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Mozambique General Profile

Mozambique, on the east coast of southern Africa, is mainly a savanna plateau drained by the mighty Limpopo and Zambezi Rivers, with highlands to the north. It has a tropical climate that can produce heavy flooding along the rivers. In 2001 flooding along the Zambezi River valley forced 70,000 people to flee their homes, and the World Bank estimated that a total of 491,000 were displaced by floods throughout the country. Most people live along the coasts or in the river valleys.
Infusions of aid are essential to a country devastated by decades of war, drought, and floods. After nearly five centuries of Portuguese presence, Mozambique won independence in 1975. An exodus of skilled Portuguese workers followed, and the country became a one-party state allied to the Soviet bloc. Mozambique was drawn into a long struggle against white rule in Rhodesia and South Africa. In 1989 the government renounced Marxism, and a democratic constitution was written in 1990. Fighting between the government and right-wing guerrillas, which claimed a hundred thousand lives and displaced more than four million, ended in 1992. In 1994 multiparty elections ushered in a new government, which has focused on diversifying the country’s economy away from small-scale agriculture. Production of food and manufactured goods is steadily increasing, and a large-scale aluminum smelter started in 2000. Solid economic success bodes well for the future.

Area: 302,737 sq mi
Population: 25,042,000(2014)
Official Country Language: Portuguese
Other Language Groups:Cishona, Xitswa, Xironga, Chichewa, Cinyungwe, Cicopi,
Ciyao, Shimakonde, Ekoti, Kimwani, Swahili, Swazi, Zulu.
Cities & Towns :
Maputo(Capital), Beira, Angoche, Bilene, Catandica, Chibuto, Chicualacuala, Chimoio, Chinde, Chokwé Cuamba, Dondo, Gurúè, Inhambane, Lichinga, Manica, Marracuene,Matola, Maxixe, Moatize, Moçambique, Mocímboa da Praia, Mocuba, Montepuez, Mueda, Naamcha, Nacala, Nampula, Palma, Pemba, Ponta d’Ouro, Quelimane, Tete, Vilankulo, Xai-Xai & Zavala


Currency


The Mozambican Metical is the currency of Mozambique. MZN Stats Name: Mozambican Metical Symbol: MT Minor Unit: 1/100 = Centavo Central Bank Rate: 0.00 Top MZN Conversion: USD/MZN Top MZN Chart: USD/MZN Chart MZN Profile Inflation: 2.30% Coins: Freq Used: MT1, MT2, MT5, MT10, 5, 10, 50 Banknotes: Freq Used: MT20, MT50, MT100, MT200, MT500, MT1000.


Mozambique Country History
Probably hunters and gatherers, ancestors of the Khoisan peoples, lived in what is now Mozambique since about 4000 B.C., and Bantu-speaking people settled there before A.D. 100. Before the fourth century A.D., the southward and eastward migrations of iron-working Bantu peoples absorbed these original nomadic peoples. During the eighth century A.D., Arab merchants settled on the Mozambican coast trading in gold, ivory, and slaves. In 1497 the Portuguese navigator Vasco Da Gama landed on the coast of Mozambique, and in 1505 Portuguese settlers occupied the Muslim settlement on the Ilha de Moçambique, making it a slave-trading center and part of its maritime empire. The Portuguese brought gold from the mines on the Zimbabwe plateau to India to purchase the spices that ensured Portugal’s prosperity during the sixteenth century. In 1884, when Africa was divided among various European powers, Angola on the Atlantic Ocean and Mozambique on the Indian became recognized as Portuguese colonies. During the early years of Portuguese activity and expansion into the African interior towards the Kingdom of Munhumutapa, which assured the supply of gold and slaves, the Roman Catholic Church, too, gained access to the region. In 1561 the Jesuit missionary Gonçalo de Silveira baptised the Munhumutapa Negomo. Silveira was later accused of being a spy for the Portuguese and was killed. The Jesuits, however, continued to be missionaries and an educational presence in the area until they were expelled from Portuguese territory in 1759; the Jesuit school at Sena, the depot established on the trade route between the coast and Tete, had to be closed, thus terminating the cultural ties the prazeros (originally Portuguese recipients of land leased from the Portuguese crown who later became Africanized) had with Portugal. During the 1780s the prazeros expanded slaving operations in Mozambique, and by 1790 approximately 9,000 slaves were being exported each year—primarily to Brazil, but also to Yao and to Swahili traders who worked the Indian Ocean markets. This figure rose to 15,000 slaves per year during the 1820s and 1830s. The slave trade became Mozambique’s most important business and resulted in the depopulation especially of the coastal areas. The slave trade drew to an end only after the publication of reports on the conditions in Mozambique by the missionary-explorer David Livingstone. A decree of total abolition was published in 1878. Despite the abolition of slavery, Africans were forced to work long hours with very little pay for the Portuguese colonists. Often food was withheld so people were compelled to work. Cotton and other cash crops, grown for sale to the Chartered Companies—which had been granted concessionary rights to develop land and natural resources, forced labor, and the sale of labor to other parts of Africa—resulted in the retardation of development in Mozambique. The construction of the railroad linking the port of Beira with the present-day Zimbabwe, the settling of Portuguese families, and the building of schools and hospitals did not benefit the African population at all. Neither education nor health-care was available to those who were not Portuguese. A massive flight to the neighboring colonies resulted in further depopulation. In 1891 a treaty establishing the boundaries between British and Portuguese holdings in southeast Africa was negotiated and, in 1910, the status of Mozambique changed from that of Portuguese province to Portuguese colony. In 1962 several nationalist groups united to form the Front for the Liberation of Mozambique (Frente de Libertação de Moçambique or FRELIMO) under the leadership of Eduardo Mondlane, who was assassinated in Dar es Salaam in 1969. After 1964 FRELIMO initiated guerrilla warfare in northern Mozambique and by the early 1970s controlled much of northern and central Mozambique. In June 1975, a year after a military coup overthrew the government in Portugal, Mozambique became an independent nation. The exodus of Europeans after independence brought about a tremendous brain drain. FRELIMO established a single-party socialist state and instituted health and education reforms. Many of those who disagreed with the new direction taken in Mozambique formed the Mozambique National Resistance Movement (RENAMO or MNR). The actions of RENAMO led to a 16-year war that killed millions and destroyed 50 percent of the primary schools in the rural areas and several teacher-training centers. Since the Peace Accord signed in 1992, specific rehabilitation and restructuring programs attempt to make education more available at all levels.


