Africa

Mozambique country profile

  • 14 January 2016
  • From the section Africa
Map of Mozambique

Mozambique, which gained independence from Portugal in 1975, is still suffering from the effects of a 16-year civil war that ended in 1992.

Tensions remain between the ruling Frelimo party and the opposition former rebel movement Renamo and corruption has become a major concern.

The discovery of gas fields off Mozambique's coast in 2011 is set to transform the economy of one of Africa's poorest nations.

But despite recent economic growth, more than half of Mozambique's 24 million people continue to live below the poverty line.

FACTS

The Republic of Mozambique

Capital: Maputo

  • Population 24.5 million

  • Area 812,379 sq km (313,661 sq miles)

  • Languages Portuguese (official), several indigenous languages, including Makhuwa

  • Major religions Christianity, indigenous beliefs, Islam

  • Life expectancy 50 years (men), 52 years (women)

  • Currency metical

Getty Images

LEADER

President: Filipe Nyusi

Image copyright Getty Images

Filipe Nyusi, of the ruling party Frelimo party, was sworn in as president in January 2015.

Two months later he succeeded former president Armando Guebuza as party leader, representing a change in guard in Frelimo which has dominated politics in Mozambique since it won independence from Portugal in 1975.

During his election campaign, Mr Nyusi pledged to transform Mozambique, one of Africa's poorest nations. He now presides over a country on the cusp of tapping newly discovered offshore gas fields, set to transform Mozambique's economy.

MEDIA

Image copyright Getty Images
Image caption Mozambique has several Indian Ocean islands which attract tourists

Television is the most popular medium in Mozambique.

State-run radio and private FM stations operate alongside dozens of government and Unesco-funded community radio and TV stations.

Print media have little influence given the high levels of illiteracy.

Press freedom is legally protected but according to a 2105 report by US-based Freedom House, many journalists practice self-censorship.

TIMELINE

Some key dates in Mozambique's history:

Image copyright Getty Images
Image caption Mozambique's Portuguese influence is much in evidence in the capital Maputo

1752 - Portugal colonizes Mozambique.

1891 - Portugal hands over the administration of the region to the Mozambique Company, a private business.

1962-74 Independence struggle: Front for the Liberation of Mozambique (Frelimo) formed.

1975 - Independence: Frelimo rules under single-party system with leader Samora Machel as president.

1976-92 - Civil war.

1986 - President Machel is killed in an air crash, Joachim Chissano installed as president.

1990 - Constitution amended allowing multi-party system.

1992 - UN-brokered peace deal ends fighting between Frelimo and the rebel Mozambique National Resistance (Renamo).

1994 - First multi-party elections, Joachim Chissano is re-elected president.

2004 - President Joaquim Chissano steps down after 18 years in office, succeeded by Armando Guebuza.

2011 - Discovery of natural gas set to transform Mozambique's economic landscape.

2015 - Mozambique declares itself free of landmines, a legacy of the civil war.

Image copyright Getty Images
Image caption Samora Machel was leader of Mozambique's independence movement

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