Stagnation in the fixed-line network in Mozambique contrasts with rapid growth in the mobile-cellular network. Cellular coverage now includes all the main cities and key roads, including those from Maputo to the South African and Swaziland borders, the national highway through Gaza and Inhambane provinces, the Beira corridor, and from Nampula to Nacala. Fixed-line teledensity is very low, and despite significant growth in mobile-cellular services, mobile teledensity also remains low at about 35 per 100 persons (2011). ADSL Internet access is available for home and business customers. The National Communications Institute of Mozambique (INCM) regulates and supervises the communications sector.
At independence in 1975, Mozambique was one of the world’s poorest countries. Socialist policies, economic mismanagement, and a brutal civil war from 1977 to 1992 further impoverished the country. In 1987, the government embarked on a series of macroeconomic reforms designed to stabilize the economy. Fiscal reforms, including the introduction of a value-added tax and reform of the customs service, have improved the government’s revenue collection abilities.
In spite of these gains, more than half the population remains below the poverty line. Subsistence agriculture continues to employ the vast majority of the country’s work force. Citizens rioted in September 2010 after fuel, water, electricity, and bread price increases were announced. In an attempt to lessen the negative impact on the population, the government implemented subsidies, decreased taxes and tariffs, and instituted other fiscal measures.
Mozambique’s ability to attract large investment projects in natural resources is expected to sustain high growth rates in coming years although weaker global demand for commodities is likely to weaken expected revenues from these vast resources, including natural gas, coal, titanium, and hydroelectric capacity.