Mozambique Visas
Passport holders and travelers coming from countries which do not have visa exemption need to be aware of the legislation, particularly in respect of border visas (those visas which can at times be purchased on entry into the country). Border visas are only issued to people travelling for purposes of tourism, AND only for people coming from countries where there is no Mozambican consular representation. People travelling for tourism purposes and coming from countries which do not have a Mozambican consular representation must present on entry: a passport with at least 6 months validity and several blank pages; a return air ticket (for air travelers) and a confirmed hotel reservation. There is a possibility that a border visa will be approved on arrival for someone coming from a country with a Mozambican consulate who has not had time to apply for a visa, but only if they can demonstrate that they have an urgent need for the visa, for example on compassionate grounds. Note that the issue of a visa in this case is discretionary. If a person is travelling for work purposes they must obtain a work or business visa before travelling. If a person is travelling from a country which has a Mozambican consulate which issues visas then a work, business or tourism visa must be applied for before travelling. Travellers to Mozambique should ensure that they obtain their visas prior to traveling in order to avoid any delays and frustrations at the airport on arrival.


Mozambique’s Economy
At independence in 1975, Mozambique was one of the world’s poorest countries. Socialist mismanagement and a brutal civil war from 1977-92 exacerbated the situation. In 1987, the government embarked on a series of macroeconomic reforms designed to stabilize the economy. These steps, combined with donor assistance and with political stability since the multi-party elections in 1994, propelled the country’s GDP from $4 billion in 1993, following the war, to about $30.9 billion in 2014. Fiscal reforms, including the introduction of a value-added tax and reform of the customs service, have improved the government’s revenue collection abilities. In spite of these gains, more than half the population remains below the poverty line. Subsistence agriculture continues to employ the vast majority of the country’s work force. A substantial trade imbalance persists although aluminum production from the Mozal smelter has significantly boosted export earnings in recent years. In 2012, The Mozambican government took over Portugal’s last remaining share in the Cahora Bassa Hydroelectricity Company (HCB), a significant contributor to the Southern African Power Pool. The government has plans to expand the Cahora Bassa Dam and build additional dams to increase its electricity exports and fulfill the needs of its burgeoning domestic industries. Mozambique’s once substantial foreign debt has been reduced through forgiveness and rescheduling under the IMF’s Heavily Indebted Poor Countries (HIPC) and Enhanced HIPC initiatives, and is now at a manageable level. In July 2007, the US government’s Millennium Challenge Corporation (MCC) signed a $506.9 million Compact with Mozambique that ended in 2013. The Compact focused on improving sanitation, roads, agriculture, and the business regulation environment in an effort to spur economic growth in the four northern provinces of the country. Citizens rioted in September 2010 after fuel, water, electricity, and bread price increases were announced. In an attempt to lessen the negative impact on the population, the government implemented subsidies, decreased taxes and tariffs, and instituted other fiscal measures. Mozambique grew at an average annual rate of 6%-8% in the decade up to 2014, one of Africa’s strongest performances. Mozambique’s ability to attract large investment projects in natural resources is expected to extend high growth rates in coming years. Revenues from these vast resources, including natural gas, coal, titanium and hydroelectric capacity, could overtake donor assistance within five years.


