Mozambique, located in East Africa, covers a surface area of 799 380 sq km (2019). It is considered one of the poorest countries in the world . The country’s area is subdivided into 10 provinces. Mozambique possesses the third longest coastline in the Indian Ocean covering a total distance of 2700 km . It is bordered to the north by Tanzania, to the east by the Mozambique Channel, which separates it from the island of Madagascar, to the south and southwest by South Africa and Swaziland, to the west by Zimbabwe, and to the northwest by Zambia, Malawi, and Lake Nyasa .
The country’s climate is generally tropical, with precipitation varying widely from the wetter north to the dryer south and from the coast to the inland areas. Average rainfall amounts range from 800 - 1 200 mm per year, while average temperatures range from 20 - 27oC . Drought in the southern regions and prolonged civil war that ended in 1992 led to significant migration to coastal and urban areas .
Mozambique’s population is estimated at 32.712 million (in 2022) , and according to current projections it is estimated to grow by an annual rate of 2.9%, surpassing 100 million by 2078 .
The country is mainly rural and largely dependent on farming. Only 37.07% of the population live in urban areas (2020)  with an annual urban population growth at 4.3705% in 2020 . The capital and most populated city of the country is Maputo with around 1.2 million people, followed by Matola and Beira .
Mozambique is considered a low-income  with about two-thirds of its population of more than 31 million (2020) live and work in rural areas. It is endowed with ample arable land, water, energy, as well as mineral resources and newly discovered natural gas offshore; three, deep seaports; and a relatively large potential pool of labor. It is also strategically located; four of the six countries it borders are landlocked, and hence dependent on Mozambique as a conduit to global markets. Mozambique’s strong ties to the region’s economic engine, South Africa, underscore the importance of its economic, political, and social development to the stability and growth of Southern Africa as a whole .
Agriculture contributed 29.3% of Mozambique’s Gross Value-Added, while employing 69.9% of total labour. The contribution of services to the national economy is high at over 44% [World Bank. 2021. World Statistics Pocketbook 2021. World Bank, Washington DC], making the country’s economy skewed towards consumption. The country’s GDP was growing steadily until it slowed down due to the covid-19 pandemic. In 2010, GDP was estimated at US$11.105 billion, reached US$15.951 in 2015, and then fell slightly to US$15.297 in 2021 .
It is being progressively more recognized in Mozambique that science, technology and innovation (STI) have a key role to play in the country’ development “as a primary productive force” (MST, 2008; Day, 2007). The National Science and Technology Policy (NSTP) was adopted in 2000, followed by the release of the Science and Technology Policy in June 2003. The policy focuses on research (knowledge production); education (foundations of scientific knowledge and learning culture critical for technological innovation); innovation (based on creative capacity for creation, use and adaptation by economic agents); and diffusion (provides society access to knowledge and technology and fuels creativity and innovation)
(Mouton, n.d., p. 125). In June 2006, Mozambique approved the Science, Technology and Innovation Strategy (STIS) and Information and Communication Technology Strategy (ICTS) to provide strategic directions for technology and innovation contribution to poverty reduction, to economic growth and to wealth creation in the country (Massingue, 2006) .
Mozambique is subject to natural disasters such as cyclones. In March 2019 Mozambique was pummeled by Cyclone Idai, which killed about 600 people and devastated a sizable swath of the country. Hardest hit was the port city of Beira, which was almost completely destroyed. This was followed in April by another cyclone, named Kenneth, which hit the northern part of the country and left more than 40 people dead. In all, more than 162,000 Mozambicans were estimated to have been displaced by the two storms .
At the same time, the human rights situation in Mozambique deteriorated in 2020 largely as a result of the ongoing conflict in the north of the country. The humanitarian situation in the northern province of Cabo Delgado worsened due to insecurity and violence, leaving over 250,000 people displaced. An Islamist armed group, locally known as Al-Sunna wa Jama’a, continued to attack villages, killing civilians, kidnapping women and children, and burning and destroying properties. State security forces were implicated in serious abuses, including arbitrary arrests, abductions, torture, use of excessive force against unarmed civilians, intimidation, and extrajudicial executions. In central Mozambique, armed men believed to be part of another insurgent campaign by dissident militants from the opposition Renamo party attacked private and public vehicles, killing dozens of people in August and September 2020 .
Created with the mandate to ensure and promote sustainable and equitable development, the Ministry of Land, Environment and Rural Development has the overall mandate on the environment in Mozambique. The ministry focuses on reducing socio-economic inequalities with emphasis on the rural environment, by promoting a diversified and inclusive economy . The ministry has the mandate of coordinating and fulfillment of national and international initiatives on environment and biodiversity issues as well as to adopt the basic legislation that links to the national policy for environment . Mozambique’s Ministry of Land, Environment and Rural Development works closely with the Ministry of Public Works and Housing on environmental matters that also fall within the jurisdiction of local authorities. Other key national institutions are the National Water Council, Board of Water and Sanitation Infrastructure, Water Supply Investment and Assets Fund, and the Administration of Water Infrastructure and Sanitation .
