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State

Capital

Mozambique

Maputo

Currency unit

Metical

Connections

East

Famine

War

Southern

Portugal

Malawi

 Politics

 Economics

 Green

 Rights

 Climate

History

Independent from Portugal in 1975 following Portuguese revolution of 1974. Civil war between FRELIMO and guerrilla groups supported first by Rhodesia, then by South Africa.

Northern Mozambique borders on Tanzania and historically was part of the Swahili civilization which synthesized Arab, Bantu and Indian Ocean cultures. Swahili is still spoken along the coast at least as far south as Beira. The coastal towns, especially Sofala, took part in a long trade route which brought gold from Zimbabwe to Kilwa and the other cities of the coast and thence across the Indian Ocean to Arabia and India. The coming of the Portuguese ended this trade and with it the wealth of the cities.

The southern area was within the orbit of the empire of the Mwenu Mutapa and Old Zimbabwe. The Mfecane (see South Africa) also had its effect on the southern peoples.

As a Portuguese colony many Portuguese peasants were encouraged to settle on the land, especially in the south and center along the line of rail from Zimbabwe to Beira. These all fled back to Europe on independence.

The civil war has led to complete collapse of the economy with starvation among refugees who cannot grow food on their own land because of intimidation by guerrillas. RENAMO Guerrillas (also known as MNR) are known to have been supplied by the South African forces, despite a treaty not to do so. After the changes in South Africa it was hoped that support would be withdrawn but the guerrillas continued to fight.

The new regime in South Africa (from May 1994) was more decisive about preventing assistance to the rebels. The end of the Banda regime in Malawi (May 1994) also helprd, as materials for RENAMO were flown in from Malawi.

It is reported that MNR received money from extreme right-wing foundations in the US and from Saudi Arabia and, more surprisingly, clandestine assistance from Kenya (used as a cover for American aid).

The rail and oil pipelines from Beira to Zimbabwe are guarded by Zimbabwean troops. There are believed to be 3 000 000 refugees as a result of the fighting.

In 1993 there was an agreement to end the conflict and integrate the two armed forces. By May 1994 there were signs that this was succeeding.

Mozambique, although it was never ruled by Britain, has joined the Commonwealth.

Languages

Official lang.

Portuguese

 

People speak many Bantu languages, including Swahili.

 

13 main national languages (Emakhuwa, Xitsonga, Ciyao, Cisena, Cishona, Echuwabo, Cinyanja, Xironga,

Shimaconde, Cinyungue, Cicopi, Bitonga, Kiswahili)

English (taught in secondary school)

 History

 Economics

 Green

 Rights

 Climate

Politics

Previously it was a One Party state led by FRELIMO - Front for the Liberation of Mozambique. This has been a Marxist Party but since 1990 has abandoned its Marxist policies of state control of all business. President Joaquim Chissano and Parliament have decided to allow a multi-party system in future.

South Africa's policy was to use RENAMO to prevent any law and order and to deny the government the control of the economy.

A ceasefire with RENAMO has been signed and seems to be effective.

Elections October 1994. RENAMO was induced to stand. Almost unbelievably it is said to be supported by the Catholic Church, as well as big businesses. Will it change from its murderous past? A government of national unity like South Africa's is supposed to be the outcome. RENAMO seems to be controlled by outside 'advisors'.

 History

 Politics

 Green

 Rights

 Climate

Economics

The Frelimo government adopted Marxist policies of nationalization of business (partly made necessary by the flight of almost the whole Portuguese settler population) but has now announced a change in policy towards a market economy. This has been encouraged by the withdrawal of Soviet assistance.

The plantation and mining economy of the colonial period was destroyed by the civil wars and the departure of the Portuguese who controlled it. Only if peace with the rebels comes can it be rebuilt. Who will control it? Presumably, those who paid for RENAMO.

 History

 Politics

 Economics

 Rights

 Climate

Green/Ecology

Natural disasters include serious flooding. This may be a result of increased seasonal rain during the anti Nino periods.

 History

 Politics

 Economics

 Green

 Climate

Human Rights

Horrors similar to those in Angola, Cambodia, Rwanda. Are they over? Yes, for the most part they are.

Climate effects

Last revised 29/11/06


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