Information Technologies Group The Center for International Development Harvard University

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by Magda Ismail

May 1st, 2001

Information Technologies Group

The Center for International Development

Harvard University

Table of Contents

Executive Summary 3

National Background 4

Where is it? 4

Politics 4

Economy 4

Internet and Telecom Background: History and Key Players 5


Fixed Services 7

National IT Survey 8

Network Policy 8

ICT Policy 8

Telecom Policy 10

Trade Policy 11

Network Access 11

Information Infrastructure 11

Internet Availability 11

Internet Affordability 12

Network Speed and Quality 13

Hardware and Software 13

Networked Learning 13

Schools’ Access to ICTs 13

Enhancing Education with ICTs 14

Developing the ICT Workforce 15

Networked Society 16

People and Organizations Online 16

Locally Relevant Content 16

ICTs in Everyday Life 16

ICT’s in the Workplace 17

Networked Health 17

Networked Economy 18

Banking Sector 18

ICT Employment Opportunities 18

Electronic Commerce 18

E-Government 19

SME’s 20

Thoughts… 21

Appendix A Acronyms 23

Appendix B Websites 23

Appendix C Internet Subscription Charges 23

Appendix D – List of Interviewees 25

Executive Summary

offer me a fishing rod – rather than a good catch

Mozambique, a country that is one of the poorest in the world, yet one of the fastest growing, has a strong potential to become a competitive asset in the new world economy. There are many obstacles to overcome – such as severe illiteracy rates, lack of basic infrastructure, such as teledensity and electricity in many areas - yet there is room for great improvement. This report endeavors to provide an overall picture of the status of information and communication technologies in Mozambique in the year 2001. The country is led by many bright minds who are tirelessly striving to lay the foundations and building blocks of an economy that can compete in the new world order, an economy that has only recently ended two wars, one civil and the other of independence, not so long ago.

This report aims to present the country’s national background, furnishing information about its economy, demography, political situation and providing basic information about the Internet, information technology and telecommunications environment. The readiness methodology developed by Harvard’s Information Technologies Group: “Readiness for the Networked World1” will be used to analyze the status of ICT in Mozambique. Then it provides a description of Mozambique’s telecommunications policy and ICT trade policy and analyzes whether these policies facilitate or obstruct ICT development in Mozambique. The following section moves on to describe the networked access environment, discussing information infrastructure, Internet availability and affordability issues and related software and hardware environment issues. Within this context, the use of the Internet and information technology in various applications such as learning, health and economy will be addressed. Finally, an analysis of how IT is used by society at large will be presented. The last part of the report will portray a set of potential recommended actions that may be taken by the Mozambican government, as well as private sector and could be absorbed within the strategy that is currently being shaped within the ICT Policy.

National Background

Where is it?

ozambique is located on the lower southeastern side of the African continent. It is a long strip of land, bordered by the Indian Ocean in the East, Tanzania, Malawi, Zambia, Zimbabwe, South Africa and Swaziland in the North, West and South. The population of 16,841,000 (1999) inhabits a surface area of 799,380 sq. km, most of which – 71% - live in rural areas and 29% in urban areas. Portuguese is the official language while there are various indigenous dialects stemming from tribal groups (Shangaan, Chokwe, Manyika, Sena, Makua, and others) which form 99.66% of the population; Europeans, Euro-Africans and Indians form the remaining percentage. Mozambican religious beliefs are 50% indigenous, 30% Christian and 20% Muslim. The country is divided into ten provinces: Cabo Delgado, Gaza, Inhambane, Manica, Maputo, Nampula, Niassa, Sofala, Tete, and Zambezia.


Mozambique had been a Portuguese colony for five centuries till it earned its independence in 1975 after an eleven-year war. A Marxist government took over the country at the time, which soon led to a 15-year civil war, ending in 1992. The ruling government formally abandoned Marxism in 1989 making way for free market economy. A UN-negotiated peace agreement with rebel forces ended the fighting in 1992. During the civil war, Mozambique lost nearly its entire infrastructure and hundreds of thousands of lives.
President, also Chief of State, Joaquim Alberto Chissano has been in office since November 1986. He was reelected in 1999 with a 52.29% against Afonso Dhlakama (47.71%). The Prime Minister Pascoal Mocumbi also serves as the Chairman of the ICT Policy Commission.


Mozambique is among the ten poorest countries in the world, with around 60% of its population living below the poverty line. Since 1992, almost all facets of the economy have been liberalized to some extent. More than 900 state enterprises have been privatized. Since 1996, inflation has been low and foreign exchange rates stable. Mozambique's economy grew at an annual 10% rate in 1997-99, one of the highest growth rates in the world, with a zero inflation rate. The growth rate decreased in the year 2000 to 3.8%, while inflation increased to 11%, due to floods that took place in February of that year.
Mozambique heavily depends on donor funding. It is a four billion-dollar economy, three-quarters of which is funded by donor agencies. Donor funds cover one half of country imports.2 As Adérito Robiro3 remarks, “We don’t own our destiny yet;” Mozambique imports almost everything. Per capita GDP is 230 USD while the PPP is in the range of 800 USD. According to the Household Sample Survey of 1996-1997, 69% of the population has been living in absolute poverty.4 Most people live within thirty kilometers from the nearest health center, are illiterate and have no clean water. The average standard of living in Maputo, the capital, is nine times that of the average standard of living in the rest of the country. The average illiteracy rate is 60.5% and average life expectancy is 42 years.
Most Mozambicans are subsistence farmers, with less than 5% using modern technology for farming (pesticides, tools, etc.); agriculture forms 32% of the economy. Maputo suffers from power cuts once a month; other provinces suffer from power cuts daily. Since its independence in 1975, the processing of cashews, of Mozambique’s highest export commodities, has completely collapsed. Trees are not being properly treated and maintained for the past twenty years due disruptions of the independence war.

The Bare Facts




17 million (1999)


3.9$ billion (1999)

GNP per capita

230$ (1999) 193rd/206

PPP per capita

797$ (1999) 191st/206


$300 million (f.o.b., 1999 est.)

Export Commodities

prawns 40%, cashews, cotton, sugar, copra, citrus, coconuts, timber (1997)


$1.6 billion (c.i.f., 1999 est.)

Structure of Economy

Agriculture: 32%

Industry: 24% (of which mfg 13%)

Services: 44%

Labor force

agriculture 81%, industry 6%, services 13% (1997 est.)

Child malnutrition under 5

26% (1992-1998)

Life Expectancy

44 men 47 women (1998)

Under 5 mortality

213/1000 (1998)

Adult Illiteracy

42% men 73% women

Population Growth

2.2% 1990-1999


<1$/day PPP 38%

<2$/day PPP 78%

Human Development Index

0.341 (UNDP 1997)

Source: World Development Report 2000/2001

Mozambique has one of the richest titanium deposits in the world, which is yet to be exploited. The Mozambican economy is very strongly linked with that of South Africa. Mozambique’s service industry (44%) consists of transportation, trade and telecommunications. A quarter of the GDP depends on industry - there are six major textile companies operating in Mozambique. The largest industrial sector is food and drinks processing. Most of the local industry is inward looking, lacking the knowledge about export, international markets and competitiveness. “There is too much thought from the outside and too little thought from the inside,” comments José Murta, Managing Director of EXI. Patricio Sande “It’s not cooperation – it’s mono-operation.”

MozAl, an aluminum smelter has opened its business in August, 2000. This was the first foreign investment project in Mozambique. MozAl is a one billion-dollar investment contract for 25 years. The main production capacity is ports, railways, cashew nuts, tourism and prawns. The country is highly dependent on the railway and port companies.

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