BEST OF MOZAMBIQUE – Volume 1 received nation-wide interest and succeeded in further promoting this beautiful country across the world. We continue this showcase with our second edition through a multitude of new and unfolding opportunities.”
The country entering a season of growth. It has long been renowned for its bounty of natural beauty, cultural heritage and rich history. But the economic climate is seeing rapid growth with changes spurred on by gas discoveries.
A land long rich in agricultural potential, it is now not only tourism and agriculture which are the top drivers of the economy.
With mineral expansion comes infrastructure development.
We continue to explore these areas through the pages of BEST OF MOZAMBIQUE – Volume 2 – with a vivid display of the best in Mozambican business, industry and tourism.
Mozambique at a Glance
With one of the most unspoilt and picturesque coastlines in Africa, it is no surprise that Mozambique is at the heart of southern Africa’s beach tourism. But the bounty of the coast doesn’t just lie in its obvious beauty; it is also yielding some of the greatest gas reserves in the world. The Mozambican economy has been on the rise over the last few years and it has now begun to see dramatic changes in its infrastructure landscape.
Provinces / Províncias:
(North / Norte)
Niassa, Cabo Delgado, Nampula;
(Centre / Centro)
Zambezia, Tete, Manica, Sofala;
(South / Sul)
Inhambane, Gaza, Maputo
Population / População:
22,061,451 (2010 est.)
Main Languages Spoken:
Portuguese 9% (official second language of 27%), Emakhuwa 26%, Xichangana 11%, Elomwe 8%, Cisena 7%, Echuwabo 6%, other Mozambican languages 33%
Christian 56%, Islam 18%, Zionist Christian 18%, none 23% Religiões Principais: Cristãos 56%, Islão 18%, Cristão Zionistas 18%, Nenhuma 23%
Aluminium, prawns, cashews, cotton, sugar, citrus, timber; bulk electricity
Coal, titanium, natural gas, hydropower, tantalum, graphite
agriculture 28.7%; industry 24.9%; services 46.4% (2013 est. www.cia.gov)
Mozambique’s economy has always been largely centred on agriculture. However, fast growing industries include food and beverages, chemical manufacturing, aluminium and petroleum production, and most especially tourism. With new gas discoveries, this industry – along with the repercussions on building and infrastructure – is set to become a new big earner.
Coal and oil reserves have also been uncovered and are forecast to become major contributors to the Gross Domestic Product (GDP).
South Africa is Mozambique’s major trading partner, which holds the majority of direct foreign investment. Other key partners include Portugal, Spain and Belgium.
Mozambique has been enjoying high annual average GDP growth over the last decade – one of the best performers in the world.
The country was named Moçambique by the Portuguese after the Island of Mozambique, which was named after the first Arab trader to visit the island – known as Musa Al Big or Mossa Al Bique or Mussa Ben Mbiki.
The first migrants to Mozambique were Bantu speakers in the first millennium. They were later followed by Arab and Swahili traders who settled in the region. The Portuguese explorer Vasco da Gama landed in Mozambique in 1498.
Since the mid-1990s, there has been noticeable growth, following the introduction of multi-party elections and a free-market economy.
As a firm part of the Southern African Development Community (SADC), Mozambique’s diplomatic ties to South Africa, Zimbabwe, Malawi, Zambia, and Tanzania remain strong.
As a member, Mozambique benefits from the SADC free trade protocol aimed at making the southern African region more competitive by eliminating tariffs and other trade barriers.
The country also still enjoys strong Scandinavian ties after Sweden, Norway, Denmark and Iceland assisted the newly independent Mozambique. Finland and the Netherlands increasingly assist in Mozambique’s development.
Portuguese relations are still vital to Mozambique and a great amount of investment still comes from the Portuguese.
Italy also played a role in Mozambique’s road to peace and still has a presence in the country.
Mozambique joined the World Bank and International Monetary Fund (IMF) in 1984.
The World Bank and the IMF have talked of Mozambique’s rapid economic growth as a sub-Saharan success story.
The official currency in Mozambique is the New Metical.
In 2012, large natural gas reserves were discovered in Mozambique; revenues from which might dramatically change the economy.
Forbes listed the Agulha/Coral gas discoveries offshore Mozambique by Eni (700 million BOE each), as the Biggest Oil and Gas Discovery of 2013.
