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EagleStone Security published a study that demonstrates how Mozambique’s economy has slowed markedly since 2016 when compared with the growth recorded in the previous decade. This deceleration came mainly as a result of the sharp drop in commodity prices, namely aluminum and coal (the country’s two main exports) and lower FDI in the country. Investor sentiment also deteriorated following the revelation in April 2016 of previously undisclosed public debt amounting to US$ 2 billion (17.5% of GDP) that lead to donor aid freezes and hindered economic activity further. Real GDP growth averaged 3.3% in the last four years (down from 6.7% in 2015). Still, apart from 2019, Mozambique continued to expand at a growth rate above the average in Sub-Saharan Africa, as economic activity in the region remained quite subdued in the period.

Economic activity was recovering from the impact of cyclones Idai and Kenneth that devastated parts of the country last year. Recent projections indicated that growth could improve to c5% in 2020 on the back of the continued reconstruction efforts and further progress in the development of LNG projects. Growth would also benefit from a gradual recovery in private consumption and investment. However, recent developments related to Covid-19 raise risks and uncertainties about the country’s economic outlook. The current pandemic will likely put pressure on its balance of payments due to the recent sharp fall in commodity prices and could even delay the implementation of LNG projects, derailing this recovery trajectory.

The Mozambican authorities have already lowered their growth projections for this year to 2.2% (worst case) and 3.8% (best case) from their previous forecast of 4.8%. They added that the sharp deceleration in global economic growth expected in 2020 will impact all sectors of the economy, from the extractive industry to agriculture. On the domestic front, risks to the economic outlook have also increased following the latest intensification of military instability in the north of the country as well as the uncertainties related to the duration and impact of floods and droughts.

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