Graça Machel is a former Chairperson of the Commonwealth Foundation.
Maria Lurdes Mutola, born in Maputo, took the Commonwealth Games Women’s 800 Metres record at the Manchester Games in 2002.
Mozambique is in south-east Africa and borders (anti-clockwise,
from north) the United Republic of Tanzania, Malawi, Zambia, Zimbabwe, South Africa, Swaziland and the Indian Ocean.
The country is divided into eleven provinces (from south to north): Maputo, Maputo city, Gaza, Inhambane, Manica, Sofala, Zambézia, Tete, Nampula, Niassa and Cabo Delgado.
Maputo (capital, pop. 1.23m in 2014), Matola (greater Maputo, 893,000), Nampula (Nampula province, 605,800), Beira (Sofala, 459,500), Chimoio (Manica, 304,900), Nacala (Nampula, 238,100), Quelimane (Zambézia, 235,900), Mocuba (Zambézia, 213,600), Tete (Tete, 205,600), Lichinga (Niassa, 204,900), Garue (Zambézia, 194,600), Pemba (Cabo Delgado, 190,700), Xai-Xai (Gaza, 127,400), Maxixe (Inhambane, 125,200), Gurué (Zambézia, 122,300), Angoche (Nampula, 104,700), Cuamba (Niassa, 101,500), Montepuez (Cabo Delgado, 91,600), Inhambane (Inhambane, 76,900) and Dondo (Sofala, 76,200).
There are 30,330 km of roads, 21 per cent paved. The road network links with all neighbouring countries except Tanzania in the north. There is a new toll road from Maputo to Witbank in the industrial heartland of South Africa.
The railway network extends to 3,116 km.
Beyond domestic needs, Beira, Maputo and Nacala are important ports for Malawi, Swaziland, Zambia and Zimbabwe.
International airports are Maputo International, 3 km north-west of the city, and Beira, 13 km from the city.
Mozambique is a member of the African, Caribbean and Pacific Group of States, African Union, Indian Ocean Rim Association, Non-Aligned Movement, Organisation of Islamic Cooperation, Southern African Development Community, United Nations and World Trade Organization.
Mozambique occupies the eastern fringe of the great southern African escarpment. The mountains of the interior fall to a broad plateau, which descends to coastal hills and plain. Rivers generally run west to east. The coastal beaches are fringed by lagoons, coral reefs and strings of islands. The extensive low plateau covers nearly half the land area. The Zambezi is the largest of 25 main rivers.
Tropical and subtropical. Inland is cooler than the coast and rainfall higher as the land rises. The hottest and wettest season is October to March. From April to September the coast has warm, mainly dry weather, tempered by sea breezes. The country is vulnerable to cyclones.
The most significant environmental issues are desertification, pollution of surface and coastal waters, and persistent migration of people from the hinterland to urban and coastal areas.
The plateau is savannah – dry and open bushveld and wide stretches of grassland. There are patches of forest in the western and northern highlands. Dense subtropical bush characterises the coastal plain. Forest covers 49 per cent of the land area, having declined at 0.5 per cent p.a. 1990–2010. Arable land comprises seven per cent and permanent cropland 0.4 per cent of the total land area.
Mozambique has four national parks. Gorongosa, the biggest, extends to 3,770 sq km. There are also many forest and game reserves harbouring zebras, water buffaloes, giraffes, lions, elephants and rhinos, and many varieties of tropical water birds such as flamingos, cranes, storks and pelicans. Some 179 species of mammals have been recorded, 12 of which are endangered (2014).
Commonwealth Secretary-General Kamalesh Sharma has sent messages to the Presidents of Malawi and Mozambique following devastating floods in both countries in which many people have lost their lives.