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Think. Discuss. Act. Africa

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(Download “Mozambique Overview” as a PDF)

Basic Statistics

  • Total population: 22,894,000 (Ranked 52nd3in the world by the US Census Bureau).
  • National GDP: US $18.7 billion (1998).
  • GDP per capita: US $900.
  • Median Age: 17.4 years.
  • Infant Mortality: 105.8 per 1,000 live births.


  • Location: East coast of southern Africa.
  • Borders: Malawi, South Africa, Swaziland, Tanzania, Zambia, and Zimbabwe.
  • Capital: Maputo.
  • Major cities and population: Maputo, 1,250,000.
  • Area: 309,500 square miles.
  • Topography: Mountains along its western border descend into lower plateaus like stairs down to the coastal lowlands which make up over half of the landscape.
  • 10 Provinces (provincias): Cabo Delgado, Gaza, Inhambane, Manica, Maputo, Nampula, Niassa, Sofala, Tete, Zambezia.


  • Population density: 74.3 people per square mile.
  • Children 0-14: 44.3% (male 4,829,272/female 4,773,209).
  • 15-64: years: 52.8% (male 5,605,227/female 5,842,679)
  • 65 and Older: 2.9% (male 257,119/female 361,772) (2009 est.)
  • Male to female ratio: 102 males per 100 females.
  • Birth rate: 37.99 per 1,000 people.
  • Life expectancy at birth: 41.8 for males and 40.5 for females.
  • Infant mortality rate: 105.8 per 1,000 live births.
  • Official Language: Portuguese.
  • Other Languages: Indigenous dialects.
  • Ethnic Groups: Indigenous tribal groups, 99.66% including the Shangaan, Chokwe, Manyika, Sena, Makua; Europeans, 0.06%; Euro-Africans, 0.2%; Indians, 0.08%.
  • Religious group representation: 52.9% Christian (12,380,100) ,29.9 % Ethnoreligionist (7,000,000), and 16.5% Muslim (3,870,000). Less than one percent are Nonreligious, Hindu, Atheist, Baha’i, or Jew.
  • Education: Compulsory 7-14.
  • Literacy rate: 48%.


  • Currency: Metical.
  • GDP per capita: $900.
  • National GDP: $18.7 billion (2008).
  • Major Industries: food, beverages, chemicals (fertilizer, soap, paints), aluminum, petroleum products, textiles, cement, glass, asbestos, tobacco
  • Chief crops: Cashews, cotton, sugar, corn, cassava, tea.
  • Electricity production: 15.9 billion kWh (2007).
  • TV Sets: 3 per 1,000 people.
  • Radios: 36 per 1,000 people.
  • Telephones: 3.4 per 1,000 people.
  • Daily newspaper circulation: 5 per 1,000 people.


  • Government type: Republic.
  • Head of state: President Armando Gebuza.
  • Head of government: Prime Minister Aires Ali.
  • International organization memberships: United Nations (UN), the Commonwealth, and Organization of African Unity (OAU).
  • Historical Background: The earliest written record regarding Mozambique dates back to the 10th century AD which describes an iron-using people called the Wak Wak. Prior to this, however, the Bantu speaking peoples from Africa had migrated to the area and by the 10th century had developed a rather sophisticated culture that was characterized by farming, raising cattle, and stone enclosures as part of their settlements. In 1498, Vasco da Gamma became the first European to explore the Mozambique area and by 1505, the Portuguese had taken control of Sofala, the major port city of the day. The Portuguese ruled over the area of Mozambique from the 1500s until a 10-year-war against Portugal colonialism provided for Mozambique’s independence in 1975. For 15 years, Mozambique established a communist system of government, which led to economic problems. The 1980s were characterized by severe famine and civil war. The ruling party abandoned communism and ratified a new constitution, allowing for a free-market and multi-party system of government. In 1999 and 2000, Mozambique was devastated by floods. Over a million people were displaced, and over 600 people lost their lives. The country is now in the process of rebuilding.

Trends and Social Issues

Understanding the trends and social issues of a particular country should always take into consideration the opinions of persons within the country. The Center for Youth Studies is looking for contributors from each country to add to our appreciation and understanding of its culture, potential, trends and critical issues. If you have insight as to what is important to Mozambican, then please contact us.

We look forward to hearing the insights on what Mozambicans consider the most important issues facing them. From an outsiders perspective current issues would include the rebuilding after the devastating floods, the AIDS epidemic, the development of the nations infrastructure, evaluation of democracy, and literacy. What are the most important issues for Mozambique today? This will be added as we receive this information.



Barrett, D., Kurian, G., & Johnson, T. (2001). World Christian Encyclopedia 2nd Edition: A Comparative Survey of Churches and Religions in the Modern World. Oxford: University Press.

Turner, B. (2000). The World Today: Essential Facts in an Ever Changing World 2000. New York, NY: St. Marten’s Press.

McGeveran, Jr., W. (Ed.). (2001). The World Almanac and Book of Facts. Mahwah, NJ: World Almanac Books.


“Mozambique”. Microsoft® Encarta® Online Encyclopedia 2001. (5 June. 2001)

US Census Bureau, International Database.

United Nation Statistics Division.

US Central Intelligence Agency. World Factbook.

Questions for Reflection and Discussion

  1. How important do you see Mozambique’s role in southern Africa and in the world?
  2. What most impresses you about the above information?
  3. Do you take issue with any of the above? If so, how would you express it differently?
  4. What strikes you most about the population of Mozambique and its life expectancy? Why?
  5. What do you see as the historical and cultural contributions of Mozambique to the world?
  6. How has Mozambique rebounded from the devastating floods?
  7. What can we learn from Mozambique and the Mozambican people?

Tammy Smith & Jordan Easley

© 2018 CYS

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