Info on Mozambique
Location: Southeastern Africa, between South Africa and Tanzania.
Total area: 799,380 sq km
Land boundaries with Malawi, South Africa, Swaziland, Tanzania, Zambia, Zimbabwe, in total of 4,571 km.
Highest point: Monte Binga, 2,436 m
Almost five centuries as a Portuguese colony came to a close with independence in 1975. Large-scale emigration, economic dependence on South Africa, a severe drought, and a prolonged civil war hindered the country´s development until de mid 1990´s. The Ruling Front for the Liberation of Mozambique (FRELIMO) party formally abandoned Marxism in 1989, and a new constitution the following year provided for multiparty elections and a free market economy. With UN and Comunitá Sant´Egidio mediations, representatives of Frelimo and Renamo began peace negotiations in 1990, in Rome. The main negotiators were Armando Emílio Guebuza from Frelimo and Raúl Manuel Domingos from Renamo. The peace agreement was signed on 4 October 1992, putting an end to the civil war. In December 2004, Mozambique underwent a delicate transition as Joaquim Chissano stepped down after 18 years in office. His elected successor, Armando Emílio Guebuza, promised to continue the sound economic policies that have encouraged foreign investment. Mozambique has seen strong economic growth since the end of the civil war largely due to post-conflict reconstruction. Despite high economic growth rates in recent years, Mozambique remains among the world´s poorest countries. Facilities for tourism in Maputo, the capital city, are steadily improving but remain limited in other areas as many of the goods and services taken for granted in other countries are not yet available.
The official language is Portuguese, other national languages are changana, macua and chuabo.
In 1975, at its independence, Mozambique was among the world´s poorest countries, a situation that was aggravated during the civil war, between 1977 and 1992, and with the practice of the socialist economic model. In 1978 the government initiated macro-economic reforms designed to stabilize the economy. A Structural Adjustment programme was implemented and the IMF imposed limits to the foreign donations to areas such as health, education and reconstruction. This led to situations of poverty, even teachers and nurses fell under the poverty line and were forced to find other sources of income. This was the time when “petty-corruption” was institutionalized, a strong setback to the puritan approach of the independence time, of Samora Machel.
As this was also the time of “savage capitalism”, the state was forced out of the economy. Most companies/businesses were privatized; many of the small companies were taken by Frelimo members; the big ones were bought by multi-national companies.