The Journey through Turmoil, Peace, Poverty and Opportunities
Yes, this African nation has seen it all!
The unrelenting quest of people to lead a prosperous and comfortable life is still on despite all the obstacles. Here, we are talking about Mozambique or officially the ‘Republic of Mozambique’.
With coastal lowlands at the center, range of mountains in the west and high plateaus in the northwest, the country has all kinds of diversity and beauty of nature. However, from time to time, the same nature’s fury in the forms of severe droughts, devastating cyclones and floods has tormented people’s lives there.
Besides dealing with unpredictable nature, the country has suffered for decades due to political unrest and infighting.
Apart from these dark spots, there have been some silver linings too. Over the past couple of decades, Mozambique’s production of food and manufactured goods has increased steadily. In addition, a large-scale aluminum smelting industry has got momentum since 2000.
Facts About Mozambique:
1. Mozambique is located in southeastern Africa, which has borders with South Africa to the south, Tanzania to the north along with and Zimbabwe, Malawi and Zambia to the west. The total area of the country is 801,590 square kilometers, which is almost double the size of the State of California and is about 45 percent larger than France.
2. Mozambique got its name from ‘Mozambique Island’, which was derived from Mossa Al Biqueor or Mussa Ben Mbiki, an Arab trader who first arrived in the island and lived there. Currently, the island has been listed as a World Heritage Site.
3. Famous explorer Vasco da Gama landed in Mozambique in 1498, and subsequently, Portugal colonized the nation in 1505. After 470 years of Portuguese ruling, Mozambique became independent in 1975.
4. Portuguese is still spoken as the official language in Mozambique. In addition, other major spoken languages are Sena, Swahili and Makhuwa. English is also being taught in secondary schools and used by professionals and political leaders.
5. In the early 1990s, civil war broke out in the country and forced many people to flee. In 1992, the United Nations negotiated a peace accord, which proved instrumental to end the civil war.
6. In October of 2012, Mozambique completed the 20th anniversary of signing the General Peace Accord (GPA). It is considered a major milestone in the country’s political history since the independence from Portugal in 1975.
7. Despite the hindrances such as poverty and too much dependence on foreign aid, Mozambique’s economy has grown at a steady rate of 6 to 8 percent in the recent times. It is considered one of the strongest economic growth rates in Africa.
8. Almost 81 percent of the country workforce is employed in agriculture. Significant production of cashew nuts, cotton, fruits, manioc root, potatoes sugarcane and tea take place there.
9. Mozambique has rich natural resources such as coal, hydroelectric power, natural gas and titanium, which are attracting substantial foreign investment.
10. The currency used in the country is called ‘Mozambican Metical’.
11. Maputo is the largest city in Mozambique. It is also known as the ‘City of Acacias’ due to the Acacia trees that are seen there. Several scenes of the Hollywood hit movie ‘Blood Diamond’ casting Leonardo Di Caprio was shot in Maputo.
12. According to the conservationists, ecology in the country is under threat. The latest data shows that the elephant population Mozambique has declined close to 50 percent during the past years.
13. More than 1,200 species of fish have been identified in the ocean along Mozambique. It also has Lake Niassa, which is one of the largest lakes in Africa.
14. Ruby mining in Mozambique has been making news in the recent years, and has opened up new economic growth opportunity. In fact, the country is said to have one of the largest ruby deposits, which is located in Montepuez. In June of 2014, the rubies extracted from Mozambique generated $33.5 million revenue; and has set a benchmark for this industry.