Mozambique And Swaziland

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Mozambique, officially the Republic of Mozambique (Portuguese: Moçambique or República de Moçambique, pronounced: [ʁɛˈpublikɐ di musɐ̃ˈbiki]), is a country in Southeast Africa bordered by the Indian Ocean to the east, Tanzania to the north, Malawi and Zambia to the northwest, Zimbabwe to the west and Swaziland and South Africa to the southwest(SONY PCG-5G2L battery). The capital city is Maputo, (known as Lourenço Marques before Independence).

Between the 1st and 5th centuries AD, Bantu-speaking peoples migrated from farther north and west. Swahili, and later also Arab, commercial ports existed along the coasts until the arrival of Europeans. The area was explored by Vasco da Gama in 1498 and colonized by Portugal in 1505. Mozambique became independent in 1975(SONY PCG-5G3L battery), and became the People's Republic of Mozambique shortly thereafter. It was the scene of an intense civil war lasting from 1977 to 1992.

Mozambique is endowed with rich and extensive natural resources. The country's economy is based largely on agriculture, but with industry, mainly food and beverages, chemical manufacturing, aluminium and petroleum production, is growing fast(SONY PCG-F305 battery). The country's tourism sector is also growing. South Africa is Mozambique's main trading partner and source of foreign direct investment. Portugal, Spain and Belgium are also among the country's most important partners. Since 2001, Mozambique's annual average GDP growth has been among the world's top ten. It still has, however, one of the lowest GDP per capita(SONY PCG-5J1L battery), one of the worst human development index and inequality ratings and one of the world's worst average life expectancies.[3]

The only official language of Mozambique is Portuguese, with roughly half of the population speaking it as a second language and few as a first language. Languages widely spoken natively include Swahili, Makhuwa, and Sena(SONY PCG-5J2L battery). The largest religion in Mozambique is Christianity, with significant Muslim and African traditional religious minorities. Mozambique is a member of the African Union, Commonwealth of Nations, the Community of Portuguese Language Countries, the Latin Union, Organisation of Islamic Cooperation and Southern African Development Community(SONY PCG-5K2L battery).

Etymology

The country was named Moçambique by the Portuguese after the Island of Mozambique, derived from Musa Al Big or Mossa Al Bique or Mussa Ben Mbiki, an Arab trader who first visited the island and later lived there.

Main articles: History of Mozambique and Portuguese Mozambique

Bantu migrations

Between the 1st and 5th centuries AD, waves of Bantu-speaking people migrated from the west and north through the Zambezi River valley and then gradually into the plateau and coastal areas(SONY PCG-5L1L battery). They established agricultural communities or societies based on herding cattle. They brought with them the technology for iron making, a metal which they used to make weapons for the conquest of their neighbors. Cities in Mozambique during the Middle Ages (5th to the 16th century) were not sturdily built, so there is little left of many medieval cities such as the trading port Sofala(SONY PCG-6S2L battery).

Swahili and Arabs

Swahili and Arab[5] commercial settlements existed along the coast and outlying islands for several centuries.

Several Swahili trade ports dotted the coast of the country before the arrival of Arabs[5] which had been trading with Madagascar and the Far East.

Portuguese rule

From about 1500, Portuguese trading posts and forts displaced the Arabic commercial and military hegemony, becoming regular ports of call on the new European sea route to the east(SONY PCG-6S3L battery).

The voyage of Vasco da Gama around the Cape of Good Hope in 1498 marked the Portuguese entry into trade, politics, and society of the region. The Portuguese gained control of the Island of Mozambique and the port city of Sofala in the early 16th century, and by the 1530s, small groups of Portuguese traders and prospectors seeking gold penetrated the interior regions(SONY PCG-6V1L battery), where they set up garrisons and trading posts at Sena and Tete on the Zambezi River and tried to gain exclusive control over the gold trade. The Portuguese attempted to legitimize and consolidate their trade and settlement positions through the creation of prazos (land grants) tied to Portuguese settlement and administration. While prazos were originally developed to be held by Portuguese(SONY PCG-6W1L battery), through intermarriage they became African Portuguese or African Indian centres defended by large African slave armies known as Chikunda. Historically within Mozambique there was slavery. Human beings were bought and sold by African tribal chiefs, Arab traders, and Portuguese and French traders as well. Many Mozambican slaves were supplied by tribal chiefs who raided warring tribes and sold their captives to the prazeiros. (SONY PCG-7111L battery)

The Island of Mozambique is a small coral island at the mouth of Mossuril Bay on the Nacala coast of northern Mozambique, first explored by Europeans, in the late 1400s

Although Portuguese influence gradually expanded, its power was limited and exercised through individual settlers and officials who were granted extensive autonomy(SONY PCG-71511M battery). The Portuguese were able to wrest much of the coastal trade from Arabs between 1500 and 1700, but, with the Arab seizure of Portugal's key foothold at Fort Jesus on Mombasa Island (now in Kenya) in 1698, the pendulum began to swing in the other direction. As a result, investment lagged while Lisbon devoted itself to the more lucrative trade with India and the Far East and to the colonisation of Brazil(SONY PCG-6W3L battery). During these wars, the Mazrui and Omani Arabs reclaimed much of the Indian Ocean trade, forcing the Portuguese to retreat south. Many prazos had declined by the mid-19th century, but several of them survived. During the 19th century other European powers, particularly the British (British South Africa Company) and the French (Madagascar) (SONY PCG-7113L battery), became increasingly involved in the trade and politics of the region around the Portuguese East African territories.[citation needed]

By the early 20th century the Portuguese had shifted the administration of much of Mozambique to large private companies, like the Mozambique Company, the Zambezia Company and the Niassa Company, controlled and financed mostly by the British, which established railroad lines to neighbouring countries(SONY PCG-7133L battery). Although slavery had been legally abolished in Mozambique, at the end of the 19th century the Chartered companies enacted a forced labor policy and supplied cheap—often forced—African labour to the mines and plantations of the nearby British colonies and South Africa. The Zambezia Company, the most profitable chartered company(SONY PCG-7Z1L battery), took over a number of smaller prazeiro holdings, and established military outposts to protect its property. The chartered companies built roads and ports to bring their goods to market including a railroad linking present day Zimbabwe with the Mozambican port of Beira.

Arab slave traders and their captives along the Ruvuma river

Due to their unsatisfactory performance and the shift, under the corporatist Estado Novo regime of Oliveira Salazar(SONY PCG-7Z2L battery)       , towards a stronger Portuguese control of Portuguese empire's economy, the companies' concessions were not renewed when they ran out. This was what happened in 1942 with the Mozambique Company, which however continued to operate in the agricultural and commercial sectors as a corporation, and had already happened in 1929 with the termination of the Niassa Company's concession(SONY PCG-8Y1L battery). In 1951, the Portuguese overseas colonies in Africa were rebranded as Overseas Provinces of Portugal.

Independence movement

Portuguese colonies in Africa at the time of the Colonial War

Main article: Mozambican War of Independence

As communist and anti-colonial ideologies spread out across Africa, many clandestine political movements were established in support of Mozambican independence. These movements claimed that since policies and development plans were primarily designed by the ruling authorities for the benefit of Mozambique's Portuguese population(SONY PCG-8Y2L battery), little attention was paid to Mozambique's tribal integration and the development of its native communities.[10] According to the official guerrilla statements, this affected a majority of the indigenous population who suffered both state-sponsored discrimination and enormous social pressure. Many felt they had received too little opportunity or resources to upgrade their skills and improve their economic and social situation to a degree comparable to that of the Europeans(SONY PCG-8Z2L battery). Statistically, Mozambique's Portuguese whites were indeed wealthier and more skilled than the black indigenous majority. As a response to the guerrilla movement, the Portuguese government from the 1960s and principally the early 1970s, initiated gradual changes with new socioeconomic developments and egalitarian policies for all. (SONY PCG-8Z1L battery)

