More on Mozambique

What are the current issues in Mozambique

Mozambique is located on the southeast coast of Africa, bordering Swaziland to the south, South Africa to the southwest, Zimbabwe to the west, Zambia and Malawi to the northwest, Tanzania to the north and the Indian Ocean to the east. The 2014 Human Development Index (HDI) ranked Mozambique 178th out of 187 countries. With a population of roughly 26.4 million, the adult literacy rate is about 56 percent and average life expectancy at birth is just 50.3 years. 1992 marked the end of a 16-year-long destructive civil war that tore the country apart. Two decades of peace and stability following the war have allowed Mozambique to recover in both social and economic spheres.

Mozambique’s annual Gross Domestic Product (GDP) averaged a growth of 7.4 percent over the past two decades. In 2014, real GDP grew by 7.6 percent and growth is expected to remain strong – at 7.5 percent and 8.1 percent in 2015 and 2016, respectively. This boost in GDP is mainly due to growth rates in the construction, transportation and communications sectors (African Development Bank Economic Outlook). Sound macroeconomic management, large-scale foreign investment projects, political stability, and significant donor support have contributed significantly to such performance. However, the rapid growth of the past decades has not always translated into significant poverty reduction.

Small-scale cultivation is the basis of Mozambique’s agricultural production and an important source of income for most rural households, particularly women. As one of the most disaster-prone countries in the world, Mozambique is highly vulnerable to extreme climate conditions. While the Southern and Central regions are prone to droughts, floods occur every two to three years along the major river basins and in poorly drained urban settlements. More than 60 percent of the population lives in coastal areas highly vulnerable to rapid onset disasters such as cyclones, storms and flash floods. Besides damaging lives and livelihoods, climatic shocks destroy infrastructure and restrict economic growth. The impact on the country’s development is significant, particularly on the efforts to eradicate extreme poverty and hunger and to achieve environmental sustainability. In 2014, mild floods were registered during February to March causing damage in infrastructure and agricultural land in the Incomati river basin and the central and Northern provinces.

During the first quarter of 2015, excessive rains caused substantial damages and displacements of populations in the Central and Northern Provinces of Mozambique, namely Zambézia, Tete, Niassa, Cabo Delgado and Nampula, while the Central provinces of Sofala and Manica and the Southern provinces of Inhambane, Gaza, and Maputo experience persistent lack of rain at the most critical period of the agriculture season causing extensive crop failure.  

In May 2015, the Technical Secretariat for Food and Nutritional Security (SETSAN) and the Vulnerability Assessment Committee (VAC) carried out a quantitative assessment in almost all affected provinces (except for Maputo city). The findings indicated that in Gaza and Inhambane provinces, 138,000 people (about 72,000 of whom are women) were facing a stressed acute food insecurity situation. This figure included a  high percentage of households with poor food consumption and above normal use of coping strategies, including sale of productive assets. The findings also demonstrated that an additional 903,000 people were at risk of food insecurity - especially considering the upcoming lean season (September 2015 until the next harvest in March 2016), when production, reserves and income are usually not enough to allow for adequate food consumption of households that are already facing some acute food insecurity conditions.

One-third of the population is chronically food-insecure, and half a million children aged 6-23 months are undernourished. Malnutrition in children under five remains alarmingly high at 43 percent. Underlying causes include inadequate nutritional intake due to poor diet diversity, low meal frequency, poor breastfeeding practices, high levels of disease, and teenage pregnancy. Vitamin A and iron deficiencies in children under five are high, at 69 and 74 percent respectively.

These problems are further aggravated by the high incidence, roughly 10.6 percent, of HIV infection (UNAIDS Country Progress Report, 2014). Other factors, such as the recurrent climatic shocks – drought, floods and cyclones – compromise income from farming and contribute to food insecurity, while also causing loss of life, ruined livelihoods, and damaged infrastructure.

