Mozambique, officially the “Republic of Mozambique” is a country in Southeast 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. The capital city is Maputo (known as Lourenço Marques before Independence).
Humans settled in Mozambique Between the 1st and 5th centuries AD, Bantu-speaking peoples migrated from farther north and west. Swahili, and later also Arab, commercial ports existed along the coasts until the arrival of Europeans. The area was explored by Vasco da Gama in 1498 and colonized by Portugal in 1505. Mozambique became independent in 1975, and became the People’s Republic of Mozambique shortly thereafter. It was the scene of an intense civil war lasting from 1977 to 1992.
Mozambique is now a multi-party democracy under the 1990 constitution. The executive branch comprises a president, prime minister, and Council of Ministers. There is a National Assembly and municipal assemblies. The judiciary comprises a Supreme Court and provincial, district, and municipal courts. Mozambique’s Current president, is Armando Guebuza.
The official currency is the Metical, 1 US Dollar is roughly equivalent to 30 Meticais. The US Dollar, South African Rand, and the Euro are also widely accepted and used in business transactions. The minimum legal salary is around US$60 per month. Mozambique is a 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 only official language of Mozambique is Portuguese, with roughly half of the population speaking it as a second language and few as a first language. Languages widely spoken natively include Swahili, Makhuwa, and Sena.
The largest religion in Mozambique is Christianity, with significant Muslim and African traditional religious minorities.
Mozambique is endowed with rich and extensive natural resources. The country’s economy is based largely on agriculture, but with industry, mainly food and beverages, chemical manufacturing, aluminum and petroleum production, is growing. The country’s tourism sector is also growing. In recent years Mozambique’s annual average GDP growth has been among the world’s top ten. It still has, however, one of the lowest GDP per capita, one of the worst human development index and inequality ratings and one of the world’s worst average life expectancies.
Mozambique is divided into ten provinces Cabo Delgado, Gaza, Inhambane, Manica, Maputo, Nampula, Niassa, Sofala, Tete, Zambezia and one capital city, with provincial status. The provinces are subdivided into 129 districts. The districts are further divided in 405 Administrative Posts and then into Localities, the lowest geographical level of the central state administration. Since 1998, 43 Municipalities have also been created. At 309,475 sq mi (801,537 km2), Mozambique is the world’s 35th-largest country.
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 plateaus, and further west to rugged highlands, which include the Niassa highlands, Namuli or Shire highlands, Angonia highlands, Tete highlands and the Makonde plateau, covered withmiombo woodlands. To the south of the Zambezi River, the lowlands are broader with the Mashonaland plateau and Lebombo 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 four notable lakes: Lake Niassa (or Malawi), Lake Chiuta, Lake Cahora Bassa 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 (19.7 to 35.4 in) depending on the region, with an average of 590 mm (23.2 in). Cyclones are common during the wet season. Average temperature ranges in Maputo are from 13 to 24 °C (55.4 to 75.2 °F) in July to 22 to 31 °C (71.6 to 87.8 °F) in February