The Front for the Liberation of Mozambique (FRELIMO) initiated a guerrilla campaign against Portuguese rule in September 1964. This conflict—along with the two others already initiated in the other Portuguese colonies of Angola and Portuguese Guinea—became part of the so-called Portuguese Colonial War (1961–1974). (SONY PCG-7112L battery) From a military standpoint, the Portuguese regular army maintained control of the population centres while the guerrilla forces sought to undermine their influence in rural and tribal areas in the north and west. As part of their response to FRELIMO, the Portuguese government began to pay more attention to creating favourable conditions for social development and economic growth. (SONY PCG-6W2L battery) a leftist military coup in Lisbon which replaced Portugal's Estado Novo regime for a military junta (the Carnation Revolution of April 1974), FRELIMO took control of the territory. Within a year, most of the 250,000 Portuguese in Mozambique had left—some expelled by the government of the nearly independent territory, some fleeing in fear—and Mozambique became independent from Portugal on June 25, 1975(SONY PCG-5K1L battery). In an act of vengeance, a law had been passed by the then relatively unknown Armando Guebuza in the FRELIMO party ordering the Portuguese to leave the country in 24 hours with only 20 kilograms of luggage. Unable to salvage any of their assets, most of them returned to Portugal.[12]

Conflict and civil war

Main article: Mozambican Civil War(SONY VGP-BPS8 battery)

The new government, under president Samora Machel, gave shelter and support to South African (African National Congress) and Zimbabwean (Zimbabwe African National Union) liberation movements while the governments of first Rhodesia and later South Africa (at that time still operating the Apartheid laws) fostered and financed an armed rebel movement in central Mozambique called the Mozambican National Resistance (RENAMO) (SONY VGP-BPS8A battery). Starting shortly after the independence, the country was plagued from 1977 to 1992 by a long and violent civil war between the opposition forces of anti-Communist RENAMO rebel militias and the Marxist FRELIMO regime. This conflict, combined with sabotage from the neighbouring white-ruled state of Rhodesia and the Apartheid regime of South Africa, ineffective policies(SONY VGP-BPL8 battery), failed central planning and the resulting economic collapse, characterized the first decades of Mozambican independence. Marking this period were the exodus of Portuguese nationals and Mozambicans of Portuguese heritage,[13] a collapsed infrastructure, lack of investment in productive assets, and government nationalisation of privately owned industries(SONY VGP-BPS9 battery). During most of the civil war, the FRELIMO-formed central government was unable to exercise effective control outside of urban areas, many of which were cut off from the capital. In one time RENAMO proposed the peace agreement based on secession of their controlled northern and western territories to found an independent Republic of Rombesia, but FRELIMO refused considering to have power in the whole country(SONY VGP-BPS9/S battery). An estimated one million Mozambicans perished during the civil war, 1.7 million took refuge in neighbouring states, and several million more were internally displaced.[14]

On October 19, 1986, Samora Machel was on his way back from an international meeting in Zambia in the presidential Tupolev Tu-134 aircraft when the plane crashed in the Lebombo Mountains, near Mbuzini. There were ten survivors(SONY VGP-BPS9A battery), but President Machel and thirty-three others died, including ministers and officials of the Mozambique government. The United Nations' Soviet delegation issued a minority report contending that their expertise and experience had been undermined by the South Africans. Representatives of the Soviet Union advanced the theory that the plane had been intentionally diverted by a false navigational beacon signal(SONY VGP-BPS9A/B battery), using a technology provided by military intelligence operatives of the South African government.[15]

Machel's successor, Joaquim Chissano, implemented sweeping changes in the country, starting reforms such as changing from Marxism to capitalism, and began peace talks with RENAMO. The new constitution enacted in 1990 provided for a multi-party political system, market-based economy, and free elections(SONY VGP-BPS9/B battery). The civil war ended in October 1992 with the Rome General Peace Accords, first brokered by the CCM, the Christian Council of Mozambique (Council of Protestant Churches) and then taken over by Community of Sant'Egidio. Under supervision of the ONUMOZ peacekeeping force of the United Nations, peace returned to Mozambique. (SONY VGP-BPS9A/S battery)

By 1993 more than 1.5 million Mozambican refugees who had sought asylum in neighbouring Malawi, Zimbabwe, Swaziland, Zambia, Tanzania, and South Africa as a result of war and drought had returned, as part of the largest repatriation witnessed in sub-Saharan Africa.[17]

Provinces, districts, and postos

Main articles: Provinces of Mozambique, Districts of Mozambique, and Postos of Mozambique

A panoramic view of Maputo, the capital of Mozambique and the largest city in the country. Maputo city is separate from the Maputo Province(SONY VGP-BPL9 battery).

Mozambique is divided into ten provinces (provincias) and one capital city (cidade capital) with provincial status. The provinces are subdivided into 129 districts (distritos). The districts are further divided in 405 "Postos Administrativos" (Administrative Posts) and then into Localidades (Localities), the lowest geographical level of the central state administration. Since 1998, 43 "Municípios" (Municipalities) have been created in Mozambique(SONY VGP-BPS10 battery).

The districts of Mozambique are divided into 405 postos.

Postos administrativos (administrative posts) are the main subdivisions of districts. This name, in use during colonial times, was abolished after independence,[18] and was replaced by localidades (localities). However, it was re-established in 1986.[19]

Administrative posts are headed by a Secretário (secretary), which before independence were called Chefes de Posto (post chief) (SONY VGP-BPL10 battery).

Administrative posts can be further subdivided into localities, also headed by secretaries.

Geography and climate

Main article: Geography of Mozambique

Satellite image of Mozambique

At 309,475 sq mi (801,537 km2), Mozambique is the world's 35th-largest country. It is comparable in size to Turkey. Mozambique is located on the southeast coast of Africa. It is bound by Swaziland to the south, South Africa to the southwest, Zimbabwe to the west, Zambia and Malawi to the northwest, Tanzania to the north and the Indian Ocean to the east(SONY VGP-BPS11 battery). Mozambique lies between latitudes 10° and 27°S, and longitudes 30° and 41°E.

The country is divided into two topographical regions by the Zambezi River. To the north of the Zambezi River, the narrow coastline moves inland to hills and low plateaus, and further west to rugged highlands, which include the Niassa highlands, Namuli or Shire highlands, Angonia highlands, Tete highlands and the Makonde plateau(SONY VGP-BPL11 battery), covered with miombo woodlands. To the south of the Zambezi River, the lowlands are broader with the Mashonaland plateau and Lebombo mountains located in the deep south.

The country is drained by five principal rivers and several smaller ones with the largest and most important the Zambezi. The country has four notable lakes: Lake Niassa (or Malawi), Lake Chiuta, Lake Cahora Bassa and Lake Shirwa, all in the north(SONY VGP-BPL12 battery). The major cities are Maputo, Beira, Nampula, Tete, Quelimane, Chimoio, Pemba, Inhambane, Xai-Xai and Lichinga.

Main article: Climate of Mozambique

Mount Murresse and tea plantations near Gurúè, Zambezia Province, northern Mozambique

Mozambique has a tropical climate with two seasons, a wet season from October to March and a dry season from April to September. Climatic conditions, however, vary depending on altitude. Rainfall is heavy along the coast and decreases in the north and south(SONY VGP-BPS12 battery). Annual precipitation varies from 500 to 900 mm (19.7 to 35.4 in) depending on the region, with an average of 590 mm (23.2 in). Cyclones are common during the wet season. Average temperature ranges in Maputo are from 13 to 24 °C (55.4 to 75.2 °F) in July to 22 to 31 °C (71.6 to 87.8 °F) in February. (SONY VGP-BPS13 battery)

Politics

Mozambique is a multi-party democracy under the 1990 constitution. The executive branch comprises a president, prime minister, and Council of Ministers. There is a National Assembly and municipal assemblies. The judiciary comprises a Supreme Court and provincial, district, and municipal courts. Suffrage is universal at eighteen(SONY VGP-BPS13Q battery).

Mozambique's president, Armando Guebuza

In the 1994 elections, Joaquim Chissano was elected President with 53% of the vote, and a 250-member National Assembly was voted in with 129 Liberation Front of Mozambique (FRELIMO) deputies, 112 Mozambican National Resistance (RENAMO) deputies, and nine representatives of three smaller parties that formed the Democratic Union (UD) (SONY VGP-BPS13A/Q battery). Since its formation in 1994, the National Assembly has made progress in becoming a body increasingly more independent of the executive. By 1999, more than one-half (53%) of the legislation passed originated in the Assembly.

