Mozambique (República de Moçambique) is a presidential republic of south-eastern Africa. The country is located along the east African coast and is washed by the waters of the Indian ocean, its coastline stretches for over 2,300 km. Inland Mozambique is bordered by Swaziland to the south, South Africa to the south and southwest, Zimbabwe to the west, Zambia and Malawi to the northwest, Tanzania to the north.
The country is an ancient Portuguese colony, which was colonized from the early 16th century. It remained in Portuguese possession until independence obtained in 1975. The capital of the country is the city of Maputo, known at the time of the Portuguese colonization with the name of Lourenço Marques. Other important cities are Beira, Nampula, Chimoio, Inhambane, Nacala, Tete, Quelimane, Mocuba, Xai-Xai and Lichinga.
HIGHLANDS AND A LONG COASTAL AREA
Administratively, Mozambique is divided into 10 provinces (provincias). To the north are the provinces of Cabo Delgado, Nampula and Niassa. In the central area are the provinces of Sofala, Tete, Zambezia and Manica. While to the south are the provinces of Gaza, Inhambane and Maputo.
Mozambique is formed in the north and north-west by the eastern edge of the African highlands. While to the south there is a vast plain where the Limpopo, Save (Sabi) and Zambezi rivers flow. The coastal strip which has a length of over 2,300 km consists largely of plains more or less vast and bordered in some points by islands. The northern coast is instead high, here the highlands go close to the ocean.
The highlands area has an average altitude of about 500 meters, but rises above 1,000 meters close to Lake Niassa (Malawi). In the country there are mountain massifs that exceed two thousand meters in height, as in the case of Mount Namuli (2,419 meters), located in the north-western section of Mozambique. The highest peak in the country is Mount Binga (2,436 meters), located near the border with Zimbabwe, in the central-western part of the country.
Mozambique has several lakes, the most important of which is Lake Niassa (Malawi), which is only partially in the Mozambican territory. Other lakes are Lake Chiuta, the artificial lake of Cahora Bassa and Lake Shirwa.
A POOR COUNTRY BUT WITH GREAT TOURISM POTENTIAL
The country is one of the poorest in Africa. Its economy is mainly agricultural but in recent years also the industry has had a moderate development. Mozambique produces corn, cassava, tobacco, cotton, sugar cane and timber. Fishing is an important activity for the coastal population.
As far as subsoil resources are concerned, Mozambique extracts important quantities of aluminum, beryllium, and tantalum. In addition, large quantities of natural gas have recently been discovered.
Another source of income, if carefully developed, could prove to be tourism. Mozambique has in fact great tourist potential, in particular there are historical attractions (Ilha de Moçambique, Ibo), eco-tourist attractions (uncontaminated fauna and nature) and seaside attractions (splendid beaches).
- Surface: 801,590 sq km. (Arative 4%, Meadows and Pastures 55%, Forests and Woods 22%, Uncultivated and Unproductive 19%)
- Population: 29,500,000 (adj. 2018) Black Africans 98% (Macua, Sena, Shona, Tsonga), Mestiços (descendants of crosses between Europeans and Africans) 1%, Europeans 1%.
- Capital: Maputo.
- Languages: Official language is Portuguese. Other languages spoken are Swahili, Makhuwa, and Sena.
- Religion: Christians 69% (Catholics 30%, Protestants 38%), Muslims 19%, Indigenous Beliefs 7%.
- Currency: Metical (MZN)
- Time zone: UTC +2 hours.