Mozambique Country Report
Mozambique's governing party, the Mozambican Liberation Front (Frente de Libertação de Moçambique: FRELIMO), is scheduled to hold its congress in September 2017, during which President Filipe Nyusi is likely to be confirmed as the party's candidate for the presidential election in 2019. RENAMO and the government failed to agree a decentralisation plan before the parliamentary sitting ended in late December 2016, but peace negotiations are nevertheless expected to continue in 2017, including amid the need to provide stability for international companies poised to invest in developing Mozambique's vast liquefied natural gas (LNG) potential. The government hopes that the commencement of LNG projects (expected in 2017) will allow it to borrow at favourable terms andaddress the debt crisis.
Mozambique's government has earmarked four priority areas for investment as part of its long-term development strategy: agriculture, energy, mineral resources, and tourism. The government is keen to develop the energy sector for domestic needs and for export to other countries in the Southern African Power Pool. Regulations covering employees in the mining, LNG, and oil production sectors are likely to be relaxed to encourage FDI in a low oil-price environment. Undefined employment quotas for local Mozambicans increase the risk of requirements to hire additional local employees.
Talks between the government and RENAMO are likely end in a definitive peace deal. This is likely to help reduce the likelihood of an unintended escalation of fighting in the event of incidents between the two sides. If the truce breaks down, fresh attacks on the security services, infrastructure, and transport corridors, including the EN1 and EN7, are likely as peace talks remain protracted. Although military escorts along key routes (suspended in early 2017) helped provide security, they were also further targets for small-arms attacks by militants.
Interstate war between Mozambique and its neighbours is unlikely. An indefinite truce announced by RENAMO in August 2017 lowers violence risks in the short-term. However, the potential for a stalemate in protracted peace talks, particularly over decentralisation, would raise the threat of fresh attacks in central and northern Mozambique, including on transport infrastructure. The current disagreement between RENAMO and the government dates back to the October 2014 general election, with RENAMO claiming it should have an electoral majority in six of the central and northern provinces (Manica, Sofala, Tete, Zambezia, Nampula, and Niassa).
Sporadic protests are increasingly likely against the rising cost of living, and the reduction in state subsidies. Protests are especially likely in Maputo and Matola, but there is a risk of such unrest spreading to other major cities. Protest calls are likely to draw an increased security presence, as seen in Maputo in 2016. Protests by displaced communities at sites of new large-scale industry developments are also likely.
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.
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).
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.
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.
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.
Local internet service is slow and expensive throughout the country, including in Maputo.
Despite heavy rains recorded in the south of the country in late 2016 into early 2017, the Pequenos Libombos reservoir, the main source of water for the Umbeluzi water pumping station that supplies the capital city Maputo and its surroundings, remains low. On January 5, 2017, only 14 percent of the reservoir was full, forcing the authorities to restrict the water supply in the area for a couple of weeks.
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.
There are no emergency services in Mozambique.
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