After some delays, in 1998 the country held its first local elections to provide for local representation and some budgetary authority at the municipal level. The principal opposition party, RENAMO(SONY VGP-BPS13B/Q battery), boycotted the local elections, citing flaws in the registration process. Independent slates contested the elections and won seats in municipal assemblies.Turnout was very low.

In the aftermath of the 1998 local elections, the government resolved to make more accommodations to the opposition's procedural concerns for the second round of multiparty national elections in 1999. Working through the National Assembly(SONY VGP-BPS13/B battery), the electoral law was rewritten and passed by consensus in December 1998. Financed largely by international donors, a very successful voter registration was conducted from July to September 1999, providing voter registration cards to 85% of the potential electorate (more than seven million voters) (SONY VGP-BPS13B/B battery).

The second general elections were held December 3–5, 1999, with high voter turnout. International and domestic observers agreed that the voting process was well organized and went smoothly. Both the opposition and observers subsequently cited flaws in the tabulation process that, had they not occurred, might have changed the outcome(SONY VGP-BPS13A/S battery). In the end, however, international and domestic observers concluded that the close result of the vote reflected the will of the people.

President Chissano won the presidency with a margin of 4% over the RENAMO-Electoral Union coalition candidate, Afonso Dhlakama, and began his five-year term in January, 2000. FRELIMO increased its majority in the National Assembly with 133 out of 250 seats(SONY VGP-BPS21A/B battery). RENAMO-UE coalition won 116 seats, one went independent, and no third parties are represented.

The opposition coalition did not accept the National Election Commission's results of the presidential vote and filed a formal complaint to the Supreme Court. One month after the voting, the court dismissed the opposition's challenge and validated the election results. The opposition did not file a complaint about the results of the legislative vote(SONY VGP-BPS21B battery).

The second local elections, involving thirty-three municipalities with some 2.4 million registered voters, took place in November 2003. This was the first time that FRELIMO, RENAMO-UE, and independent parties competed without significant boycotts. The 24% turnout was well above the 15% turnout in the first municipal elections(SONY VGP-BPS21 battery). FRELIMO won twenty-eight mayoral positions and the majority in twenty-nine municipal assemblies, while RENAMO won five mayoral positions and the majority in four municipal assemblies. The voting was conducted in an orderly fashion without violent incidents. However, the period immediately after the elections was marked by objections about voter and candidate registration and vote tabulation, as well as calls for greater transparency(SONY VGP-BPS21/S battery).

In May 2009, the government approved a new general elections law that contained innovations based on the experience of the 2003 municipal elections. Presidential and National Assembly elections took place on December 1–2, 2004. FRELIMO candidate Armando Guebuza won with 64% of the popular vote. His opponent, Afonso Dhlakama of RENAMO(SONY VGP-BPS13S battery), received 32% of the popular vote. FRELIMO won 160 seats in Parliament. A coalition of RENAMO and several small parties won the 90 remaining seats. Armando Guebuza was inaugurated as the President of Mozambique on February 2, 2005. RENAMO and some other opposition parties made claims of election fraud and denounced the result(SONY VGP-BPS13B/S battery). These claims were supported by international observers (among others by the European Union Election Observation Mission to Mozambique and the Carter Centre) to the elections who criticised the fact that the National Electoral Commission (CNE) did not conduct fair and transparent elections. They listed a whole range of shortcomings by the electoral authorities that benefited the ruling party FRELIMO(SONY VGP-BPS13B/G battery). However, according to EU observers, the elections shortcomings have probably not affected the final result in the presidential election. On the other hand, the observers have declared that the outcome of the parliamentary election and thus the distribution of seats in the National Assembly does not reflect the will of the Mozambican people and is clearly to the disadvantage of RENAMO(SONY VGP-BPS14 battery).

Foreign relations

Main article: Foreign relations of Mozambique

While allegiances dating back to the liberation struggle remain relevant, Mozambique's foreign policy has become increasingly pragmatic. The twin pillars of Mozambique's foreign policy are maintenance of good relations with its neighbors and maintenance and expansion of ties to development partners(SONY VGP-BPL14 battery).

During the 1970s and the early 1980s, Mozambique's foreign policy was inextricably linked to the struggles for majority rule in Rhodesia and South Africa as well as superpower competition and the Cold War.[21] Mozambique's decision to enforce UN sanctions against Rhodesia and deny that country access to the sea led Ian Smith's government to undertake overt and covert actions to destabilize the country(SONY VGP-BPS14/B battery). Although the change of government in Zimbabwe in 1980 removed this threat, the government of South Africa continued to finance the destabilization of Mozambique. Mozambique also belonged to the Front Line States.[citation needed]

The 1984 Nkomati Accord, while failing in its goal of ending South African support to RENAMO, opened initial diplomatic contacts between the Mozambican and South African governments(SONY VGP-BPS14/S battery). This process gained momentum with South Africa's elimination of apartheid, which culminated in the establishment of full diplomatic relations in October 1993. While relations with neighbouring Zimbabwe, Malawi, Zambia, and Tanzania show occasional strains, Mozambique's ties to these countries remain strong(SONY VGP-BPS14B battery).

In the years immediately following its independence, Mozambique benefited from considerable assistance from some Western countries, notably the Scandinavians. The Soviet Union and its allies, however, became Mozambique's primary economic, military, and political supporters and its foreign policy reflected this linkage(SONY VGP-BPS22 battery). This began to change in 1983; in 1984 Mozambique joined the World Bank and International Monetary Fund. Western aid by the Scandinavian countries of Sweden, Norway, Denmark and Iceland quickly replaced Soviet support. Finland [22] and the Netherlands are becoming increasingly important sources of development assistance. Italy also maintains a profile in Mozambique as a result of its key role during the peace process(SONY VGP-BPS22 battery). Relations with Portugal, the former colonial power, continue to be important, as Portuguese investors play a visible role in Mozambique's economy.

Mozambique is a member of the Non-Aligned Movement and ranks among the moderate members of the African bloc in the United Nations and other international organisations. Mozambique also belongs to the African Union (formerly the Organisation of African Unity) and the Southern African Development Community(SONY VGP-BPS18 battery). In 1994, the government became a full member of the Organisation of the Islamic Conference, in part to broaden its base of international support but also to please the country's sizable Muslim population. Similarly, in early 1996 Mozambique joined its Anglophone neighbours in the Commonwealth of Nations. At the time it was the only nation to have joined the Commonwealth that was never part of the British Empire(SONY VGP-BPS22/A battery). In the same year, Mozambique became a founding member and the first President of the Community of Portuguese Language Countries (CPLP), and maintains close ties with other Lusophone states.

The official currency is the New Metical (as of August 2011, 1 USD is roughly equivalent to 27 New Meticals), which replaced old Meticals at the rate of a thousand to one(SONY VGP-BPS22A battery). The old currency will be redeemed by the Bank of Mozambique until the end of 2012. The US dollar, South African rand, and recently the euro are also widely accepted and used in business transactions. The minimum legal salary is around US$60 per month. Mozambique is a member of the Southern African Development Community (SADC). The SADC free trade protocol is aimed at making the Southern African region more competitive by eliminating tariffs and other trade barriers(Sony VAIO VGN-FZ battery). The World Bank in 2007 talked of Mozambique's 'blistering pace of economic growth'. A joint donor-government study in early 2007 said 'Mozambique is generally considered an aid success story.' The IMF in early 2007 said 'Mozambique is a success story in Sub-Saharan Africa.' Yet, despite this apparent success, both the World Bank and UNICEF used the word 'paradox' to describe rising chronic child malnutrition in the face of GDP growth. Between 1994 and 2006(Sony VAIO VGN-FZ11S battery), average annual GDP growth was approximately 8%, however, the country remains one of the poorest and most underdeveloped in the world. In a 2006 survey, three-quarters of Mozambicans said that in the past five years their economic position had remained the same or become worse.[23]

