The Republic of Mozambique is located in Southeastern Africa between South Africa and Tanzania. It has a border with the Mozambique Channel in the Indian Ocean. The most fertile area of the country is around the Zambezi River that flows through the north-central section. The most populous city is the capital of Mozambique, Maputo. The official language is Portuguese; however it is not the most common. Emakhuwa, Xichangana, Cisena, Elomwe, and Echuwabo are all other languages spoken throughout the country. The most common religion is Catholicism, comprising 28.4% of the country. Then there is the 27.7% who are Protestant, 17.9% who are Muslim and the 7.2% who follow indigenous beliefs. Mozambique is populated by approximately 23,515,934 people with a small portion of them being European and Indian.
The economy of the country had some trouble growing after independence; however after great assistance from foreign countries it has begun to turn things around. The current estimated GDP (PPP) is $23.87 billion at a fairly steady growth rate of 7.2%. Since most of the work force is employed by subsistence farming the GDP per capita (PPP) remains comparatively low at $1,100 with over half the population living below the poverty line. Since Mozambique’s main export is aluminum it can be subject to volatile international prices that can disrupt the domestic economy.
Mozambique was a Portuguese colony for nearly five centuries before it gained independence in 1975. The country was originally Marxist under the ruling party, the Front for the Liberation of Mozambique (Frelimo), but the party has since renounced its association with the ideology. This allowed for a new constitution in 1990 that called for multiparty elections and the introduction of a free market economy. This transition was marred by violence between Frelimo and the Mozambique National Resistance (Renamo). The fighting ended in 1992 after the parties signed an UN-negotiated peace agreement. The current president is Armando Emilio Guebuza who came to power in 2005 after Joaquim Chissano stepped down after 18 years in office. Guebuza was reelected in October 2009, however there has been conflict surrounding the elections with claims of voter fraud.