Health Safety Measures
All travelers should be up to date on routine vaccinations while traveling to any destination. Some vaccines may also be required for travel. Make sure you are up-to-date on routine vaccines before every trip. These vaccines include measles-mumps-rubella (MMR) vaccine, diphtheria-tetanus-pertussis vaccine, varicella (chickenpox) vaccine, polio vaccine, and your yearly flu shot get vaccinated hygiene. Get travel vaccines and medicines because there is a risk of these diseases in the country you are visiting. Hepatitis A: CDC recommends this vaccine because you can get hepatitis A through contaminated food or water in Mozambique, regardless of where you are eating or staying. Malaria: You will need to take prescription medicine before, during, and after your trip to prevent malaria. Your doctor can help you decide which medicine is right for you, and also talk to you about other steps you can take to prevent malaria. See more detailed information about malaria in Mozambique.antimalarial_meds avoid_insects Typhoid: You can get typhoid through contaminated food or water in Mozambique. CDC recommends this vaccine for most travelers, especially if you are staying with friends or relatives, visiting smaller cities or rural areas, or if you are an adventurous eater. Travelers N.B.: Ask your doctor what vaccines and medicines you need based on where you are going, how long you are staying, what you will be doing. Hepatitis B: You can get hepatitis B through sexual contact, contaminated needles, and blood products, so CDC recommends this vaccine if you might have sex with a new partner, get a tattoo or piercing, or have any medical procedures get vaccinated, avoid bodily fluids and avoid-non-sterile-equipment. Rabies: Rabies can be found in dogs, bats, and other mammals in Mozambique, so CDC recommends this vaccine for the following groups: Travelers involved in outdoor and other activities (such as camping, hiking, biking, adventure travel, and caving) that put them at risk for animal bites. People who will be working with or around animals (such as veterinarians, wildlife professionals, and researchers). People who are taking long trips or moving to Mozambique Children, because they tend to play with animals, might not report bites, and are more likely to have animal bites on their head and neck. Yellow Fever: There is no risk of yellow fever in Mozambique. The government of Mozambique requires proof of yellow fever vaccination only if you are arriving from a country with risk of yellow fever. This does not include the US. If you are traveling from a country other than the US, check this list to see if you may be required to get the yellow fever vaccine: Countries with risk of yellow fever virus (YFV) transmission. For more information on recommendations and requirements, see yellow fever recommendations and requirements for Mozambique. Your doctor can help you decide if this vaccine is right for you based on your travel plans.


Culture & Life
One of the many Tribes Called Makonde. Many customs in Mozambique are rooted in the culture of local groups, passed down by the generations. Local culture affects how people practise their religious beliefs, healing methods, rites of passage for young men and women, and how they deal with their community leaders. Song and dance play an important part in many local customs and ceremonies. Local dance ceremonies include the hunting dance of the Chopi, where the dancers dress in lion skins, the ‘hopping’ dance of the Makua men who move around on tall stilts and the tofudance of Mozambique Island and the northern coast. In Tete, a common dance is nyanga, where the dancer sings and plays the panpipes (also called the nyanga). Another dance of the region is the Nyau Gule Wamkulu Dance. Perhaps the most well-known example of a local ceremony is the mapiko dance of the Makonde people, who live in northern Mozambique. The men cover themselves with cloth and wear carved wooden masks. Here, they represent spirits who come to frighten the local women. The dance is said to have grown out of male attempts to challenge the power of their women, because the Makonde are a matrilineal society (as explained below). As well as carving Mapiko masks, the Makonde are also known for their wood sculptures. These often include a number of figures for stories about the generations. This type of sculpture is known as “family trees”. Mothers or fathers? When it comes to cultural differences, there is one main distinction between groups. In southern Mozambique, groups such as the Thonga are patrilineal, where families trace their descent through the male line. But in northern areas of the country, many groups are matrilineal. This means males trace their ancestry back through their mother. In these groups, it is common for husbands to live near their wife’s family. Different religions Mozambique has a mixture of religions. Around a third of Mozambicans are Christian, with Roman Catholicism the major denomination. Around a quarter are Muslims, mainly in the northern regions. Nearly half the population practises traditional animist beliefs, where the spirits of ancestors can affect the lives of the living. Many groups also believe in an all-powerful God, as well as spirits. Therefore, it is not unusual for traditional beliefs to be incorporated into Christianity.


Cuisine
Mozambican cuisine is rich and varied, reflecting both its traditional roots as well as outside influences. Flavourful spicy stews eaten with rice or steamed cornmeal dough are common. Like most African nations, fish is also a key part of the national diet, and can be incorporated into a number of dishes, fresh, smoked or dried. Like its African neighbors, Mozambique is also blessed with a wide variety of fruits, including citrus produce (such as oranges and grapefruits), bananas, mangoes and coconuts which are enjoyed throughout the nation.


Corruption
The pervasiveness of corruption is widely recognized. Mozambique’s international rankings on the main corruption indexes have not improved significantly over the past decade. Nearly half of Mozambican’s believe that corruption is a serious problem and one third believe that the situation has become worse over the past two years. Specifically on the extractive sector, Mozambique received a “failing” score on the 2013 Resource Governance Index. Given the lack of effective anti-corruption institutions, increasing inward investment is undoubtedly making the problem worse. Furthermore, the risks of corruption in the extractive sector have significantly increased as a result of the sector laws on Mining and Petroleum passed by Parliament in 2014. In both cases, these laws expand what are known as “local content” obligations. Specifically, companies providing services to extractive sector operations must be associated with Mozambican companies (Article 41 of Petroleum Law and Article 34 of Mining Law).

 

 

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