[edit]Rebounding growth

The resettlement of civil war refugees and successful economic reform have led to a high growth rate: the country has enjoyed a remarkable recovery(Sony VAIO VGN-FZ15T battery), achieving an average annual rate of economic growth of 8% between 1996 and 2006.[24] The devastating floods of early 2000 slowed GDP growth to 2.1%. A full recovery was achieved with growth of 14.8% in 2001.[citation needed] In 2003, the growth rate was 7%. The government projects the economy to continue to expand between 7%-10% a year for the next five years(Sony VAIO VGN-FZ15G battery), although rapid expansion in the future hinges on several major foreign investment projects, continued economic reform, and the revival of the agriculture, transportation, and tourism sectors. More than 75% of the population engages in small-scale agriculture, which still suffers from inadequate infrastructure, commercial networks, and investment. However, 88% of Mozambique's arable land is still uncultivated. (Sony VAIO VGN-FZ4000 battery)

Economic reforms

More than 1,200 state-owned enterprises (mostly small) have been privatised. Preparations for privatisation and/or sector liberalisation are underway for the remaining parastatal enterprises, including telecommunications, energy, ports, and railways. The government frequently selects a strategic foreign investor when privatising a parastatal(Sony VAIO VGN-FZ460E battery). Additionally, customs duties have been reduced, and customs management has been streamlined and reformed. The government introduced a value-added tax in 1999 as part of its efforts to increase domestic revenues. Plans for 2003–04 include Commercial Code reform; comprehensive judicial reform; financial sector strengthening; continued civil service reform(Sony VAIO VGN-FZ440N battery); and improved government budget, audit, and inspection capability. Further political instability resulting from the floods left thousands homeless, displaced within their own country.

Corruption

Mozambique’s economy has been shaken by a number of corruption scandals. In July 2011, the government proposed new anti-corruption laws to criminalise embezzlement, influence peddling and graft, following numerous instances of theft of public money. This has been endorsed by the country’s Council of Ministers(Sony VAIO VGN-FZ11L battery). Mozambique has convicted two former ministers for graft in the past two years.

Mozambique was ranked 116 of 178 countries in anti-graft watchdog Transparency International's latest index of global corruption. According to a USAID report written in 2005, “the scale and scope of corruption in Mozambique are cause for alarm.” (Sony VAIO VGN-FZ11Z battery)

In March 2012, the government of the southern Mozambican province of Inhambane uncovered the misappropriation of public funds by the director of the Provincial Anti-Drugs Office, Calisto Alberto Tomo. He was found to have colluded with the accountant in the Anti-Drugs Office, Recalda Guambe, to steal over 260,000 meticais between 2008 and 2010. (Sony VAIO VGN-FZ11M battery)

[edit]Natural resources

Main article: Mineral industry of Mozambique

In 2012, large natural gas reserves were discovered in Mozambique, revenues from which might dramatically change the economy.

Demographics

Maputo, Capital of Mozambique

Main article: Demographics of Mozambique

The north-central provinces of Zambezia and Nampula are the most populous, with about 45% of the population. The estimated four million Macua are the dominant group in the northern part of the country; the Sena and Shona (mostly Ndau) (Sony VAIO VGN-FZ18M battery) are prominent in the Zambezi valley, and the Shangaan (Tsonga) dominate in southern Mozambique. Other groups include Makonde, Yao, Swahili, Tonga, Chopi, and Nguni (including Zulu). Bantu people comprise 97.8% of the population, with the rest including White Africans (largely of Portuguese ancestry), Euro-Africans (mestiço people of mixed Bantu and Portuguese heritage) (Sony VAIO VGN-FZ18 battery), and Indians.[3] Roughly 45,000 people of Indian descent reside in Mozambique.[29]

During Portuguese colonial rule, a large minority of people of Portuguese descent lived permanently in almost all areas of the country,[30] and Mozambicans with Portuguese blood at the time of independence numbered about 360,000. Many of these left the region after independence from Portugal in 1975. There are various estimates for the size of Mozambique's Chinese community, ranging from 7,000 to 12,000 as of 2007(Sony VAIO VGN-FZ210CE battery).

Languages

Main article: Languages of Mozambique

Language most spoken at home, 2007[33]

Portuguese is the official and most widely spoken language of the nation, spoken by 50.3% of the population.[34] 39.7%, mostly representing the indigenous African population, speak it as their second language and only 10.7% speak it as their first language. Most Mozambicans living in the cities speak Portuguese as their first language(Sony VAIO VGN-FZ31S battery).

The Bantu-group languages of Mozambique that are indigenous to the country vary greatly in their groupings and in some cases are rather poorly appreciated and documented.[35] Apart from its lingua franca uses in the north of the country, Swahili is spoken in a small area of the coast next to the Tanzanian border; south of this, towards Moçambique Island(Sony VAIO VGN-FZ31Z battery), Kimwani, regarded as a dialect of Swahili, is used. Immediately inland of the Swahili area, Makonde is used, separated farther inland by a small strip of Makhuwa- speaking territory from an area where Yao or ChiYao is used. Makonde and Yao belong to a different group, Yao [36] being very close to the Mwera language of the Rondo Plateau area in Tanzania. (Sony VAIO VGN-FZ31E battery)

Prepositions appear in these languages as locative prefixes prefixed to the noun and declined according to their own noun-class. Some Nyanja is used at the coast of Lake Malawi, as well as on the other side of the Lake bordering on Malawi. Somewhat different from all of these are the languages of the eMakhuwa group, with a loss of initial k-, which means that many nouns begin with a vowel: for example epula, "rain".(Sony VAIO VGN-FZ31J battery)

There is eMakhuwa proper, with the related eLomwe and eChuwabo, with a small eKoti-speaking area at the coast. In an area straddling the lower Zambezi, Sena, which belongs to the same group as Nyanja, is spoken, with areas speaking the related CiNyungwe and CiSenga further upriver. (Sony VAIO VGN-FZ31M battery) A large Shona-speaking area extends between the Zimbabwe border and the sea: this was formerly known the Ndau variety [41] but now uses the orthography of the Standard Shona of Zimbabwe. Apparently similar to Shona, but lacking the tone patterns of the Shona language, and regarded by its speakers as quite separate, is CiBalke, also called Rue or Barwe, used in a small country near the Zimbabwe border(Sony VAIO VGN-FZ31B battery).

South of this area are various languages of the Shangaan group, which are quite different again. XiTswa or Tswa occurs at the coast and inland, XiTsonga or Tsonga straddles the area around the Limpopo River, including such local dialects as XiChangana. This language area extends into neighbouring South Africa. Still related to these, but distinct(Sony VAIO VGN-FZ32 battery), are GiTonga and CiCopi or Chopi spoken north of the mouth of the Limpopo, and XiRonga or Ronga in the immediate region around Maputo. The languages in this group are, judging by the short vocabularies,[42] very vaguely similar to Zulu, but obviously not in the same immediate group. There are small Swazi and Zulu speaking areas in Mozambique immediately next to the Swaziland and KwaZulu-Natal borders(Sony VAIO VGN-FZ410 battery).

Arabs, Chinese, and Indians primarily speak Portuguese and some Hindi. Indians from Portuguese India speak any of the Portuguese Creoles of their origin aside from Portuguese as their second language.

Cathedral in Maputo

Main article: Religion in Mozambique

The 2007 census found that Christians made up 56.1% of Mozambique's population and Muslims comprised 17.9% of the population. 7.3% of the people held other beliefs, mainly animism, and 18.7% had no religious beliefs(Sony VAIO VGN-FZ21 battery).

The Roman Catholic Church has established twelve dioceses (Beira, Chimoio, Gurué, Inhambane, Lichinga, Maputo, Nacala, Nampula, Pemba, Quelimane, Tete, and Xai-Xai; archdioceses are Beira, Maputo and Nampula). Statistics for the dioceses range from a low 7.44% Catholics in the population in the diocese of Chimoio, to 87.50% in Quelimane diocese (2006 official Catholic figures) (Sony VAIO VGN-FZ21S battery).

The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints (LDS Church) has established a growing presence in Mozambique. It first began sending missionaries to Mozambique in 1999, and, as of December 2011, has more than 5600 members.[45]

The Baha'i Faith has been present in Mozambique since the early 1950s but did not openly identify itself in those years because of the strong influence of the Catholic Church which did not recognize it officially as a world religion(Sony VAIO VGN-FZ21M battery). The independence in 1975 saw the entrance of new pioneers. In total there are about 3,000 declared Baha'is in Mozambique as of 2010. The Administrative Committee is located in Maputo.

