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Economic Overview

For the latest updates on the key economic responses from governments to address the economic impact of the COVID-19 pandemic, please consult the IMF's policy tracking platform Policy Responses to COVID-19.

Mozambique’s economy recorded average growth rates above 7% of GDP over the period 2000-2016, supported by foreign investment, the rapid growth of the mining sector and the increase in coal and hydrocarbon reserves. However, the economy has slowed down, impacted by a sovereign debt crisis, the passage of tropical cyclones and more recently the Covid-19 pandemic. For the first time in thirty years, GDP contracted by -1.2% in 2020 (IMF). Supported by robust growth in agriculture and mining as well as recovery in services as Covid-related restrictions were eased, economic growth resumed modestly in 2021, reaching 2.5%. It is expected to pick up to 5.3% in 2022 and further accelerate to 12.6% in 2023, boosted by the start of liquefied natural gas (LNG) production at the Coral South offshore site (IMF). However, a deterioration of the security situation in the gas-rich Cabo Delgado province, a resumption of the epidemic and the occurrence of natural disasters are downside risks.

As Mozambique was still pursuing its reconstruction efforts after the passage two cyclones, the economy contracted sharply due to the Covid-19 pandemic. The government put in place emergency measures such as increasing health spending, strengthening social protection to the most vulnerable, and supporting micro, small, and medium-sized businesses (IMF), and benefited from emergency funding from the IMF. This prompt and effective response helped the economy to recover in 2021. However, public deficit widened due to increased expenditures linked to the security and humanitarian situation in the north of the country, Covid-related spending and a reform of public sector remuneration (IMF). It amounted to an estimated -6.2% GDP in 2021, and is projected to decrease to -4.5% GDP in 2022 (Coface). Primary fiscal balance is expected to be reached in 2026, after LNG revenues increase (IMF). Public debt, which was already very high, further increased to 133.6% GDP in 2021 (IMF). It is expected to slowly decrease to 127.6% GDP in 2022 and 115.3% GDP in 2023 (IMF), remaining at worrying levels. Progress has been made in debt restructuring but Mozambique remains over-indebted. Inflation increased from an estimated 3.1% in 2020 to 6.2% in 2021, due to seasonal factors, supply-chain constraints and international food and fuel price increases (IMF). Tight monetary stance has helped keep inflation within the central bank’s target of less than 10%. According to IMF estimates, inflation is expected to reach 6.4% in 2022 before declining to 5.5% in 2023. Although foreign exchange and metical reserves have stabilized, the large current account deficit exposes the country to external shocks. The government’s priorities are fiscal consolidation and debt reduction. The 2022 budget includes spending cuts, and the authorities hope to improve tax revenue. A project to create a sovereign wealth fund fuelled by hydrocarbon revenues could help improve the management of the country's resources. The country is holding talks with the IMF for an extended credit facility to help ease its financing burden.

Unemployment rate was estimated at 3.4% in 2020 according to the World Bank (modeled ILO estimate). However, according to the African Development Bank, the unemployment rate was 25% in 2018, and among young people it reached 30%. Social inequalities are increasing and a large part of the population lives in poverty (over 63% according to AFDB), especially in rural areas. The northern province of Cabo Delgado, where more than 800,000 people have been displaced due to terrorism, has been particularly affected by increased food insecurity (IMF).

 
Main Indicators 201920202021 (e)2022 (e)2023 (e)
GDP (billions USD) 15.39e14.0315.8316.7619.36
GDP (Constant Prices, Annual % Change) 2.3-1.2e2.55.312.6
GDP per Capita (USD) 507449492506569
General Government Gross Debt (in % of GDP) 105.4e128.5133.6127.6115.3
Inflation Rate (%) 2.83.1e6.26.45.5
Current Account (billions USD) -3.02-3.81e-5.38-3.85-7.28
Current Account (in % of GDP) -19.6-27.2e-34.0-23.0-37.6

Source: IMF – World Economic Outlook Database , October 2021

Note: (e) Estimated Data

Country Risk

See the country risk analysis provided by La Coface.

 

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Main Sectors of Industry

Mozambique is rich in natural resources and produces a large variety of agricultural products. It benefits from huge offshore gas fields discovered in 2010, which could turn the country into one of the main LNG producers in sub-Saharan Africa. It also has significant coal reserves and hydroelectric potential, and possesses the world’s largest reserves of tantalite. It is the 13th largest producer of cassava and the 18th producer of oilseeds (FAO, 2020). Although agriculture employs 70% of the country's active population, it represents only 25.6% of GDP (World Bank, 2020). Most agricultural production comes from family farms, but the sector is particularly vulnerable to natural disasters such as droughts and floods. The main crops in the country are corn, cassava, beans, rice and a variety of vegetables and oilseeds.