Key legislation that covers the environment include the Land Act, Environment Act, Forestry and Wildlife Act, Conservation Law, Regulation for the Prevention of Marine Pollution, Regulation on Pesticides Management, and Environmental Impact Assessment Regulations . The country is also party to a number of global agreements relevant to the environment.
Cooperation between Mozambique and the European Union came into existence after Mozambique´s independence in 1975. The close relationship between the two parties encompasses partnerships at bilateral, regional and global level .
Mozambique is an important partner for the EU in Southern Africa, as indicated in the Council Conclusions of April 2020 also due to its proximity to European Union territories in the Indian Ocean. European investment is significant and is expected to increase. Financial co-operation will therefore be complemented by continued European Economic Diplomacy. Overall, the EU's aim will be to deepen and strengthen the EU's political, economic and cultural relationships with Mozambique through a comprehensive humanitarian-development-peace triple nexus approach contributing to peace, stability and sustainable and inclusive development in the forthcoming period . According to the Multi annual indicative Programme 2021-2027, the cooperation between the EU and Mozambique will support the country’s transformation through economic, social and political inclusion. The three identified priority areas are: (i) growing green (search for inclusive and sustainable development model to which the EU can provide strategic contribution encouraging the country to look at the potential of a genuinely sustainable development model, shaped by the principles of the European Green Deal); (ii) growing youth (need to kick-start the country’s digital transformation to which the EU will contribute to harnessing digital technologies and innovation to transform the Mozambican society and economy, generate inclusive economic growth, stimulate job creation and break the digital divide); and (iii) governance, peace and just society (enhancing democratic, accountable and transparent institutions at central and decentralised levels, by promoting responsive, inclusive, participatory societies and representative decision-making, supporting independent and pluralistic media, access to information and fighting misinformation, and by protecting and promoting human rights) .
Moreover, the Green Deal for Mozambique (GDxM) Team Europe Initiative was developed to contextualize the EU Green Deal commitments to engage in the transformational change necessary to contribute to the global fight against climate change and to guarantee long-term sustainability to the European development model. The initiative wants to support the Government in the definition and implementation of its National Determined Contribution under the Paris Agreement Framework; and on the other hand, to look into two main macro-areas of action: (i) marine/coastal ecosystems – with the sustainable “Blue Economy” programme with conservation and sustainable fishery initiatives and opportunities related to plastic pollution and circular economy opportunities - and (ii) forest sustainable management – with technical and financial instruments to ensure the coexistence of forests and productive agriculture, a comprehensive landscape approaches to forest conservation, management and restoration, as well as building policy coherence, trade agreements and overall EU commercial practices .
In line with the EU’s Green Deal to reduce greenhouse gas emissions by 55% by 2030 from their 1990 levels, Mozambique should aim to reach a target of under 1 million tons of carbon dioxide emissions by 2030.
The country needs to comprehensively invest in renewable energy, including gas, hydro, solar and wind power. The country also needs to grow its domestic market for electricity, as well as gradually migrate away from firewood and charcoal as major forms of domestic energy supply.
Mozambique’s vulnerability to climate change is a function of its location and geography. In fact, large areas of the country are exposed to tropical cyclones, droughts (every three to four years) and river/coastal storm surge flooding. This vulnerability is augmented by the country’s 2,470 km of coastline and socioeconomic fragility . More than 60% of the population lives in low-lying coastal areas, where intense storms from the Indian Ocean and sea level rise put infrastructure, coastal agriculture, key ecosystems and fisheries at risk. Climate change is also a serious risk for agriculture, which employs 75% of the country’s workforce. Most producers are subsistence, smallholder farmers, and the majority of production is rainfed, vulnerable to rising temperatures and variable rainfall .
Mozambique has the largest electrical power generation potential in Southern Africa estimated at 187 gigawatts. Major resources for power generation include coal, hydro, gas, wind and solar. Presently hydropower accounts for 81% of installed electricity capacity, although natural gas and renewable energy sources are gradually increasing their share to Mozambique’s energy mix. Despite its large potential for electricity generation, the country’s installed capacity is only 3,001 MW  and only 34% of the population has access to electricity . The poor access to electricity is due to limited transmission and distribution networks and unfavorable market conditions for new generation. To work around the cost of expanding the grid to rural areas, the Government of Mozambique has made rural electrification development a priority led by the Mozambique Energy Fund Institute, and focusing on off-grid projects of less than 10MW . The country also needs to develop its infrastructure for electricity transmission to the domestic market.
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