Muslims are particularly present in the north of the country. They are organized in several "tariqa" or brotherhoods (of the Qadiriya or Shadhuliyyah branch) (Sony VAIO VGN-FZ38M battery). Two national organizations also exist - the Conselho Islâmico de Moçambique (reformists) and the Congresso Islâmico de Moçambique (pro-Sufi). There are also important Indo-Pakistani associations as well as some Shia and particularly Ismaili communities.

Among the main Protestant churches are Igreja União Baptista de Moçambique, the Assembleias de Deus, the Seventh-day Adventists(Sony VGN-NR11S/S Battery), the Anglican Church of Southern Africa, the Igreja do Evangelho Completo de Deus, the Igreja Metodista Unida, the Igreja Presbiteriana de Moçambique, the Igreja de Cristo and the Assembleia Evangélica de Deus.

The fertility rate is at about 5.5 births per woman.[46] Public expenditure on health was at 2.7% of the GDP in 2004, whereas private expenditure on health was at 1.3% in the same year.[46] Health expenditure per capita was 42 US$ (PPP) in 2004. (Sony VGN-NR11M/S Battery) In the early 21st century there were 3 physicians per 100,000 people in the country.[46] Infant mortality was at 100 per 1,000 births in 2005.[46]

In June 2011, the United Nations Population Fund released a report on The State of the World's Midwifery. It contained new data on the midwifery workforce and policies relating to newborn and maternal mortality for 58 countries(Sony VGN-NR11Z/S Battery). The 2010 maternal mortality rate per 100,000 births for Mozambique is 550. This is compared with 598.8 in 2008 and 385 in 1990. The under 5 mortality rate, per 1,000 births is 147 and the neonatal mortality as a percentage of under 5's mortality is 29. The aim of this report is to highlight ways in which the Millennium Development Goals can be achieved, particularly Goal 4 (Sony VGN-NR11Z/T Battery)– Reduce child mortality and Goal 5 – improve maternal death. In Mozambique the number of midwives per 1,000 live births is 3 and 1 in 37 shows us the lifetime risk of death for pregnant women.[47]

The official prevalence of HIV in Mozambique in 2011 was 11.5% for the population in the age range between 15 and 49 years (a common reference for HIV statistics) (Sony VAIO VGN-FZ21E battery). This is lower than several of the neighbouring countries in Southern Africa. For the southern parts of the country (Maputo and Gaza provinces) the official figures are more than twice as high as the national average. In 2011 the health authorities estimated about 1.7 million Mozambicans were HIV-positive, of whom 600,000 were in need of anti-retroviral treatment(Sony VAIO VGN-FZ21Z battery). As per December 2011 240,000 were receiving such treatment. According to the 2011 UNAIDS Report, the HIV/AIDS epidemic in Mozambique seems to be leveling off.[48]

Education

Main article: Education in Mozambique

Students in front of their school in Nampula, Mozambique

School children in the classroom

Woman with traditional mask in Mozambique

Since independence from Portugal in 1975, school construction and teacher-training enrollments have not kept up with population increases. Especially after the Mozambican Civil War (1977–1992) (Sony VAIO VGN-FZ21J battery), with post-war enrollments reaching all-time highs due to stability and youth population growth, the quality of education suffered. All Mozambicans are required by law to attend school through the primary level; however, a lot of children in Mozambique do not go to primary school because they have to work for their families' subsistence farms for a living(Sony VAIO VGN-FW11 battery). In 2007, one million children still did not go to school, most of them from poor rural families, and almost half of all teachers in Mozambique were still unqualified. Girls’ enrollment increased from 3 million in 2002 to 4.1 million in 2006 while the completion rate increased from 31,000 to 90,000, which testified a very poor completion rate. (Sony VAIO VGN-FW11M battery)

After grade 7, students must take standardised national exams to enter secondary school, which runs from 8th to 10th grade.[citation needed] Space in Mozambican universities is extremely limited; thus most students who complete pre-university school do not immediately proceed on to university studies(Sony VAIO VGN-FW11S battery). Many go to work as teachers or are unemployed. There are also institutes which give more vocational training, specialising in agricultural, technical, or pedagogical studies, which students may attend after grade 10 in lieu of a pre-university school.

After independence from Portugal in 1975, a number of Mozambican students continued to be admitted every year at Portuguese high schools, polytechnical institutes, and universities, through bilateral agreements between the Portuguese government and the Mozambican government(Sony VAIO VGN-FW21E battery).

Main articles: Culture of Mozambique and Music of Mozambique

The music of Mozambique can serve many purposes, ranging from religious expression to traditional ceremonies. Musical instruments are usually handmade. Some of the instruments used in Mozambican musical expression include drums made of wood and animal skin; the lupembe, a woodwind instrument made from animal horns or wood(Sony VAIO VGN-FW21J battery); and the marimba, which is a kind of xylophone native to Mozambique. The marimba is a popular instrument with the Chopi of the south central coast who are famous for their musical skill and dance. Some[who?] would say that Mozambique's music is similar to reggae and West Indian calypso. Other music types are popular in Mozambique like marrabenta, and other Lusophone music forms like fado, samba, bossa nova, maxixe (with origins from Maxixe, and kizomba) (Sony VAIO VGN-FW21L battery).

The Makonde are renowned for their wood carving and elaborate masks that are commonly used in traditional dances. There are two different kinds of wood carvings. Shetani, (evil spirits), which are mostly carved in heavy ebony, tall, and elegantly curved with symbols and nonrepresentational faces. The Ujamaa are totem-type carvings which illustrate lifelike faces of people and various figures(Sony VAIO VGN-FW41M battery). Theses sculptures are usually referred to as “family trees” because they tell stories of many generations.

During the last years of the colonial period, Mozambican art reflected the oppression by the colonial power, and became symbol of the resistance. After independence in 1975, the modern art came into a new phase. The two best known and most influential contemporary Mozambican artists are the paintor Malangatana Ngwenya and the sculptor Alberto Chissano(Sony VAIO VGN-FW41M/H battery). Also a lot of the post-independence art during the 1980s and 1990s reflect the political struggle, civil war, suffering, starvation and struggle.

Dances are usually intricate, highly developed traditions throughout Mozambique. There are many different kinds of dances from tribe to tribe which are usually ritualistic in nature. The Chopi, for instance(Sony VAIO VGN-FW21M battery), act out battles dressed in animal skins. The men of Makua dress in colourful outfits and masks while dancing on stilts around the village for hours. Groups of women in the northern part of the country perform a traditional dance called tufo, to celebrate Islamic holidays.[50]

See also: Portuguese cuisine and African cuisine

Present for nearly 500 years, the Portuguese greatly impacted the cuisine of Mozambique. Crops such as cassava (a starchy root) and cashew nuts (Mozambique was once the largest producer of these nuts), and pãozinho (pronounced pow-zing-yo(Sony VAIO VGN-FW21Z battery); Portuguese-style bread rolls) were brought in by the Portuguese. The use of spices and seasonings such as onions, bay leaves, garlic, fresh coriander, paprika, chili peppers, red sweet peppers, and wine were introduced by the Portuguese, as was sugarcane, maize, millet, rice, sorghum (a type of grass), and potatoes. Prego (steak roll), rissois (battered shrimp), espetada (kebab), pudim (pudding) (Sony VAIO VGN-FW32J battery), and the popular inteiro com piripiri (whole chicken in piri-piri sauce) are all Portuguese dishes commonly eaten in present-day Mozambique.

Entertainment

Football (Portuguese: futebol) is the most popular sport in Mozambique. The T.V. stations watched by Mozambicans are Televisão Moçambique, YTV and RTP África; Portuguese T.V. stations RTP Internacional, SIC Internacional, SIC Notícias, MTV Portugal, Disney Channel Portugal, SuperSport 7(Sony VAIO VGN-FW17W battery), TSN and Euronews; and Brazilian T.V. stations TV Globo International and TV Record are also watched on T.V. throughout Mozambique.

