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Mozambique Overview


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With beautiful beaches, vibrant and fascinating cultures, and artistic and musical traditions which are among the best on the continent, Mozambique is one of Southern Africa's best kept secrets. With Indian Ocean sunrises, seemingly endless stretches of coastline, the paradisiacal islands of Bazaruto National Park, quiet inlets and mangrove-lined channels in the Quirimbas Archipelago, and Ilha de Mocambique (Mozambique Island) a visit here could complete any african safari. With architectural and historical treasure-troves and a Unesco World Heritage site, it is true that things are less developed than elsewhere in the region, particularly in comparison with neighbouring South Africa. After the country's 17 year civil war and peace accords a decade ago reconstruction has proceeded at a remarkable pace, the atmosphere is upbeat and tourism is off to an ambitious start. In the south the roads are good and lodging options abound. Travel anywhere else requires time to get around and not for the faint hearted.

Mozambique is ranked one of sub-Saharan Africa's fastest growing economies after a rigorous programme of market-oriented reforms over much of the past decade. With the proximity to South Africa, most of the growth has been in the south around Maputo, with a transport and development initiative linking Maputo with Johannesburg. Although this growth has been apparent in the south much of the north is still in isolation and the country remains one of the world's poorest. Most Mozambicans are involved in subsistence agriculture - tending small plots with cassava, maize and other basic crops and fishing along the coast is also a source of subsistence and income. Nationally the commercial fishing industry, especially prawns for which the country is famous, accounts for a quarter of their exports.

The country's popular attractions are far apart mostly in the south and in the far north. To reach these attractions you will have to get internal flights if you wish to venture to the north. It would be advisable to get in touch with a local tour operator to assist with your travel plans to Mozambique.

Mozambique Quick Facts
Location: South-eastern Africa, bordering the Mozambique Channel, between South Africa and Tanzania
Area: 801,590 sq km
Border countries: Malawi 1,569 km, South Africa 491 km, Swaziland 105 km, Tanzania 756 km, Zambia 419 km, Zimbabwe 1,231 km
Population: 18,9 million
People: Tswana (or Setswana) 79%, Kalanga 11%, Basarwa 3%, other, including Kgalagadi and white 7%
Language: Portuguese (official), indigenous dialects
Religion: indigenous beliefs 50%, Christian 30%, Muslim 20%
Independence: 25 June 1975 (from Portugal)
Head of State: President Joaquim Alberto CHISSANO
Capital: Maputo
Currency: pula (BWP) - Exchange Rate(link popup window)
Export Commodities: aluminium, prawns, cashews, cotton, sugar, citrus, timber; bulk electricity
Agriculture - products: cotton, cashew nuts, sugarcane, tea, cassava (tapioca), corn, coconuts, sisal, citrus and tropical fruits, potatoes, sunflowers; beef, poultry
GDP growth: 7% (2003 est.)
GDP per capita: $1,200 (2003 est.)
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