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You are in:  Nations > Africa > Mozambique
Mozambique*Mozambique flag
Basic facts
The country 
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Capital: Maputo
Area: 799,380 sq km; 308,642 sq miles
Population: 19,614,345 (2000 Estimate)
Urbanisation: Urban 38 per cent (1998 Estimate); Rural 62 per cent (1998 Estimate)


Exports: Shrimp, cashew nuts, cotton, sugar, copra, citrus, petroleum

Industry: Food, beverages, chemicals (fertilizer, soap, paints), petroleum products, textiles, cement, glass, asbestos, tobacco

Agriculture: Cash crops: cotton, cashew nuts, sugar cane, tea, shrimp; other crops: cassava, corn, rice, tropical fruits

Currency: 1 metical (Mt), consisting of 100 centavos

Natural resources: Coal, titanium, bauxite, salt


The people

Ethnic: Makua-Lomwe, Yao, Makonde, Chewa, Nyanja, Tsonga, Chopi, Shona

Language: Portuguese (official), Swahili, indigenous dialects including Makua, Ronga, Tsongan and Muchope. Portuguese was retained as the official language after independence because no single African language was sufficiently dominant. Most Mozambicans speak a Bantu language and Portuguese. Swahili is commonly used in some coastal areas.

Religion: Indigenous beliefs 55 per cent, Christian 30 per cent, Muslim 15 per cent. Traditional indigenous beliefs are followed by about half the population; about 30 per cent are Christian and some 15 per cent, mainly in the North, are Muslim.


The history

Independence: 25 June 1975 (from Portugal).

Government: Under the independence constitution of 1975, which followed the collapse of the Government in Portugal, Mozambique became a single-party republic under the Frente de Libertacao de Mocambique (the front for the Liberation of Mozambique), known as Frelimo - the only legal political party. Formed in 1962, the party initiated Mozambique's struggle for independence in 1964, claiming allegiance to Marxist ideology. Executive power rested with the President of Frelimo and the party dominated the People's Assembly, the unicameral national legislature. In November 1990, following a period of conflict between Frelimo and its main opposition groups, a new constitution providing for a multi-party system took effect and Mozambique's second political party, the Resistencia Nacional Mocambicana (the Mozambique National Resistance), known as Renamo, won full legal recognition in 1992. Under the new constitution, legislative power is vested in the directly elected Assembly of the Republic and the President, who is elected to serve a five-year term, holds executive power. Judicial power is vested in the Supreme Court, which is composed of independent judges appointed by the President.

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