Cultural identity

Mozambique was ruled by Portugal and they share in common: main language and second main religion (Roman Catholicism). But since most of the people are Bantus, most of the culture is native and for Bantus living in urban areas with some Portuguese influence. Mozambican culture influences the Portuguese culture. Mozambican Music(Sony VAIO VGN-FW31E battery), Movies (by RTP África), Food, and Traditions are now part of everyday lifestyles of Portugal.

Swaziland, officially the Kingdom of Swaziland (Umbuso weSwatini), and sometimes called Ngwane or Swatini, is a landlocked country in Southern Africa, bordered to the north, south and west by South Africa, and to the east by Mozambique. The nation, as well as its people, are named after the 19th century king Mswati II(Sony VAIO VGN-FW139E battery).

Swaziland is a small country, no more than 200 kilometres (120 mi) north to south and 130 kilometres (81 mi) east to west. The western half is mountainous, descending to a lowveld region to the east. The eastern border with Mozambique and South Africa is dominated by the escarpment of the Lebombo Mountains. The climate is temperate in the west, but may reach 40 °C (104 °F) in summer in the lowveld(Sony VAIO VGN-FW139E/H battery). Rainfall occurs mainly in the summer and may reach 2 metres (6.6 ft) in the west.

The area that Swaziland now covers has been continuously inhabited since prehistory. Today, the population is primarily ethnic Swazis whose language is Swati, though English is spoken as a second language. The Swazi people descend from the southern Bantu who migrated from Central Africa in the 15th and 16th centuries(Sony VAIO VGN-FW31M battery). The Anglo-Boer War saw the United Kingdom make Swaziland a protectorate under its direct control. Swaziland gained independence in 1968. Swaziland is a member of the Southern African Development Community, the African Union, and the Commonwealth of Nations. The head of state is the king, who appoints the prime minister and a small number of representatives for both chambers of parliament(Sony VAIO VGN-FW31J battery). Elections are held every five years to determine the majority of the representatives. A new constitution was adopted in 2005.

Some 75% of the population are employed in subsistence farming, and 60% of the population live on less than the equivalent of US$1.25 per day.[4] Swaziland's main trading partner is South Africa, and its currency is pegged to the South African rand(Sony VAIO VGN-FW31Z battery). Many of Swaziland's peasants make their living by growing marijuana, which is sold to South Africa.[5] Swaziland's economic growth and societal integrity is highly endangered by its disastrous HIV epidemic, to an extent where the United Nations Development Program has written that if it continues unabated, the "longer term existence of Swaziland as a country will be seriously threatened." (11z-battery.html">Sony VGN-NR11Z Battery) The infection rate in the country is unprecedented and the highest in the world at 26.1% of adults,[7] and over 50% of adults in their 20s.[6] According to the CIA World Factbook, Swaziland has the lowest life expectancy in the world, with an average life expectancy of only 31.88 years(Sony VGN-NR11S Battery).

History

Main article: History of Swaziland

Artifacts indicating human activity dating back to the early Stone Age 200,000 years ago have been found in the Kingdom of Swaziland. Prehistoric rock art paintings date from ca. 25,000 B.C. and continue up to the 19th century.

The earliest inhabitants of the area were Khoisan hunter-gatherers.They were largely replaced by the Bantu tribes during Bantu migrations who hailed from the Great Lakes regions of Eastern Africa(Sony VGN-CR11Z Battery). Evidence of agriculture and iron use dates from about the 4th century and people speaking languages ancestral to current Sotho and Nguni languages began settling no later than the 11th century. The Bantu people known as the Swazis established iron-working and settled farming colonies in the 15th century after crossing the Limpopo river. They experienced great economic pressure from the rival Ndwandwe clans from the south. (Sony VGN-CR11S Battery)

The country derives its name from a later king, Mswati I. However, Ngwane is an alternative name for Swaziland and Dlamini remains the surname of the royal house, while Nkosi means "king". Scholarly history of Swaziland shows that independent chiefdoms and small kingdoms dominated by various clans were initially conquered and incorporated into(Sony VGN-CR11M Battery) the growing Ngwane kingdom ruled by members of the Dlamini clan sometime in the 18th and 19th centuries, long before British colonisation.[9]

According to Swazi royalist tradition, these clans came to be classified in the Dlamini kingdom as the Emakhandzambile category of clans ("those found ahead", e.g. the Gamedze), meaning that they were on the land prior to Dlamini immigration and conquest, as opposed to the Bomdzabuko ("true Swazi")(Sony VGN-CR11E Battery) who accompanied the Dlamini kings, and the Emafikemuva ("those who came behind") who joined the kingdom later. Emakhandzambile clans initially were incorporated with wide autonomy, and often in part by granting them special ritual and political status (cf. mediatisation), but the extent of their autonomy was drastically curtailed by King Mswati II, who attacked and subdued some of the clans in the 1850s. (Sony VGN-CR21E Battery)

Lake with Hippopotami in the Mlilwane reserve, Swaziland, August 2003

The autonomy of the Swaziland Nation was dictated by British rule of southern Africa in the 19th and 20th centuries. In 1881 the British government signed a convention recognizing Swazi independence. However, controversial land and mineral rights concessions were made under the authority of the Foreign Jurisdiction Act of 1890 in terms of which the administration (Sony VGN-CR21S Battery)of Swaziland was also placed under that of the then South African Republic (Transvaal). Swaziland was indirectly involved in the Second Boer War (1899–1902).

The Swaziland independence Constitution was promulgated by Britain in November 1963 in terms of which a legislative Council and an Executive Council were established. This development was opposed by the Swazi National Council (liqoqo) (Sony VGN-CR21Z Battery).

Despite such opposition, elections took place and the first Legislative Council of Swaziland was constituted on 9 September 1964. Changes to the original constitution proposed by the Legislative Council were accepted by Britain and a new Constitution providing for a House of Assembly and Senate was drawn up(Sony VGN-CR31S Battery). Elections under this Constitution were held in 1967. Since 1973, Swaziland has seen a rather quiet struggle between pro-multiparty activists and supporters of the current Tinkhundla (constituencies) System of governance or Grass Roots Democracy System.

In June 2011, Swaziland, fearing bankruptcy, asked for a financial bailout from South Africa.[10]

Government(Sony VGN-CR31E Battery)

This section needs additional citations for verification. (December 2010)

Main articles: Politics of Swaziland and Human rights in Swaziland

See also: Foreign relations of Swaziland and Military of Swaziland

Embassy of Swaziland in Washington, D.C. USA

The head of state is the king or Ngwenyama (lit. Lion), currently King Mswati III, who ascended to the throne in 1986 after the death of his father King Sobhuza II in 1982 and a period of regency. By tradition(Sony VGN-CR31Z Battery), the king reigns along with his mother or a ritual substitute, the Ndlovukati (lit. She-Elephant). The former was viewed as the administrative head of state and the latter as a spiritual and national head of state, with real power counterbalancing that of the king, but during the long reign of Sobhuza II the role of the Ndlovukati became more symbolic(Sony VGN-CR41Z Battery). The king appoints the prime minister from the legislature and also appoints a minority of legislators to both chambers of Libandla (parliament), with help from an advisory council. The king is allowed by the constitution to appoint some members to parliament for special interests. These special interests are citizens who might have been left out by the electorate during the course of elections or did not enter as candidates. This is done in order to balance views in parliament(Sony VGN-CR41S Battery). Special interests could be people of gender, race, disability, business community, civic society, scholars, chiefs and so on. The Senate consists of 30 members which some are appointed by the king on recommendation of the advisory council and others elected by the lower house. The House of Assembly has 65 seats, 55 of which are occupied by elected representatives (Sony VGN-CR41E Battery)from the 55 constituencies around the country, 10 appointed by the king on recommendation of the advisory council and the attorney general is the ex-officio member. Elections are held every five years.

