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Mozambique Country Report

Country Risk Level

High

Overview

Executive Summary

The IMF approved a USD309-million emergency assistance package for Mozambique in April 2020, which is intended to help in strengthening healthcare services and social protections, and supporting micro, small and medium-sized businesses. This will provide much-needed relief in light of the economic impact of the COVID-19 outbreak, and will ensure that reconstruction efforts can continue in areas hit by two cyclones in 2019. In March 2020, RENAMO again declared its commitment to the completion of the demilitarisation and reintegration into society of its members. However, a small group of breakaway militants from RENAMO is likely to continue to stage attacks in the central provinces of Sofala, Zambezia, and Tete. An Islamist insurgency in Cabo Delgado province, which began in October 2017 with attacks on villages close to the northern border with Tanzania, increased in intensity during 2019. Insurgents are still unlikely to launch attacks against LNG infrastructure (both onshore and offshore) due to the strong presence of government and private security forces.In March 2020, the government announced the closure of land borders and air- and sea ports after the confirmation of one case of coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19) inside the country. It also announced the closure of all schools. Measures to contain the COVID-19 virus outbreak are likely to become more stringent as more cases are confirmed. Government is very likely to impose restrictions on gatherings and limit the movement of people to activities such as buying food and seeking medical attention. Mozambique’s GDP is expected to contract by 2.0% in 2020, down from 2.9% growth previously expected. A slowdown in post-cyclone reconstruction efforts and temporary disruptions to large-scale liquefied natural gas project development underline the growth revision.

Operational Outlook

Mozambique's government has outlined four priority areas for investment as part of its long-term development strategy: agriculture; energy; mineral resources, especially liquefied natural gas (LNG); and tourism. Regulations covering workforces in mining, LNG, and oil production sectors will likely be relaxed to encourage FDI in the current low-oil-price environment. Undefined employment quotas for locals increase the risk of requirements for increased recruitment of additional Mozambican employees. Cyclones Idai and Kenneth have inflicted significant damage on the port cities of Beira and Pemba, which are likely to take more than 12 months to realise full capacity.

Terrorism

Suspected jihadist attacks throughout Mozambique's Cabo Delgado province are likely to continue in the 12-month outlook as insurgent groups seek to achieve notoriety and boost recruitment to their ranks. Increased sophistication and the insurgents' more-prolific use of ammunition indicate greater access to resources than before, likely due to support from other East African terrorist groups. Despite this, the groups are unlikely to have the capability to directly attack onshore oil and gas exploration facilities or support logistics for offshore gas activity in Cabo Delgado because the government has provided security for oil and gas companies operating in the north to complement the use of private security forces.

Crime

Increased urban crime rates are driven by relatively easy access to weapons and the growth of drug-smuggling. Street crime and pickpocketing are likely to be a problem in Maputo and other major cities, as well as random incidents of armed robbery. In Maputo and Matola, kidnappings have increased markedly since 2013. In September 2016, police warned of car theft at gunpoint in Maputo, with two motorists killed during such incidents that month. The threat of crime, including robberies and hijackings, is heightened closer to the border with neighbouring South Africa, while incidents of carjacking are frequent near the border crossing with Eswatini.

War Risks

Interstate warfare between Mozambique and its neighbours is unlikely. A peace agreement signed in August 2019 has reduced the likelihood of a return to widespread fighting between RENAMO and government forces, although there have been occasional attacks on government infrastructure in central provinces by militant RENAMO forces. Every general election presents threats of fresh attacks in central and northern Mozambique, including on transport infrastructure. The escalation of an Islamist insurgency in Cabo Delgado will likely continue, leading to more frequent direct confrontations with the Mozambican army.

Social Stability

Mozambique has not experienced any intensive and frequent civil unrest. However, debt distress and the impact of tropical cyclones on agriculture are likely to trigger social instability and civil unrest due to rising costs of living and reductions in a number of state subsidies.

Health Risk

Vaccinations required to enter the country

Proof of vaccination against yellow fever is required if traveling from a country with risk of yellow fever transmission and over one year of age.

Routine Vaccinations

Hepatitis A: A vaccine is available for anyone over one year of age. The vaccine may not be effective for certain people, e.g. those born before 1945 and who lived as a child in a developing country and/or have a past history of jaundice (icterus). These people can instead get a shot of immune globulin (IG) to boost their immunity against the disease.

Hepatitis B: A vaccine is available for children at least two months old.

Diphtheria-Tetanus-Polio: A booster shot should be administered if necessary (once every ten years).

Other Vaccinations

Typhoid Fever: If your travels take you to regions with poor sanitary conditions (for children two years old and up).

Rabies: For prolonged stays in an isolated region (for children from when they can walk).

Malaria: Recommended preventive medication - mefloquine (sometimes marketed as Lariam) or doxycycline (sometimes marketed as Vibramycin).

