Mozambique, a former slave colony in southern Africa, became an independent nation in 1975 after almost 500 years of Portuguese rule and a 10-year war for freedom. Outside forces immediately formed an opposition whose sole purpose was to destabilize the new government.
During the next 18 years, until a settlement was reached in 1992, more than 5 million people were displaced and a million people were killed.
- In November of 2011, the U.N. ranks Mozambique 184th out of 187 countries on the Human Development Index, which assesses countries based on health, education, and standard of living.
- By 2014, 70% of the population is expected to have access to safe drinking water. The current figures for access to drinking water and sanitation are 47% and 17%, respectively. In the urban areas 77% have access to drinking water, 38% access to sanitation. In the rural areas those figures are 29% and 4%.
- 18% of Mozambicans have access to electricity.
- 4% of Mozambicans use the Internet. Internet service was introduced in 1993 primarily for email. Full service came two years later. Mobile phones arrived in 1997.
- 20 years after the end of the war, de-mining still continues. It is expected to be complete by 2014.
- Agricultural productivity in Mozambique is the lowest in southern Africa. Many small farms do not grow enough food to feed their families.
- Floods and drought continue to devastate the country.
- In 2008 and 2010 rising costs of fuel, water, electricity, and bread led to widespread rioting.
- Mozambique’s first case of HIV/AIDS was diagnosed in 1986. Today Mozambique has the fifth highest HIV/AIDS rate in the world, as well as a high incidence of hepatitis A, typhoid fever, malaria, rabies, and plague.
- Malaria is still the No. 1 killer in Mozambique, responsible for 40% of the deaths of children under 5. Mosquito nets have been donated, but there is no distribution system.
- There are three doctors per every 100,000 people.
- The median age is 16.8 and 50% of the population is under the age of 15.
- 37% of girls aged 15-19 think that a husband is justified in physically abusing his wife.
INCOME and JOBS
- More than half of Mozambique’s budget comes from foreign donors.
- Healthcare, including HIV/AIDS treatment and prevention programs, and education are funded almost exclusively by donor countries.
- 70% of people live below the international poverty line of $1.25 a day, and 55% of people live below the national poverty line of $0.50 a day.
- The unemployment rate among young people is 40%.
- The labor force is growing by 300,000 a year, but fewer than 15,000 jobs are created annually.
- Pupil to teacher ratio in grades 1 to 5 is 66:1.
- The literacy rate is below 50%.
- In 2004, when Mozambique’s heavy metal musicians were in their early teens, only 16% of boys and 10% of girls went on to secondary school.
- 38% of males and 69% of females in this age group are illiterate.
- The heavy metal musicians of Mozambique are high school and university students.
- In November of 2011 Transparency International officially named Mozambique as the most corrupt country in southern Africa, overtaking the Democratic Republic of Congo and Zimbabwe.
- 68% of Mozambicans have paid a bribe in the last year.
- The majority of bribes involved the police, medical services, the education system, and registry and permit services.
- Suspicious campaign financing and electoral processes in the 2009 elections led to the removal of Mozambique from Freedom House’s list of electoral democracies.