In 1968, Swaziland adopted a Westminster-style constitution, but in 1973 King Sobhuza II on the advice of parliament at the time suspended it due to widespread complaints by citizens of the country(Sony VGN-CR42Z Battery). In 2001, King Mswati III appointed a committee to draft a new constitution. Drafts were released for comment in May 1999 and November 2000. These were strongly criticized by civil society organizations in Swaziland and human rights organizations elsewhere. In 2005, the constitution was put into effect, though there is still much debate in the country about the constitutional reforms(Sony VGN-CR42S Battery). From the early seventies, there was active resistance to the royal hegemony. However despite complaints from progressive formations, support for the monarchy and the current political system remains strong in a majority of the population. Submissions were made by citizens around the country to commissions including the constitutional draft committee that they would prefer to maintain the current situation(Sony VGN-CR42E Battery).

The Swazi bicameral Parliament or Libandla consists of the Senate (30 seats; 10 members appointed by the House of Assembly and 20 appointed by the monarch; to serve five-year terms) and the House of Assembly (65 seats; 10 members appointed by the monarch and 55 elected by popular vote; to serve five-year terms) elections(Sony Vaio VGN-CR11S/L Battery): House of Assembly – last held 19 September 2008 (next to be held in 2013) election results: House of Assembly – balloting is done on a non-party basis; candidates for election are nominated by the local council of each constituency and for each constituency the three candidates with the most votes in the first round of voting are narrowed to a single winner by a second round(Sony Vaio VGN-CR11S/P Battery).

Swaziland lies across a geological fault which runs from the Drakensberg Mountains of Lesotho, north through the Eastern highlands of Zimbabwe, forms the Great Rift Valley of Kenya and, eventually, peters out in present-day Turkey.

Landscape in Swaziland

A small, land-locked Kingdom, Swaziland is bordered in the North, West and South by the Republic of South Africa and by Mozambique in the East. Although Swaziland has a land area of only 17,364 km2(Sony Vaio VGN-CR11S/W Battery), roughly the size of Wales or the American State of New Jersey, it contains four separate geographical regions. These run from North to South and are determined by altitude.

Swaziland is located at approximately 26°30'S, 31°30'E.[11] Swaziland also offers a wide variety of landscapes, from the mountains along the Mozambican border to savannas in the east and rain forest in the northwest. Several rivers flow through the country, such as the Great Usuthu River(Sony Vaio VGN-CR13/B Battery).

Along the eastern border with Mozambique is the Lubombo, a mountain ridge, at an altitude of around 600 meters. The mountains are broken by the canyons of three rivers, the Ngwavuma, the Usutu and the Mbuluzi River. This is cattle ranching country.

The western border of the country, with an average altitude of 1200 meters, lies on the edge of an escarpment(Sony Vaio VGN-CR13/L Battery). Between the mountains rivers rush through deep gorges making this a most scenic region. Mbabane, the capital, is located on the Highveld.

The Middleveld, lying at an average 700 meters above sea level is the most densely populated region of Swaziland with a lower rainfall than the mountains. Manzini, the principal commercial and industrial city, is situated in the Middleveld(Sony Vaio VGN-CR13/P Battery).

The Lowveld of Swaziland, at around 250 meters, is less populated than other areas and presents a typical African bush country of thorn trees and grasslands. Development of the region was inhibited, in early days, by the scourge of malaria.

Main article: Climate of Swaziland

Topographic map of Swaziland

The seasons are the reverse of those in the Northern Hemisphere with December being mid-summer and June mid-winter. Generally speaking, rain falls mostly during the summer months, often in the form of thunderstorms(Sony Vaio VGN-CR13G Battery). Winter is the dry season. Annual rainfall is highest on the Highveld in the West, between 1,000 and 2,000 mm (39.4 and 78.7 in) depending on the year. The further East, the less rain, with the Lowveld recording 500 to 900 mm (19.7 to 35.4 in) per annum. Variations in temperature are also related to the altitude of the different regions. The Highveld temperature is temperate and, seldom, uncomfortably hot while the Lowveld may record temperatures around 40 °C (104 °F) in summer(Sony Vaio VGN-CR13G/B Battery).

The average temperatures at Mbabane, according to seasons:

Economy

Main article: Economy of Swaziland

Graphical depiction of Swaziland's product exports in 28 color coded categories.

Coins of Swaziland

Swaziland’s economy is diversified[disambiguation needed], with agriculture, forestry and mining accounting for about 13% of GDP, manufacturing (textiles and sugar-related processing) representing 37% of GDP and services – with government services in the lead – constituting 50% of GDP. Title Deed Lands (TDLs), where the bulk of high value crops are grown(Sony Vaio VGN-CR13G/L Battery) (sugar, forestry, and citrus) are characterized by high levels of investment and irrigation, and high productivity. Nevertheless, the majority of the population – about 75%—is employed in subsistence agriculture on Swazi Nation Land (SNL), which, in contrast, suffers from low productivity and investment. This dual nature of the Swazi economy, with high productivity in textile manufacturing and in the industrialized agricultural TDLs on the one hand, (Sony Vaio VGN-CR13G/W Battery) and declining productivity subsistence agriculture (on SNL) on the other, may well explain the country’s overall low growth, high inequality and unemployment.

Economic growth in Swaziland has lagged behind that of its neighbors. Real GDP growth since 2001 has averaged 2.8%, nearly 2 percentage points lower than growth in other Southern African Customs Union (SACU) member countries. Low agricultural productivity in the SNLs, repeated droughts(Sony Vaio VGN-CR13G/P Battery), the devastating effect of HIV/AIDS and an overly large and inefficient government sector are likely contributing factors. Swaziland’s public finances deteriorated in the late 1990s following sizable surpluses a decade earlier. A combination of declining revenues and increased spending led to significant budget deficits.

The considerable spending did not lead to more growth and did not benefit the poor. Much of the increased spending has gone to current expenditures related to wages(Sony Vaio VGN-CR13G/R Battery), transfers, and subsidies. The wage bill today constitutes over 15% of GDP and 55% of total public spending; these are some of the highest levels on the African continent. The recent rapid growth in SACU revenues has, however, reversed the fiscal situation, and a sizable surplus was recorded since 2006. SACU revenues today account for over 60% of total government revenues(Sony Vaio VGN-CR13T/L Battery). On the positive side, the external debt burden has declined markedly over the last 20 years, and domestic debt is almost negligible; external debt as a percent of GDP was less than 20% in 2006.

The Swazi economy is very closely linked to the South African economy, from which it receives over 90% of its imports and to which it sends about 70% of its exports. Swaziland’s other key trading partners are the United States and the EU, (Sony Vaio VGN-CR13T/P Battery) from whom the country has received trade preferences for apparel exports (under the African Growth and Opportunity Act – AGOA – to the US) and for sugar (to the EU). Under these agreements, both apparel and sugar exports did well, with rapid growth and a strong inflow of foreign direct investment. Textile exports grew by over 200% between 2000 and 2005 and sugar exports increasing by more than 50% over the same period(Sony Vaio VGN-CR13T/R Battery).

The continued vibrancy of the export sector is threatened by the removal of trade preferences for textiles, the accession to similar preferences for East Asian countries, and the phasing out of preferential prices for sugar to the EU market. Swaziland will thus have to face the challenge of remaining competitive in a changing global environment(Sony Vaio VGN-CR21/B Battery). A crucial factor in addressing this challenge is the investment climate. The recently concluded Investment Climate Assessment provides some positive findings in this regard, namely that Swaziland firms are among the most productive in Sub-Saharan Africa, although they are less productive than firms in the most productive middle-income countries in other regions. They compare more favorably with firms from lower middle income countries, but are hampered by inadequate governance arrangements and infrastructure(Sony Vaio VGN-CR21E/L Battery).

Swaziland's currency is pegged to the South African rand, subsuming Swaziland's monetary policy to South Africa. Customs duties from the Southern African Customs Union, which may equal as much as 70% of government revenue this year, and worker remittances from South Africa substantially supplement domestically earned income. Swaziland is not poor enough to merit an IMF program(Sony Vaio VGN-CR21E/P Battery); however, the country is struggling to reduce the size of the civil service and control costs at public enterprises. The government is trying to improve the atmosphere for foreign direct investment.

