In this article, the top 10 facts about living conditions in Mozambique are presented.
- Mozambique had a population of almost 20 million in 2002. The country’s population is estimated to reach 33.3 million by 2025 and a staggering 50 million people by the year 2050. Currently, the country’s population of around 30 million only confirms that the estimated figure may be reached, if not even surpassed. Out of the total population, 96 percent is made up of black Africans whilst the Portuguese, Asians and the mixed race make up the remaining 4 percent.
- In 2002, an estimated two-thirds of Mozambique’s population was illiterate. At the time, education was compulsory for people in the age group from 7 to 14. Mozambique was under Portuguese rule and the black population had limited opportunities for education and only a few of the elite could study in Portugal at that time. Now, the literacy rates are much higher as 58.55 percent of the adult population from age 15 up are able to read and write.
- Illiteracy is high among the indigenous people of Mozambique and as a result, an independent indigenous paper is not a feasible option. The highest selling paper is the Portuguese Noticias. Its circulation ranges between 25,000 and 50,000. The state-controlled Radio Mozambique is the country’s main source of news and information. However, Mozambique has about 40 other community radio and television stations that are approved by the government.
- Constitution of Mozambique protects the freedom of the press thus journalists in Mozambique have been able to write stories that criticize the government without being victimized. However, journalists face criminal libel laws that ensure that they have a certain level of self-censorship. In May 2018, the country stepped down six places in the Reporters without Borders (RSF) rankings that measure safety for reporters in a country. Mozambique fell from 93rd to 99th but as a result of other countries improvement in this field.
- Mozambique has an average rainfall level of about 55 inches per year yet the country imports its food. In 2016, food imports were at 15 percent. Mozambique’s own agricultural products include shrimp, fish, tea, sisal, coconuts, corn, millet, cassava and peanuts. The country has a need to import other things like wheat in order to cover the food deficit.
- The national poverty rates in the country are estimated to range from 41 to 46 percent of the country’s population. This means that around 11 million people in the country are absolutely poor. Whilst the welfare levels have improved at the national level compared to previous years, the gains have not contributed to a convergence in welfare levels between rural and urban zones.
- In 1990, Mozambique was one of the poorest countries in the world and the poverty reached approximately 80 percent of the total population. The Millennium Development Goal was set to reduce poverty by half but it proved to be too difficult to reach. After the war in 1992, Mozambique experienced strong growth and stability for a while. From 2002 to 2009, poverty reduction became stagnant. After that period, from 2009 to 2015, the country’s economy kept growing at a slow but stable pace.
- In rural Mozambique, the Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO) has begun educating women in the society about food security. A few women undergo training as “care mothers”, then they go out into the community and teach the other women what they have learned. They are taught how to have a balanced diet and a healthy number of meals in a day as well as how to garden at home so that they can produce what they need for a balanced diet themselves.
- Like many African countries, people rely on public transportation in Mozambique. Buses, minibusses and taxis are the common means of transport in urban areas. In rural places, transport ranges from minibusses and pickup trucks to bicycles and boat taxis. The roads are in bad shape despite investments in restoring the roads. Public transport is not always reliable and may not be on schedule.
- Most of the girls in Mozambique are enrolled in primary school but by the fifth grade, only 11 percent are left to continue their education and only 1 percent of girls make it to college. The government has made efforts to give all children access to education, however, the quality of education is below standard.
As a third world African country, Mozambique has similar living conditions to other poor and developing countries.
Although the people in the country endure many hardships, they live full lives steeped in culture and tradition.
Their lives revolve around their families and communities and their customs stem from local influences rather than national ones.
– Aquillina Ngowera