Mini Guide to Mozambique
When independence came to Mozambique in 1975, its Portuguese former master walked out leaving a black African nation with hardly anyone trained to run the farms and the factories. The Africans had received virtually no education - 99 per cent of them were illiterate. Those who could read and write were mainly youngsters, and during desperate moves to avert economic chaos, young people were appointed to key positions. In 1979 a 19-year old boy became head of a cotton research centre, and an 18-year-old boy was helping to run one of the country's largest secondary schools.
Mozambique is predominantely a tropical country with savannah vegetation typically represented by open grass land and dense woodland areas and was the last remaining European colony in the south east of Africa. A coastal plain covers most of the southern and central territory, giving way to the western highlands and north to a plateau including the Nyasa Highlands.
The Portuguese explorer Vasco da Gama visited the territory in 1498, and the first Portuguese e settlers arrived early in the 16th century. Very little was done to improve the lot of the Africans. As late as 1970, when most colonial powers had freed their foreign territories, the Portuguese were still dominating the country. About 250 000 Europeans held virtually every professional, managerial and technical post in a country with 8 million Africans.
African discontent had already flared into guerrilla warfare waged by the Mozambique Liberation Front (Frelimo), and this brought some moves towards economic development. But it was the revolution of 1974 in Portugal that gave the final push to independence and the creation of a one-party Marxist state. There was a great exodus of Portuguese, who feared that the Africans would exact revenge for past oppression.
The new government was expecting Communist countries to help Mozambique, but countries like the Soviet Union and Bulgaria showed more interest in the possibility of exploiting the country's natural resources than in aiding development. Mozambique's mineral resource are vast, there are enormous reserves of coal and huge offshore deposit of gas in addition to copper, bauxite (aluminium ore) and other metals.
- The official language of Mozambique is Portuguese
- Maputo is the capital of Mozambique
- Is the 35th largest country in the world