Preliminary estimates from Agulha show that the structure could contain 5 to 7-Trillion cubic feet of gas – opening a new exploration area in the southern part of Area 4. Area 4 lies around 80km from the coast of Cabo Delgado.
The Agulha well, which was the 10th well drilled in Area 4, in 2,492 meters of water and a total depth of 6,203 meters, led to the discovery,. Exploration here has so far received a 100% success rate, and the drilling of three additional wells is foreseen in 2014.
Mozambique is rising from the ashes.
This economic stability has been due to government’s efforts in macro-economic reforms, donor assistance and political stability.
Real GDP growth in 2013 was at 7% – hampered only by severe floods early in the year. In 2014, growth is projected at 8.5% and 8.2% in 2015, driven by coal production increases, massive infrastructure projects, and increase in budget.
In 2013, the fastest growing sectors were the extractive sector (after a boost in coal exports) and the financial sector (after credit expansion and increased income). There has also been growth in construction, services, transport, communication, and infrastructure.
Expansion has largely been centred on urban areas.
Of Mozambique’s mega projects, the Mozal aluminium smelting project was the first major foreign investment project for the
country and has increased export earnings.
New investment has gone into titanium mining and garment manufacture – with massive infrastructure investment looming after the unfolding gas boom which offers the promise of sustainable economic growth.
In order to further drive economic growth, the Millennium Challenge Corporation (MCC) is financing projects to improve infrastructure, develop agriculture and improve business regulation.
The Capital – Maputo
Mozambique’s major cities and towns are Beira, Nampula, Tete, Quelimane, and Maputo. Maputo is Mozambique’s largest city and administrative, communications and commercial centre and was founded at the end of the 18th century. In 1898 it became the capital of Mozambique and its name was only changed to Maputo after independence.
Maputo city is located within Maputo Province and is situated on the west side of Maputo Bay at the mouth of the Tembe River. The bay is 95km long and 30km wide.
Maputo’s port is the largest port in the Indian Ocean and it is the dominant feature of the local economy. Exports from Maputo Bay include coal, cotton, sugar, chrome, ore, sisal, copra and hardwood products.
The country’s recent discoveries in gas and coal have generated great interest from multinational companies and foreign investors. A direct result for this in Maputo has been the property and construction boom. As part of the Maputo Development Corridor, Maputo is directly connected to South Africa’s landlocked provinces of Mpumalanga, Gauteng and Limpopo.
With a surge of expatriates taking up residence, Maputo is now filled with restaurants and shops and offers visitors the opportunity to savour the tastes, sights and sounds of Mozambican life. Fresh seafood can be sampled whilst sitting outside in the sea breeze. There are a number of varying resorts available to visitors of any budget.
There are a number of bars, restaurants, cinemas and casinos for those seeking nightlife and entertainment.
Mozambique stretches for 2,470km along Africa’s southeast coast.
Tanzania is to the north; Malawi, Zambia, and Zimbabwe to the west; and South Africa and Swaziland to the south. The country mostly occupies a low-lying plateau with 25 large rivers flowing into the Indian Ocean – the largest being the Zambezi.
The Zambezi River divides the country into two topographical regions. The north features hills and low plateaus, which turn into rugged highlands further west – including the Niassa highlands, Namuli or Shire highlands, Angonia highlands, Tete highlands and the Makonde plateau covered with Miombo woodland. The south features the broader lowlands, with the Mashonaland plateau and Lebombo Mountains in the far south.
The Mozambique Channel generates the warm currents of the Indian Ocean running between South Africa and Tanzania – right up the length of Mozambique.
Mozambique has four large lakes, all in the north: Lake Niassa (or Malawi), Lake Chiuta, Lake Cahora Bassa and Lake Shirwa.
Mozambique has a tropical climate with two seasons: the wet cyclone season from October to March and the dry season from April to September. Annual rainfall ranges between 500 and 900mm and temperature ranges from 13 to 24°C in July to 22 to 31°C in February. The north tends to be hotter.
Agriculture employs around 80% of the country’s labour force – the largest employment sector.
It contributes to 28.7% of the GDP. The majority of the Mozambican population takes part in small-scale agriculture. This sector requires further adequate infrastructure and investment.
However, 88% of Mozambique’s arable land is still uncultivated. The Mozambican agricultural sector mainly comprises of cotton, cashew nuts, sugarcane, tea, cassava, corn, coconuts, sisal, citrus and tropical fruits, potatoes, sunflowers, beef, and poultry.
