Mozambique Mozambique is a country in southeastern Africa.

Mozambique, a country in southeast Africa. It is bordered on the north by Tanzania; on the east by the Indian Ocean; on the south and southwest by South Africa and Swaziland; on the west by Zimbabwe; and on the northwest by Zambia and Malawi. The area is 302,330 square miles (783,030 km2), including 2,684 square miles (6,952 km2) of Lake Nyasa (Lake Malawi).

Much of the coast is low and swampy. The central and southern regions are higher plains and plateaus. In parts of the west and north, mountains rise from 2,000 to 8,000 feet (600 to 2,400 m) above sea level. Several large rivers—such as the Zambezi, Limpopo, Save, and Lugenda—provide broad valleys but are little used for transportation. Mozambique has a tropical climate with average annual temperatures ranging from 72° F. to 80° F. (22° to 27° C). A wet season with heavy, irregular rains lasts from November to April.

Facts in brief about Mozambique
Capital: Maputo.
Official language: Portuguese.
Official name:Republica de Mocambique (Republic of Mozambique).
Area: 309,496 mi2 (801,590 km2). Coastline~{!*~}1,556 mi (2,504 km). Greatest distances~{!*~}north-south, 1,100 mi (1,770 km); east-west, 680 mi (1,094 km).
Elevation:Highest--Mount Binga, 7,992 ft (2,436 m). Lowest ~{!*~}sea level.
Population:Current estimate~{!*~}20,854,000; density, 67 per mi2 (26 per km2); distribution, 65 percent rural, 35 percent urban. 2006 official government estimate~{!*~}19,888,701.
Chief products: Cashews, cassava, coconuts, cotton, shrimp, sugar cane.
Flag: Mozambique's flag has three wide, horizontal stripes of green, black, and yellow (top to bottom) separated by narrow white bands. To the left is a red triangle with a yellow star. The star holds a book with a hoe and a rifle crossed over it.
Money:Basic unit~{!*~}metical.

Before gaining independence in 1975, Mozambique was largely agricultural. Most of the large farms and businesses were owned and operated by the Portuguese and other white settlers; the black population was engaged primarily in subsistence farming. After independence, most of the white population left and Mozambique suffered from greatly reduced output and a depressed economy. Virtually the entire economy, including agriculture, was nationalized in 1975. A long civil war hampered growth in the 1980's as the country began privatizing much of the economy. The pace of such reforms quickened after the civil war ended in 1992.

A majority of the people are engaged in farming, mostly at the subsistence level. An estimated half-a-million land mines left over from the civil war make farming hazardous, however. The chief cash crops are cashews, coconuts, cassava, tea, sugar, and cotton. Manufacturing is concentrated in Maputo and Beira. The main products are processed foods, textiles, beverages, and cement. Mozambique has considerable mineral resources, but only a small number of these, such as coal, are mined commercially. The sale to neighboring countries of hydroelectric power, particularly that generated by the Cabora Bassa Dam on the Zambezi River, is important to the economy.

Mozambique has a well-developed rail network. The road system, however, is poor. The main ports are at Maputo and Beira. Transshipment of goods from nearby countries to Mozambican ports is an important source of revenue. During the 1980's, however, transshipments were severely disrupted by guerrilla attacks. Mozambique's main airport is at Maputo.

People and Government

There are about 51 persons to the square mile (20 per km2) in Mozambuque, less than two-thirds the population density of the United States. Maputo is the capital and largest city. Except for a small number of Europeans (mostly Portuguese) and Asians (Indians and Chinese), most of the people are Africans belonging to various Bantu groups. Most of the Africans practice animism, but some are Christians or Muslims.

All schools are maintained by the central government. Education is free, but there are not enough facilities for all who desire schooling. About 60 per cent of the adult population cannot read or write. The government is working to raise the literacy rate through an extensive system of adult education. There is a university at Maputo.

Under the constitution of 1990 Mozambique is a republic headed by a president. He is directly elected for a five-year term. He appoints the prime minister and cabinet, which is called the Council of Ministers. The Council of Ministers is headed by the prime minister. Mozambique's national legislature is the Assembly of the Republic, whose members are directly elected for five-year terms. The Supreme Court is the highest judicial body. Mozambique is divided into 11 provinces, including the capital city of Maputo.