Mozambique is an independent republic which lies on the south-east coast of Africa and forms part of the Southern African region. The capital city is Maputo. Other major towns are Beira and Nampula and the ports of Quelimane and Nacala.
The official language is Portuguese. Mozambique has a centrally planned economy although the government is instituting free-market reforms. The local currency is the Metical (plural meticais). (US$ / Metical – current exchange rate).
In Mozambique the market determines the exchange rate, interest rates and prices. Economic reform has taken place in the form of the elimination of subsidies and quantitative restrictions on imports, the reduction and simplification of import tariffs and the liberalisation of crop marketing.
A major privatisation program involving the entire banking sector as well as a number of state- manufacturing companies is another active step in economic reform.
Despite achieving one of the world’s highest growth rates, Mozambique still depends on foreign assistance to balance the budget and trade position in which imports exceed exports. As trade and transport links with the rest of the region improve, Mozambique should receive increased foreign investment.
Mozambique has the natural resources to sustain the development of the agriculture, forestry, fishing, energy and tourism industries. Placed in an ideal trading location, increased exports in these areas will increase the amount of foreign exchange brought into the country.
Mozambique has an agriculturally based economy. Industrial development has been slow as a result of the civil war that destroyed the transport system and other facilities. The country’s major exports are agricultural products, coal and energy.
Mozambique has considerable mineral resources although exploitation has been limited by its recently ended civil war. Its mining industry is set to play a key role in the economy of the country with diamond explorations by a Portuguese company, Tamega beginning in 1999. Its oil industry is another key economic sector. In the upstream industry, discussions are underway to exploit the large reserves of natural gas in the Pande region which is set to become a major source of foreign exchange. Although the small Maputo refinery was mothballed in 1984, the downstream oil industry is fast developing with a number of international oil companies active in the marketing and distribution of petroleum products.
Electricity is provided by the parastatal utility, Electricidade de Mozambique (EDM).
The international time zone for Mozambique is GMT +2. The international dialling code is +258. Maputo, Beira and Nampula have international airports that serve South African Airways and Air Portugal, the principal airlines flying to Mozambique. Linhas Aereas de Mocambique (LAM) and Empresa Nacional de Transporte e Trabalho Aereo (TTA) are to be privatised. There are three main railway systems running east to west in Mozambique. Development of the Maputo Corridor between Mozambique and South Africa will decrease travelling distance and facilitate exports and foreign investment projects. All visitors to Mozambique require visas.
Due to the state of health, the immunisation status, location and the local disease situation; bubonic plague, cholera, dengue fever, hepatitis A, malaria, meningitis, schistosomiasis, tuberculosis, and typhoid fever can occur in Mozambique. Only bottled water with unbroken seals should be consumed and tap water should be avoided. Medical services may be very expensive and advance payment may be required. Insurance needs to be arranged prior to arrival in Mozambique and individual risk assessment is recommended.