Arts and Culture
The unique blended culture of the East African coastline was formed after early Arab traders made their way down to Mozambique and intermingled with local African tribes. This was how the Swahili language was formed.
This hybrid culture has stood the test of time and is still predominant throughout East Africa – with a strong influence most notably in northern Mozambique.
The people of Mozambique use music for religious expression as well as in traditional ceremonies. It remains an important part of Mozambican culture and the sounds of the marimba seem to resonate around the country.
Instruments are handmade with materials including wood and animal skin for drums, animal horns or wood for the woodwind instrument lupembe, and wood for the marimba – a xylophone native to Mozambique.
Popular music types in Mozambique include marrabenta and maxixe.
Mozambicans are renowned for their wood carving skills. These are often seen in the elaborate masks which are used in traditional dances. These have become popular curios for tourists and many are highly sought-after.
Mozambican traditional dance is typically ritualistic and there may be small variations in style between tribes. Some of the most renowned and eye-catching of these are the battle enactment dances in animal skins of the Chopi tribe (from the south-central coastal region), as well as the colourful dance of the Makua tribe performed in masks and stilts.
Food is an important part of many celebrations and ceremonies.
The Portuguese Introduced the three food most prominent in Mozambican cooking – cassava, cashew nuts (the country once the largest producer of cashews), and bread rolls. Pineapple, peanuts, sugarcane, maize, millet, rice, sorghum, and potatoes found their way to Mozambique in the same way.
The diet of rural residents is founded on the cassava root, which is called mandioca in Portuguese. It is used baked, dried, or mashed with water to form porridge. Most commonly it is ground into coarse flour along with corn – Mozambique’s other staple food.
Mozambican food is evident in its spices, chicken and breads. Along the coast, the cuisine is more varied and Portuguese-influenced than it is inland.
Popular dishes common in Mozambique are Prego (steak roll), rissóis (battered prawn), espetada (kebab), pudim (dessert), and frango de piripiri (piri-piri chicken).
Coastal dishes include more fruit, rice, and seafood – such as macaza (grilled shellfish kabobs), bacalhau (dried salted cod fish) and chocos (squid cooked with its own ink).
Food is seasoned with peppers, onions, and coconut. Palm wine (shema) is a popular drink
Mozambique has been a crossroads for a number of civilisations for centuries.
This is now reflected in the country’s diverse culture.
Major influences have come from the early Arab traders and Portuguese. Its history is forever marked in various forts, buildings and monuments across the county. Relics of the devastating civil war remain as a constant reminder of the value of peace.
The hiving streets of Maputo contrast slightly to the pace of the colourful local markets and small fishing villages dotted across the coastline. The coastline remains the country’s greatest touristic attraction – which is understandable considering the 3000km of pristine coastline running from Ponta do Ouro in the south to the Rovuma River on the border of Tanzania in the north.
Near here is the UNESCO World Heritage Site of Ilha de Mozambique.
The picture-perfect tropical beaches along this coastline are met by the warm Indian Ocean currents of the Mozambique Channel – teeming with coral reefs and an abundance of tropical fish. As a result, these numerous reefs have become a major attraction with diving enthusiasts from around the world. The coast is intermittently dotted with several islands which all offer a variety of resorts.
Most notable in this chain of islands are those of the Bazaruto Archipelago – including Magaruque Island, Benguera Island, Bazaruto Island and Santa Carolina (Paradise Island). Deep orange sunsets are met with the shadow of passing fishing Dhows – which are prevalent around the waters of the islands. This fishing tradition has been preserved for centuries.
The best time to visit Mozambique is in the dry season from April to September.
Daily temperatures average at about 27°C near the coast.
The best beaches however are rumoured to be Pemba beach and those found at Quirimbas Archipelago. On the mainland, favourite towns include Inhambane and Gaza. Inhambane is popular for Tofo. Gaza on the other hand is most notable for its beaches, Bilene and Xai-Xai – offering some of the country’s best self-catering resorts.
Further inland is the beautiful Lake Niassa (Lake Malawi), which borders Tanzania, Mozambique and Malawi. Gorongosa Park in the North offers a true African cultural and wildlife experience.
Mozambique’s relaxed pace of life does not reflect its rapid economic climb.