For Children: All standard childhood immunizations should be up-to-date. In the case of a long stay, the BCG vaccine is recommended for children over one month and the MMR (measles-mumps-rubella) vaccine for children over nine months.

Natural Risks

Mozambique is exposed to a number of natural hazards. The rainy season lasts from November through April, often causing flash floods and landslides, notably in the Zambezi River valley. Beginning in 2015, the northern and central parts of the country experienced severe flooding, including in the Zambezi and Licungo basins, causing dozens of deaths and displacing millions of people.

Cyclones may hit the coastal region. In January 2012, Cyclone Funso caused a dozen deaths and thousands were left homeless. Similarly, in February 2017 the southern province of Inhambane was hit by a violent cyclone, Dineo, which caused severe damage to infrastructure and displaced hundreds of people. 

A high risk of drowning exists along the entire coast of Mozambique due to strong winds and powerful currents. Swimmers are advised to remain close to shore; beaches are not monitored in Mozambique. Shark attacks are rare but possible.

Transportation

Road accidents are common in Mozambique due to aggressive and potentially dangerous local driving habits (excessive speed, driving while intoxicated, etc.). In case of an accident, it is advised to immediately travel to the closest police station in order to avoid a hostile reaction, and potential violence.

In Maputo and other major cities, the risk of assault, theft, and carjacking exists. It is advised to hide your personal belongings in a safe location and drive with locked doors and closed windows. It is advised not to park in isolated or dimly lit areas. Outside Maputo, remain particularly vigilant when traveling between Boane and Swaziland as cases of carjacking have been reported, notably at the border crossing between Namaacha and Goba. It is recommended not to pick up foreign nationals or to stop on the roadside if there are pedestrians or drivers in distress on the motorways; these are techniques often used by criminals. It is also advisable to remain vigilant when driving along the coast, as violent criminal activities have been reported in coastal areas. Finally, drivers taking the EN7 between Vanduzi and Tete should be extremely careful as there are reports of robbery, extortion, and physical assault taking place along the route. It is advised to monitor the situation and consider postponing any travel if warnings point to tensions in the destination zone.

Traveling can be dangerous outside major urban centers due to the absence of signage as well as poorly maintained roads, especially during the rainy season that lasts from November through April. Furthermore, night driving should be strictly avoided due to poor street lighting and infrastructure disrepair. It is recommended to only travel during the day. Gas stations throughout the country are often located far apart from each other. National Road 1 (north-south) is the country's main motorway and is in decent condition. National Road 6 between Beira and the border with Zimbabwe is poorly maintained between Beira and Inchope (where it crosses National 1). The roads to and from South Africa are in good condition but should be crossed using 4x4 vehicles.

Police frequently monitor vehicle speed using radars. Drivers should respect speed limits, typically 60 km/h (37 mph) in urban centers and 120 km/h (75 mph) on national roads, although speeds are limited in some sections to 100 km/h (60 mph). Police officers often seek bribes from tourists; it is advised not to agree to their demands. Request a reason justifying the arrest and pay a fine at the police station, if necessary.

Day driving using a 4x4 vehicle with a convoy of at least two vehicles, stocked with sufficient water, food, and gas provisions, is recommended. Also, it is advised to travel with spare parts (tires, cables, etc.) and arrange for means of telecommunication. Always travel with identification and car insurance documents as police patrols and checkpoints are common. However, prior to handing over your ID documents, make sure that the person is an official civil servant.

As a reminder, cars drive on the left side of the road in Mozambique. Additionally, a valid international driver's license is required. For those individuals planning to stay in the country for a relatively long period of time, a Mozambican driving license is compulsory. Car insurance is also required but can be bought at customs. It is necessary to travel with two reflective warning triangles as well as reflective gear in case the vehicle breaks down or is parked on the side of the road.

Although mine-clearing operations have been completed, it is advised to remain vigilant during any travel to the remote border regions of Mozambique.

Public transportation is not reliable due to worn out vehicle conditions and faulty roads.

A rail service exists in the country, notably between Maputo and Johannesburg. Nonetheless, security is weak and there are frequent accidents. It is advised to avoid public transportation.

Individuals should avoid sailing along the Mozambican coast due to the risk of piracy.

It is recommended to avoid taking Mozambican airlines - except for LAM - as they are all on the EU's blacklist.

Practical Information

Climate

Mozambique has a tropical climate. The rainy season lasts from November until March with temperatures fluctuating between 26°C and 31°C, higher in the north of the country. Rainfall is heavier in the northern and central regions (high plateau, inland) than in the south. The dry season extends from April until October and conditions during this period are significantly cooler (15°C to 20°C). Mozambican skies are often sunny and blue.

Useful Numbers

Country Code: +258

There are no emergency services in Mozambique.

Electricity

Voltage: 220 V ~ 50 Hz

Outlets:

Risk Level
Critical High Medium Low Minimal