Mozambique Economy

Mozambique Economy


Despite the relatively large resources, Mozambique, which during Portuguese colonialism was used much more as a stopover along the route to the Indies rather than as a territory where to build infrastructure, has been deeply marked by the long years of guerrilla warfare. In fact, immediately after independence, the traditional factors of underdevelopment, such as the very high rate of illiteracy, insufficient investments and the chronic lack of capital, were joined by the massive exodus of the entrepreneurial bourgeoisie and Portuguese specialized personnel, tensions with various Neighboring countries and the ruins caused in the national territory by the multiple military actions. Until the mid-1980s, the country adopted a socialist policy: nationalization of the fundamental sectors of the economy, ujamaa tanzanaine, and strengthening of road and railway infrastructures given the importance of transit trade in the national economy. However, many of the efforts made in agriculture were thwarted by a period of prolonged drought in the internal provinces of the country, by typhoons and floods on the coast and by the civil war of the 1980s. XX. The resulting economic crisis marked the abandonment of socialist policy and the change in the liberal sense: agricultural land was privatized and small manufacturing industry encouraged; this made it possible to renegotiate the heavy accumulated foreign debt. Accession to the Third Lomé Convention and entry into the IMF (1984) paved the way for international aid: however, international organizations continued to have strong concerns about the state of rampant illegality in the country and only with the conclusion of the civil war (1992) and with the accession to the Commonwealth (1997) for the Mozambique was able to begin a phase of economic growth. The GDP grows with an annual increase of approx. 6% (US $ 9,654 million in 2008), mainly thanks to the export of aluminum. Despite this, Mozambique still remains an extremely poor country with a per capita GDP of just US $ 465, a considerable foreign debt and highly dependent on international aid.


The productivity of the primary sector is low: agriculture affects approx. 80% of the active population, although arable and arborescent crops occupy just over 5% of the territorial surface. A modest activity of pure subsistence clearly prevails, which focuses on the cultivation of cassava, cereals (maize, sorghum, rice, wheat, etc.), as well as potatoes and other horticultural products. However, the most profitable crops remain those of plantation, mainly represented by cashew (which supplies the acajù nuts), sugar cane, cotton, tea, agave sisalana etc.; citrus fruits, bananas, some oilseeds (peanuts, castor beans, sunflowers), tobacco and coconut palm, frequent in the coastal strip, also have a certain importance. § Forest resources, despite the indiscriminate exploitation of the colonial period, are still rich; the most precious essences are the so-called Rhodesian mahogany, the red ebony and the cedar of Mlanje. § One sector that has been dramatically hit by the crisis following independence is the livestock sector: cattle prevail; goats, sheep and pigs follow. § A considerable effort has been devoted to the development of fisheries, previously neglected despite the significant fish potential; the annual catch is largely represented by shrimps, which are widely exported.


The industrialization of the country, which still has extremely fragile foundations, has good development potential. The best represented sectors are that of industries linked to the transformation of local agricultural products: tobacco manufactures, cotton mills, oil mills, sugar refineries, breweries, plants for the processing of acajù nuts, milling complexes etc; There are also refineries that process imported oil, steel mills and the chemical sector is important, producing fertilizers and sulfuric acid. § Mineral resources appear conspicuous, although their adequate exploitation is still lacking, also due to the lack of development of the transport system. According to allcountrylist, coal, bauxite, gold, copper, fluorite are mined, uranium, precious stones, natural gas, which is also exported to South Africa through a 900 km pipeline, iron ores (in the province of Tete). Thanks to the colossal Cahora Bassa plant (although severely damaged by the guerrillas) on the Zambezi River, Mozambique has become an important producer and exporter of electricity.


Trade, both domestic and international, has experienced a heavy setback; as regards trade with foreign countries (the main partner is the United States), the trade balance is chronically and seriously in deficit. Exports are represented by sugar cane, cotton and coconut palm; imports mainly concern machinery and means of transport, oil, industrial products. Foreign debt has reached staggering proportions, amounting to US $ 8,208 million (1998): in 2006 it was US $ 5121 million. § The development of the communication routes, especially the railways, reflects the function entrusted to them by the Portuguese, that is, that of connecting the Atlantic Ocean with the various internal countries, particularly Malawi and Zimbabwe (the former Rhodesia). There are the typical arteries of penetration, which the colonial powers have traced a little throughout Africa, while there is a lack of organic connections between the main centers of Mozambique itself. Three major transport infrastructures are under construction: the Maputo Corridor between Maputo and Johannesburg; the Breira Corridor, between Breira and Harare; the Nacala- Lusaka axis. Next to the railway network, which develops for approx. 3,100 km (2005), no less lacking is the road one (30,400 km in 1999); the main airports are located in Maputo, Beira, Quelimane and Nampula. § Tourism is growing. The main destinations are the beaches and the large national parks, including the Great Limpopo Transfrontier Park, in common with South Africa and Zimbabwe, inaugurated in 2006.

Mozambique Economy