Swaziland. Its land is mostly coastal lowlands. Plateaus and highlands lie to the west with mountains scattered along the western border.  The country’s largest lake is Lake Malawi. (1)

Map of Southern Africa Credit:Google Maps

History

Bantu-speaking people are believed to be among Mozambique’s earliest inhabitants, 2,000 years ago.  Throughout its history, people from foreign lands arrived, attracted by the land’s rich mineral resources and prominent position along trade routes.  Arabs were the first to arrive, followed by Indians and later the Portuguese. It was gold that lured the Portuguese in the 16th century. By the late 17th century, ivory had replaced gold as the land’s major commodity,  Less than a century later, slaves took over as the major commodity. (3)

Though the Portuguese had colonized what is now known as Mozambique,  it was in 1951 that Portugal declared Mozambique its overseas province.  This led to the formation of nationalist groups which after an armed struggle, gained independence on June 25, 1975.  Following independence, 90 percent of the Portuguese settlers left the area. (4)

Samora Machel served as Mozambique’s first president.  He came to office with Socialist ideas including the forced creation of communal rural villages.  Civil war erupted and continued for 17 years. Much of the infrastructure, including roads, railways, schools and health centers, was destroyed during this time.  Millions fled to neighboring countries, and over 1,000,000 were killed. (4)

In 1990 a new constitution was adopted which embraced a multiparty, democratic system and a free-market economy.

Culture

Traces of Arab, Indian and Portuguese culture remain in Mozambique, most evident perhaps in the Portuguese language still spoken.  (Many indigenous languages and English are also spoken.) It is a blend of many cultures, but the Mozambique people share a love of song, poetry, dance and performance.  They also unite around their favorite sport - football (soccer). (5)

Click to watch children performing a traditional Mozambique dance.

The cuisine of Mozambique has also retained some of its colonialist past.  The Arabs, Indians and Portuguese each brought with them a variety of spices.   One popular Mozambican dish is Matata, a seafood stew using clams in a peanut sauce.  Indeed, with its long coastline, seafood is plentiful. A few staple foods are maize porridge and meat or vegetable stew. (5)

Health and Education

With a high poverty rate, both health and education services are meager, especially in rural areas.  More than half of the population must walk an hour or more to the nearest health facility. Mozambique has one of the lowest doctor/patient ratios in the world:  3 per 100,000 people. Progress has been made in recent years in reducing mortality rates among children 5 and younger and improving access to care. A 97 percent rate of pregnant women receiving prenatal care, at least 1 visit, has also been achieved.  A continuing challenge that Mozambicans face is HIV/AIDS. More than 1 in 10 have been infected. (7)

Education services, too, are scant.  Though 94% of girls attend primary school, more than half drop out by the fifth grade.  Even more dismal - only 1% of the female population goes on to college. Reading achievement among primary schoolchildren is also low.  One positive step the government took in the early 2000s was to eliminate school fees which nearly doubled the school population rate. Because poverty is high in Mozambique, many children must work to help support their families.  One estimate showed a 22 percent child labor rate. (7)


Resources:

1.http://www.worldbank.org/en/country/mozambique/overview

2.http://www.worldbank.org/en/country/mozambique/publication/mozambique-economic-update-making-the-most-of-demographic-change

3.http://www.mozambique.co.za/About_Mozambique-travel/mozambique-facts.html

4.http://thecommonwealth.org/our-member-countries/mozambique/history

5.http://www.mozambique.co.za/About_Mozambique-travel/mozambique-culture.html

6.https://www.indexmundi.com/mozambique/religions.html

7.https://www.usaid.gov/mozambique/education

8.https://www.worldatlas.com/webimage/countrys/africa/mozambique/mzland.htm




Brighter Tanzania Foundation is a registered 501c3 nonprofit organization. Donations may be tax-deductible.

Phone: (608) 886-9160

Address:
8383 Greenway Blvd PMB 633
Middleton, WI 53562

Powered by Wild Apricot Membership Software