Became independent in 1975 from Portugal, after a long liberation struggle led by the Frente de Libertação de Moçambique (Frelimo), Mozambique sided with the socialist forces, placing itself among the countries of the so-called ‘Front Line’, that is, among the nations of the Southern Africa which aimed to isolate and contain the racist regimes of South Africa and Rhodesia. In response to the Marxist-inspired government of President Samora Machel and the support that Mozambique provided to the opposition movements in South Africa and today’s Zimbabwe, Salisbury and Pretoria favored, and partly promoted, the creation of the Resistência Nacional Moçambicana (Renamo) movement, a dissident armed group that in fifteen years came to control large areas of the country. The end of the Cold War, Rome. For a long time Mozambique has been regarded as a model country and a success both by the United Nations and by multilateral institutions such as the International Monetary Fund (IMF) and World Bank (WB): the pacification and democratization process was more successful than that Angolan and, after the first democratic elections in 1994, the country followed the recipes of international donors to the letter, achieving the objectives set on privatization and the fight against poverty, so much so that it earned the nickname of ‘African phoenix’. According to itypeusa, the excellent growth rates, which make Mozambique one of the most promising economies in Africa, have been further revised positively, as huge deposits of coal, tar sands, titanium, diamonds and gold have been discovered in recent years. Gas explorations by the American company Anadarko and the Italian company Eni have found fields of such an extent that Maputo could become the fourth largest gas producer in the world, behind Russia, Iran and Qatar. After the civil war, the country rebuilt its international relations by focusing on differentiation. Today Mozambique is an important partner of many emerging economies (China, India, Brazil, Thailand and Malaysia), as well as being the recipient of aid and investments from the US and the European Union. Maputo has strengthened its participation in international organizations by multiplying its presence in different fora: already a member of the Community of Portuguese-speaking countries, it joined the Commonwealth in 1995, he is an observer at the OIF (International Organization of Francophonie) and is a member of the Organization of the Islamic Conference (Oic). Relations with the former motherland have substantially turned upside down: the Portuguese do not only see in Mozambique the possibility of investing in a growing economy, but also better job opportunities than those offered by the country of origin, in deep economic crisis.
There are approximately 20,000 Portuguese residents in Maputo. Mozambique maintains close ties, both of a political, economic and commercial nature, with neighboring South Africa, on which it depends for 25% of its imports and which supplies natural gas for 100% of its needs. Relations with Zimbabwe have always been good, ever since the fight against racism and colonialism. Maputo has also provided the white farmers ousted by the Harare government with the opportunity to restart their economic activities in Mozambique. In spite of its excellent performance in the economic field and the normal development of democratic practices, Frelimo has not abandoned the ambitions and vices of the single party, winning all the presidential elections and favoring the multiplication of corruption and the restriction of civil liberties. Moreover, despite the government’s efforts, the country’s economic growth has coincided with the worsening of inequalities. In December 2004 Armando Guebuza, a senior member of Frelimo who became a successful entrepreneur thanks to the privatization process, became President of the Republic. The latest political and presidential votes were held in December 2009 and sanctioned yet another victory for Frelimo, which was confronted with Renamo (whose consensus has now been reduced: the party got less than 18% of the votes) and with the new party Movimento Democrático de Moçambique (Mdm) of Daviz Simango, mayor of Beira, who left the ranks of Renamo. The Mdm obtained 4% of the votes despite not being able to appear in all the provinces. In 2008 and 2010, and in a less radical form at the end of 2012, Maputo was the scene of riots that cost about ten deaths, caused by the devaluation of the metical, the national currency, and by the sharp increase in the prices of some essential consumer goods. The street riots have expressed the growing discontent of a population that places less and less trust in its representatives, is affected by the increasing inequality and is unable to convey its protest on a terrain of non-violent consultation. In October 2013, the Mozambican army attacked the main Renamo base in Satunjira, where Afonso Dhlakama, the movement’s historical leader, was located. In November 2013, municipal elections were held, boycotted by Renamo, and which saw the victory of Frelimo, but also the reconfirmation of the emerging MDM party at the helm of the second city of the country, Beira, and Quelimane. The episode of Satunjira has exacerbated the tensions between the two political groups then definitively returned thanks to the Italian mediation, thus preventing a resumption of the civil war. Guebuza and Dhlakama then officially signed the ceasefire agreements on 5 September 2014. According to local media reports, the memorandum of understanding provides for the immediate cessation of hostilities, the implementation of the amnesty law for crimes committed in the last two years, the disarmament of the Renamo militiamen who will be able to choose to be integrated into the army, the police or to return to civilian life and the deployment of national and international observers who they will have to monitor the decommissioning process. Other negotiations are continuing on the modalities of integration and the future status of former Renamo militants in the state security forces, as well as on economic compensation for those who choose to return to civilian life. Guebuza also announced the creation of a fund to finance the peace process and asked for contributions from international partners. Finally, the agreement provided for the establishment of new political elections in which the Renamo groups were also able to participate. The elections of October 2014 saw the victory of the Frelimo candidate Filipe Nyusi, with 62% of the vote, while the Renamo candidate, Alfonso Dhlakama, obtained only 32% of the votes.