Mozambique flag Mozambique: Economic and Political Overview

The economic context of Mozambique

Economic Indicators

For the latest updates on the key economic responses from governments to address the economic impact of the COVID-19 pandemic, please consult the IMF's policy tracking platform Policy Responses to COVID-19.

Mozambique’s economy recorded average growth rates above 7% of GDP over the period 2000-2016, supported by foreign investment, the rapid growth of the mining sector and the increase in coal and hydrocarbon reserves. However, the economy has slowed down, impacted by a sovereign debt crisis, the passage of tropical cyclones and more recently the Covid-19 pandemic. For the first time in thirty years, GDP contracted by -1.2% in 2020 (IMF). Supported by robust growth in agriculture and mining as well as recovery in services as Covid-related restrictions were eased, economic growth resumed modestly in 2021, reaching 2.5%. It is expected to pick up to 5.3% in 2022 and further accelerate to 12.6% in 2023, boosted by the start of liquefied natural gas (LNG) production at the Coral South offshore site (IMF). However, a deterioration of the security situation in the gas-rich Cabo Delgado province, a resumption of the epidemic and the occurrence of natural disasters are downside risks.

As Mozambique was still pursuing its reconstruction efforts after the passage two cyclones, the economy contracted sharply due to the Covid-19 pandemic. The government put in place emergency measures such as increasing health spending, strengthening social protection to the most vulnerable, and supporting micro, small, and medium-sized businesses (IMF), and benefited from emergency funding from the IMF. This prompt and effective response helped the economy to recover in 2021. However, public deficit widened due to increased expenditures linked to the security and humanitarian situation in the north of the country, Covid-related spending and a reform of public sector remuneration (IMF). It amounted to an estimated -6.2% GDP in 2021, and is projected to decrease to -4.5% GDP in 2022 (Coface). Primary fiscal balance is expected to be reached in 2026, after LNG revenues increase (IMF). Public debt, which was already very high, further increased to 133.6% GDP in 2021 (IMF). It is expected to slowly decrease to 127.6% GDP in 2022 and 115.3% GDP in 2023 (IMF), remaining at worrying levels. Progress has been made in debt restructuring but Mozambique remains over-indebted. Inflation increased from an estimated 3.1% in 2020 to 6.2% in 2021, due to seasonal factors, supply-chain constraints and international food and fuel price increases (IMF). Tight monetary stance has helped keep inflation within the central bank’s target of less than 10%. According to IMF estimates, inflation is expected to reach 6.4% in 2022 before declining to 5.5% in 2023. Although foreign exchange and metical reserves have stabilized, the large current account deficit exposes the country to external shocks. The government’s priorities are fiscal consolidation and debt reduction. The 2022 budget includes spending cuts, and the authorities hope to improve tax revenue. A project to create a sovereign wealth fund fuelled by hydrocarbon revenues could help improve the management of the country's resources. The country is holding talks with the IMF for an extended credit facility to help ease its financing burden.

Unemployment rate was estimated at 3.4% in 2020 according to the World Bank (modeled ILO estimate). However, according to the African Development Bank, the unemployment rate was 25% in 2018, and among young people it reached 30%. Social inequalities are increasing and a large part of the population lives in poverty (over 63% according to AFDB), especially in rural areas. The northern province of Cabo Delgado, where more than 800,000 people have been displaced due to terrorism, has been particularly affected by increased food insecurity (IMF).

Main Indicators 20202021202220232024
GDP (billions USD) 14.1615.7817.8719.6221.76
GDP (Constant Prices, Annual % Change) -
GDP per Capita (USD) 454492542579624
General Government Gross Debt (in % of GDP) 120.0106.4102.4102.699.8
Inflation Rate (%) 3.15.711.38.68.2
Current Account (billions USD) -3.87-3.62-8.20-7.78-8.45
Current Account (in % of GDP) -27.3-22.9-45.9-39.6-38.8

Source: IMF – World Economic Outlook Database, October 2021

Main Sectors of Industry

Mozambique is rich in natural resources and produces a large variety of agricultural products. It benefits from huge offshore gas fields discovered in 2010, which could turn the country into one of the main LNG producers in sub-Saharan Africa. It also has significant coal reserves and hydroelectric potential, and possesses the world’s largest reserves of tantalite. It is the 13th largest producer of cassava and the 18th producer of oilseeds (FAO, 2020). Although agriculture employs 70% of the country's active population, it represents only 25.6% of GDP (World Bank, 2020). Most agricultural production comes from family farms, but the sector is particularly vulnerable to natural disasters such as droughts and floods. The main crops in the country are corn, cassava, beans, rice and a variety of vegetables and oilseeds.

Mozambique’s natural resources include recently discovered gas and coal, high-quality iron ore, gold, bauxite, graphite, marble and the rare mineral tantalite. The manufacturing sector is still weak, and is dominated by the production of the Mozal aluminium smelter. Overall, the industrial sector contributes to 21.8% of the country's GDP and employs 9% of the active population.

The service sector represents 41.5% of GDP, and accounts for more than one fifth of total employment (21% of GDP). Tourism is the main industry, although it is still performing well below its potential. In addition to expanding financial services, the tertiary sector has a growing number of micro-scale retail businesses.
The COVID-19 pandemic caused significant disruptions, impacting mainly the services, transport, agriculture, manufacturing and communications sectors (IMF).

Breakdown of Economic Activity By Sector Agriculture Industry Services
Employment By Sector (in % of Total Employment) 70.2 8.6 21.2
Value Added (in % of GDP) 27.5 21.9 40.1
Value Added (Annual % Change) 3.4 -0.4 2.9

Source: World Bank, Latest Available Data. Because of rounding, the sum of the percentages may be smaller/greater than 100%.


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Indicator of Economic Freedom


The Economic freedom index measure ten components of economic freedom, grouped into four broad categories or pillars of economic freedom: Rule of Law (property rights, freedom from corruption); Limited Government (fiscal freedom, government spending); Regulatory Efficiency (business freedom, labour freedom, monetary freedom); and Open Markets (trade freedom, investment freedom, financial freedom). Each of the freedoms within these four broad categories is individually scored on a scale of 0 to 100. A country’s overall economic freedom score is a simple average of its scores on the 10 individual freedoms.}}

World Rank:
Regional Rank:

Economic freedom in the world (interactive map)
Source: Index of Economic Freedom, Heritage Foundation


Country Risk

See the country risk analysis provided by Coface.

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Sources of General Economic Information

Ministry of Agriculture and Rural Development
Ministry of Energy and Mineral Resources
Ministry of Culture and Tourism
Ministry of Industry and Trade
Ministry of Economy and Finance
Statistical Office
National Institute of Statistics
Central Bank
Central Bank
Stock Exchange
Stock Exchange of Mozambique
Economic Portals
Institute of Social and Economic Studies (IESE - Instituto de Estudos Sociais e Económicos)

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Latest Update: March 2023