Mozambique’s natural resources include recently discovered gas and coal, high-quality iron ore, gold, bauxite, graphite, marble and the rare mineral tantalite. The manufacturing sector is still weak, and is dominated by the production of the Mozal aluminium smelter. Overall, the industrial sector contributes to 21.8% of the country's GDP and employs 9% of the active population.

The service sector represents 41.5% of GDP, and accounts for more than one fifth of total employment (21% of GDP). Tourism is the main industry, although it is still performing well below its potential. In addition to expanding financial services, the tertiary sector has a growing number of micro-scale retail businesses.
The COVID-19 pandemic caused significant disruptions, impacting mainly the services, transport, agriculture, manufacturing and communications sectors (IMF).

 
Breakdown of Economic Activity By Sector Agriculture Industry Services
Employment By Sector (in % of Total Employment) 70.2 8.6 21.2
Value Added (in % of GDP) 26.0 22.9 39.9
Value Added (Annual % Change) 2.6 -6.3 -2.4

Source: World Bank - Latest available data.

 
Monetary Indicators 20162017201820192020
Mozambique Metical (MZN) - Average Annual Exchange Rate For 1 USD 63.0663.5860.3362.6069.51

Source: World Bank - Latest available data.

 

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Foreign Trade

Mozambique is open to foreign trade, which represents more than 116% of the country's GDP (World Bank, 2019). It is a member of the WTO, and of the South African Development Community (SADC), and has signed trade agreements with Malawi and Zimbabwe. In February 2018, Mozambique joined the EU–SADC EPA that was signed in June 2016 by Botswana, Lesotho, Namibia, South Africa and Swaziland. The country also signed the African Continental Free Trade Agreement. The government seeks to reform its trade regulations to improve its business climate and encourage exports. Customs duties remain high and there are numerous non-tariff barriers in the country (such as slow customs clearance procedures). The country primarily exports natural resources (aluminium, coke and coal, electrical energy, hydrocarbons, titanium, gemstones), tobacco and sugar. Mozambique imports hydrocarbons, metal products (aluminium), electrical energy, vehicles, boats, foodstuffs (rice, wheat, and fish), cements and medications.

Mozambique's main customers are South Africa, India, the United Kingdom, China, Italy and the Netherlands. Its main suppliers are South Africa, China, India, the United Arab Emirates, Singapore and Portugal (Comtrade). Mozambique could become one of the largest exporters of natural gas in the world by 2024 (the country is home to the third largest reserve in Africa) thanks to the discovery of new reserves. The planned construction of natural gas power plants as well as the construction of a new dam should allow the country to increase its exports of electricity to neighboring countries. Export infrastructure (railways, deep water ports, liquefied natural gas plants) is also under construction, and will support exports of natural gas and coal to Asia. However, the Islamist insurgency in Cabo Delgado, a key region for gas production, will delay LNG projects.

Mozambique's trade balance is negative and is expected to remain negative until exports of coal and gas to Asia develop. It increased recently due the capital goods imports related to reconstruction and liquefied natural gas projects. In 2020, merchandise imports decreased to USD 6.47 billion, while exports slowed down to USD 3.59 billion. Imports of services reduced to USD 2.38 billion, while exports only reached USD 764 million (WTO). The trade deficit in goods amounted to USD -2.29 billion, and it reached USD -4.03 billion including services (World Bank). In 2022, a rebound in coal and aluminium exports is expected, and the start of LNG production at the Coral South offshore site should strengthen exports from June 2022 (Coface). Capital goods imports are expected to increase but the suspension of LNG projects could impact imports.

 
Foreign Trade Values 20162017201820192020
Imports of Goods (million USD) 5,2955,7456,9447,4286,471
Exports of Goods (million USD) 3,3554,7255,0124,6693,589
Imports of Services (million USD) 3,2032,9634,3222,7802,384
Exports of Services (million USD) 422658779931764

Source: World Trade Organisation (WTO) ; Latest available data

Foreign Trade Indicators 20162017201820192020
Foreign Trade (in % of GDP) 105.699.7127.2116.5n/a
Trade Balance (million USD) -1,405-498-973-2,084-2,294
Trade Balance (Including Service) (million USD) -4,106-2,830-4,543-3,971-4,028
Imports of Goods and Services (Annual % Change) 8.0-12.943.40.0n/a
Exports of Goods and Services (Annual % Change) -6.13.947.9-10.7n/a
Imports of Goods and Services (in % of GDP) 72.161.182.375.5n/a
Exports of Goods and Services (in % of GDP) 33.538.644.941.0n/a

Source: World Bank ; Latest available data

Foreign Trade Forecasts 20212022 (e)2023 (e)2024 (e)2025 (e)
Volume of exports of goods and services (Annual % change) -9.824.327.83.02.2
Volume of imports of goods and services (Annual % change) 0.30.541.69.74.9

Source: IMF, World Economic Outlook ; Latest available data

Note: (e) Estimated Data

 
International Economic Cooperation
Member of Southern African Development Community (SADC)