For more than two decades, the Government of Mozambique has provided a safe haven for asylum seekers and refugees from conflict-stricken countries in the region. Currently, Mozambique hosts over 14,800 asylum-seekers, the majority of whom originate from the Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC), Burundi, Rwanda and Somalia. Of these, more than 11,000 live in Maratane camp, the country's only refugee camp, which is located in the Northern Province of Nampula. The camp registers some 200 new arrivals each month – a figure likely to increase with the ongoing unrest in the Great Lakes region. 
The United Nations Development Assistance Framework (UNDAF), which has been extended up to 2016, is fully aligned with national priorities outlined in the government's five-year plan, the Poverty Reduction Strategy (2011-2014) and national sector policies. Mozambique is a United Nations 'Delivering as One' country.

What the World Food Programme is doing in Mozambique

Through its Country Programme (CP), extended up to December 2016, WFP plans to assist a total of 1.6 million people in select food insecure districts in the central and southern regions of Mozambique. The five components of the Country Programme are:

School Meals: Supporting the Ministry of Education and Human Development through a four-year transition period towards a nationally owned, funded, and managed home-grown school meals programme integrated into the social protection framework.

Social Protection: Supporting food-insecure families with labour capacity with food or cash transfers during seasonal gaps in return for participation in labour-intensive activities aimed at supporting community livelihoods. Vulnerable people unable to engage in productive work will receive unconditional food/cash transfers, complementing other essential services delivered by civil society associations.

Nutrition: Supporting the Ministry of Health in the development of sustainable systems for integrating nutrition services into the national health system over the longer term, the implementation of activities under the National Nutritional Rehabilitation Programme, and support for the coordination and implementation of the Multi-sectorial Action Plan to Reduce Chronic Malnutrition.

Risk Reduction: Strengthening the capacity of the National Directorate of Disaster Management (INGC) and the Technical Secretariat for Food Security and Nutrition (SETSAN) in risk analysis and mapping, early warning, and food and nutrition security analysis.
Market Access: Facilitating access to markets and the development of smallholder producer and processor capacity by increasing marketing infrastructure, market information, and improving commodity quality.

WFP’s Protracted Relief and Recovery Operation (PRRO), extended until June 2016, provides food assistance in support of response and early recovery activities, targeting disaster-affected as well as displaced persons who have sought refuge in Mozambique due to adverse conditions in the Horn of Africa.

The PRRO underpins the National Five-Year Plan 2015-2019 (PQG) and the National Master Plan for the Prevention and Mitigation of Natural Calamities. These identify national and local actions for vulnerability reduction and emergency response and the annual contingency plans which are prepared to respond to forecasted climate scenarios. The key activities are:

Relief Activities: In the immediate aftermath of a sudden-onset emergency, food assistance provides life-saving support. In slow-onset emergencies (e.g. droughts), it also serves as an income transfer mechanism that helps to prevent the forced sale of assets and promotes the investment of limited household income in durable economic and social activities, thus enabling households to recover from transitory food insecurity more rapidly.

Early Recovery Activities: Post-relief assistance is continued mostly through food-for-work by means of low-tech, labour-intensive activities oriented towards rehabilitation of productive assets.

Capacity Development: Strengthening national capacity in contingency and operational planning and emergency response management.

Food assistance to refugees in Mozambique: Since May 2011, WFP has supported the refugees and asylum seekers in Maratane camp in cooperation with UNHCR and the National Institute for Refugee Assistance (INAR). WFP currently provides monthly food assistance to an average of 8,750 refugees and asylum-seekers, 52 percent of whom are women. Monthly food rations comprise maize, pulses and fortified vegetable oil as well as super cereal for the most vulnerable. Long-term refugees, who can cover part of their food needs from casual labour, receive half-rations equivalent to 900 kcal per day while full rations of 2190 kcal per day are provided to the nutritionally at-risk and new arrivals without sources of livelihood.

Featured Mozambique publications

  • Mozambique: WFP Country Brief (PDF, 558 KB)

    A Country Brief provides the latest snapshot of the country strategy, operations, operational highlights (achievements and issues/challenges), partnerships and country background.

Looking for more publications on Mozambique? Visit the Mozambique publications archive.