Mozambique

An outline

Map of Mozambique

Geography

The south african state of Mozambique is situated on the edge of the Indian Ocean, between Tanzania and South Africa. It is bordered in the West by Malawi, Sambia, Simbabwe and Swasiland, There are approx. 20 million inhabitants living in 10 different provinces of the country which measures 801.580 km˛. The capital Maputo lies deep in the south, the north having consequently undergone much less development than the southern part.

Territory & Climate

The 2,800 km long coastline is especially beautiful.

Moving inland the elevation increases from the broad coastal strip stepwise up to the 1000 m high tableland.

The country’s vegetation is dominated by dry savannah (scrubland) which appears very bleak in the dry season. 80% of the rainfall occurs in the rainy season when the land flourishes.

Countless rivers like the Zambezi flow from the highlands to the Indian Ocean. Unfortunately the rainy season is marked by frequent flooding, which destroys not only villages but also leads to the loss of crops and human lives.

The tropical climate leads to temperatures between 25°C and 35°C all year round.


Population

There are 78 ethnic groups, speaking over 40 different languages, living in Mozambique. 40% of the population belongs to the Makua tribe. Makua is therefore the most important language in the north of the country. The official language Portugese is spoken by only 2.5% of Mozambicans as their mother tongue. However 20% of the population are proficient in it as a second language.

About half of all Mozambicans are illiterate.


Religion

Around 47% of the population practice natural religion. The 35% classified as Christians (mostly Catholics) live mainly in the south of the country. 19% are influenced by islam, their faith however often mixed with animistic elements in the form of a people’s islam.


Social situation & historical background

A history of suffering

After nearly 500 years of portugese colonial rule and subsequent civil war, in 1991 Mozambique had become the poorest country in the world. It took 27 Months of hard but fruitful peace negotiations in 1992 before the country entered calmer waters.

The war had claimed the lives of 1 million people, made 1.7 million refugees abroad and caused another 4 million to be displaced within the country. It also left the infrastructure, economy and health service near to completely destroyed.


Health & life expectancy

The population of Mozambique is comparatively young. 43% of the population is younger than 15 years and only 3% is 65 and over. The average life expectancy is 43 years.

The cause of the high death rate lies, amongst other things, in the lack of knowledge about hygiene, bad living conditions and deficient medical care.



National Day
25. June (Independence from Portugal 1975)
Extent
North-South: 2000 km
East-West: 50-600 km
Currency
Mozambican metical (MZN)
BIP/EW: 369 US$


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