Member of African Union

Member of Cotonou Agreement

Member of African Growth and Opportunity Act beneficiary country

 

Main Partner Countries

Main Customers
(% of Exports)
2018
India 27.6%
Netherlands 21.2%
South Africa 17.2%
China 5.8%
Hong Kong SAR, China 2.4%
See More Countries 25.7%
Main Suppliers
(% of Imports)
2018
South Africa 26.1%
China 11.8%
United Arab Emirates 7.6%
Netherlands 7.6%
India 7.2%
See More Countries 39.6%

Source: Comtrade, Latest Available Data

 

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Political Outline

Current Political Leaders
President: Filipe Jacinto NYUSI (since 15 January 2015; re-elected 15 October 2019)
Prime Minister: Carlos Agostinho DO ROSARIO (since 17 January 2015)
Next Election Dates
Presidential: 2024
Assembly: 2024
Main Political Parties
The two main political parties in the country are the Mozambique Liberation Front (Frente de Libertação de Moçambique - FRELIMO), the sole legal political party until 1991 and the current leading party, which tends to be more popular in urban areas and in the north and south of the country; and the opposition party RANAMO, which is stronger in the central and coastal provinces of Manica, Sofala, Zambezia and Nampula. In total, there are also 50 smaller parties active at regional or national level. The Democratic Movement of Mozambique (MDM) is the third party represented in the Assembly of the Republic.
Executive Power
The Constitution of Mozambique gives a strong power to the President of the Republic, as he functions as the head of state, head of government, commander-in-chief of the armed forces, and as a symbol of national unity. The President is directly elected for a five-year term.
The Prime Minister is appointed by the President. His functions include convening and chairing the Council of Ministers (cabinet), advising the President, assisting the President in governing the country, and coordinating the functions of the other Ministers.
Legislative Power
Mozambique has a unicameral system: the Assembly of the Republic (Assembleia da República) has 250 members, elected for a five-year term by proportional representation.
 

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COVID-19 Country Response

COVID-19 epidemic evolution
To find out about the latest status of the COVID19 pandemic evolution and the most up-to-date statistics on the COVID19 disease in Mozambique, please visit the Mozambican government platform with the official data. Official information on the progress of the epidemic in Mozambique is consolidated by the Ministry of Health (MISAU), which provides a daily epidemiological update and key national figures.
For the international outlook you can consult the latest situation reports published by the World Health Organisation as well as the global daily statistics on the coronavirus pandemic evolution including data on confirmed cases and deaths by country.
Sanitary measures
To find out about the latest public health situation in Mozambique and the current sanitary measures in vigour, please consult the Mozambican government platform Info COVID-19 including the up-to-date information on the containment measures put in place and public health recommendations.
Travel restrictions
The COVID-19 situation, including the spread of new variants, evolves rapidly and differs from country to country. All travelers need to pay close attention to the conditions at their destination before traveling. Regularly updated information for all countries with regards to Covid-19 related travel restrictions in place including entry regulations, flight bans, test requirements and quarantine is available on TravelDoc Infopage.
It is also highly recommended to consult COVID-19 Travel Regulations Map provided and updated on the daily basis by IATA.
The US government website of Centers of Disease Control and Prevention provides COVID-19 Travel Recommendations by Destination.

The UK Foreign travel advice also provides travelling abroad advice for all countries, including the latest information on coronavirus, safety and security, entry requirements and travel warnings.
Import & export restrictions
For the information on all the measures applicable to movement of goods during the period of sanitary emergency due to the COVID-19 outbreak (including eventual restrictions on imports and exports, if applicable), please consult the portal of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs and Cooperation (MINEC).
For a general overview of trade restrictions due to COVID-19 pandemic, please consult the section dedicated to Mozambique on the International Trade Centre's COVID-19 Temporary Trade Measures webpage.
Economic recovery plan
For the information on the economic recovery scheme put in place by the Mozambican government to address the impact of the COVID19 pandemic on the Mozambican economy, please visit the website of the Ministry of Economy and Finance (MEF). The information on the Mozambican economic emergency plan is available here.

For the general overview of the key economic policy responses to the COVID-19 outbreak (fiscal, monetary and macroeconomic) taken by the Mozambican government to limit the socio-economic impact of the COVID-19 pandemic, please consult the section dedicated to Mozambique in the IMF’s Policy Tracker platform.
Support plan for businesses
For the information on the local business support scheme established by the Mozambican government to help small and medium-sized companies to deal with the economic impacts of the COVID19 epidemic on their activity, please consult the portal of the Ministry of Economy and Finance and the Bank of Mozambique website.

For a general overview of international SME support policy responses to the COVID-19 outbreak refer to the World Bank's Map of SME-Support Measures in Response to COVID-19.

Support plan for exporters
To find out about the support plan for exporters put in place by the Mozambican government, please consult the Bank of Mozambique website.
 

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