See also: HIV/AIDS in Swaziland

Swaziland is critically affected by the HIV and AIDS pandemic, which is now a major threat to its society. As reported in the 2012 CIA World Factbook, Swaziland has the highest HIV infection rate in the world (25.8% of all adults; more in other reports) (Sony Vaio VGN-CR21E/W Battery)and also the fourth-lowest life expectancy at 49 years. From another perspective, the last available World Health Organization data in 2002 shows that 64% of all deaths in the country were caused by HIV/AIDS. In 2009, an estimated 7,000 people died from AIDS-related causes,[13] from a total population of approximately 1,185,000.[14] This translates into an estimated 0.6% of the population dying from AIDS every year(Sony Vaio VGN-CR21S/L Battery). Chronic illnesses that are the most prolific causes of death in the developed world account only for a minute fraction of deaths in Swaziland; for example, heart disease, strokes, and cancer cause fewer than 5% of deaths in Swaziland in total, compared to 55% of all deaths yearly in the US.

In 2004, Swaziland acknowledged for the first time that it suffered an AIDS crisis(Sony Vaio VGN-CR21S/P Battery), with 38.8% of tested pregnant women infected with HIV (see AIDS in Africa). The then-Prime Minister Themba Dlamini declared a humanitarian crisis due to the combined effect of drought, land degradation, increased poverty, and HIV/AIDS. According to the 2011 UNAIDS Report, Swaziland is close to achieving universal access to HIV/AIDS treatment, defined as 80% coverage or greater. Estimates of treatment coverage range from 70% to 80% of those infected(Sony Vaio VGN-CR23/B Battery).

Life expectancy has fallen from 61 years in 2000 to 32 years in 2009. Tuberculosis is also a significant problem, with an 18% mortality rate. Many patients have a multi-drug resistant strain, and 83% are co-infected with HIV.

Public expenditure was at 4% of the GDP of the country, whereas private expenditure was at 2.3%. There were 16 physicians per 100,000 persons in the early 2000s. (Sony VAIO VGN-NW21EF/S battery) Infant mortality was at 69 per 1,000 in 2005,[19][specify] with the WHO showing that 47% of all deaths under 5 are caused by HIV/AIDS.

The principal Swazi social unit is the homestead, a traditional beehive hut thatched with dry grass. In a polygamous homestead, each wife has her own hut and yard surrounded by reed fences. There are three structures for sleeping, cooking, and storage (brewing beer) (Sony VAIO VGN-NW21JF battery). In larger homesteads there are also structures used as bachelors' quarters and guest accommodation.

Central to the traditional homestead is the cattle byre, a circular area enclosed by large logs interspaced with branches. The cattle byre has ritual as well as practical significance as a store of wealth and symbol of prestige. It contains sealed grain pits. Facing the cattle byre is the great hut which is occupied by the mother of the headman(Sony VAIO VGN-NW21MF battery).

The headman is central to all homestead affairs and he is often polygamous. He leads through example and advises his wives on all social affairs of the home as well as seeing to the larger survival of the family. He also spends time socializing with the young boys, who are often his sons or close relatives, advising them on the expectations of growing up and manhood(Sony VAIO VGN-NW21MF/W battery).

The Sangoma is a traditional diviner chosen by the ancestors of that particular family. The training of the Sangoma is called "kwetfwasa". At the end of the training, a graduation ceremony takes place where all the local sangoma come together for feasting and dancing. The diviner is consulted for various reasons, such the cause of sickness or even death(Sony VAIO VGN-NW31EF/W battery). His diagnosis is based on "kubhula", a process of communication, through trance, with the natural super-powers. The Inyanga (a medical and pharmaceutical specialist in western terms) possesses the bone throwing skill ("kushaya ematsambo") used to determine the cause of the sickness.

The most important cultural event in Swaziland is the Incwala ceremony. It is held on the fourth day after the full moon nearest the longest day(Sony VAIO VGN-NW21ZF battery), 21 December. Incwala is often translated in English as 'first fruits ceremony', but the King's tasting of the new harvest is only one aspect among many in this long pageant. Incwala is best translated as 'Kingship Ceremony' : when there is no king, there is no Incwala. It is high treason for any other person to hold an Incwala(Sony VAIO VGN-NW31JF battery).

Every Swazi may take part in the public parts of the Incwala. The climax of the event is the fourth day of the Big Incwala. The key figures are the King, Queen Mother, royal wives and children, the royal governors (indunas), the chiefs, the regiments, and the "bemanti" or "water people".

Swaziland's most well-known cultural event is the annual Reed Dance. In the eight day ceremony, girls cut reeds and present them to the queen mother and then dance(Sony VAIO VGN-NW320F/B battery). (There is no formal competition.) It is done in late August or early September. Only childless, unmarried girls can take part. The aims of the ceremony are to preserve girls' chastity, provide tribute labour for the Queen mother, and to encourage solidarity by working together. The royal family appoints a commoner maiden to be "induna" (captain) of the girls and she announces over the radio the dates of the ceremony(Sony VAIO VGN-NW320F/TC battery). She will be an expert dancer and knowledgeable on royal protocol. One of the King's daughters will be her counterpart.

Today's Reed Dance is not an ancient ceremony, but developed out of the old "umchwasho" custom. In "umchwasho", all young girls were placed in a female age-regiment. If any girl fell pregnant outside of marriage, her family paid a fine of one cow to the local chief. (Sony VAIO VGN-NW11S/S battery) After a number of years, when the girls had reached a marriageable age, they would perform labour service for the Queen Mother, ending with dancing and feasting. The country was under the chastity rite of "umchwasho" until 19 August 2005.

Swaziland is also known for a strong presence in the handcrafts industry. The formalized handcraft businesses of Swaziland employ over 2,500 people, many of whom are women (per TechnoServe Swaziland Handcrafts Impact Study," February 2011) (Sony VAIO VGN-NW11Z/S battery). The products are unique and reflect the culture of Swaziland, ranging from housewares, to artistic decorations, to complex glass, stone, or wood artwork.

Main article: Education in Swaziland

Education in Swaziland is now free at primary level mainly 1st and 2nd grades and also free for orphaned and vulnerable children but not compulsory.[20] In 1996, the net primary school enrollment rate was 90.8%, with gender parity at the primary level. (Sony VAIO VGN-NW11S/T battery) In 1998, 80.5% of children reached grade five.[20] The University of Swaziland provides higher education. The Swaziland National Library Service operates public community libraries throughout Swaziland and establishes school libraries in partnership with Fundza, a non-governmental organization and the African Library Project.[21]

Swazi people dancing in a cultural village show(Sony VAIO VGN-NW11Z/T battery).

Main article: Demographics of Swaziland

The majority of Swaziland's population is ethnically Swazi, mixed with a small number of Zulu and White Africans, mostly people of British and Afrikaner descent. Traditionally Swazi have been subsistence farmers and herders, but most now mix such activities with work in the growing urban formal economy and in government. Some Swazi work in the mines in South Africa(SONY VGP-BPS10A battery).

Swaziland also received Portuguese settlers and African refugees from Mozambique. Christianity in Swaziland is sometimes mixed with traditional beliefs and practices. Many traditionalists believe that most Swazi ascribe a special spiritual role to the monarch. Residents of Swaziland have the lowest documented life expectancy in the world at 31.88 years, less than half the world average of 69.4(SONY VGP-BPS10A/B battery).

Languages

SiSwati[23] (also known as Swati, Swazi or Seswati) is a Bantu language of the Nguni Group, spoken in Swaziland and South Africa. It has 2.5 million speakers and is taught in schools. It is an official language of Swaziland (along with English) and one of the official languages of South Africa(SONY VGP-BPS10/B battery).

About 76,000 people in the country speak Zulu.[24] Tsonga, which is spoken by many people throughout the region is spoken by about 19,000 people in Swaziland. Afrikaans is also spoken by some residents of Afrikaner descent.

Main article: Religion in Swaziland

82.70% of the total population adheres to Christianity, making it the most common religion in Swaziland. Various Protestant and indigenous African churches, including African Zionist, constitute the majority of the Christians (40%)(SONY VGP-BPS10/S battery), followed by Roman Catholicism at 20% of the population. There are also smaller numbers non-Christian religions practiced in the country such as Islam (0.95%), the Bahá'í Faith (0.5%), and Hinduism (0.15%)(Sony VAIO VGN-FZ15L battery).

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