Mozambique was a Portuguese colony until 1975. Two years after independence, a 15-year-long civil war ravaged in the country until 1992 with devastating consequences for the Mozambican population. Even though the political and economic situation has largely been stabilized since then, Mozambique is still dependent on international aid. However, giant gas and coal reserves, which are among the largest in the world, suggest that this dependence can be significantly reduced in the long term. Mozambique has repeatedly been affected by natural disasters (floods, cyclones, drought), creating humanitarian crises. Most recently, the country was hit by a severe drought caused by the "El Niño" phenomenon.
Bilateral Relations Austria’s bilateral relations with Mozambique are friendly and close. Diplomatic relations were established in 1976 and have in the past focused primarily on development cooperation. Today bilateral trade and investment issues are picking up momentum while development cooperation remains an important pillar of Austrian-Mozambican cooperation. Since the closure of the Austrian Embassy in Harare in 2011, the Austrian Embassy in Pretoria has been covering Mozambique. Ambassador Öppinger-Walchshofer presented her credentials to President Guebuza on 21 August 2013. The Embassy is supported by an Austrian Honorary Consulate in Maputo. Bilateral agreements: - Agreement on technical and financial cooperation (BGBl. Nr. 216/1986) - Agreement on the establishment of a coordination office of the Austrian Development Cooperation in Mozambique (30.10.1997) between the Austrian Foreign Ministry and the Ministry of Foreign Affairs and Cooperation of the Republic of Mozambique. The Montanuniversität Leoben (University for Mining, Metallurgy and Materials) has shown interest in cooperating with Mozambique, especially with the Universidade Eduardo Mondlane, in order to help building specialised capacities in the mining sector. Around 30 - 40 Austrian citizens are living in Mozambique.
Farewell visit of the Ambassador to Maputo
On 20 March 2017, Ambassador Öppinger-Walchshofer paid a farewell visit to the Mozambican president Nyusi and Foreign Minister Báloi. President Nyusi thanked Austria and expressed his hopes to receive more political visits from Austria to his country in the near future. Furthermore collaboration opportunities in the field of tourism as well as within the framework of IACA were discussed. According to Minister Báloi the four economic missions of the past four years demonstrated the increased interest of Austrian companies in Mozambique.
In February 2013, the Austrian Chamber of Commerce organized a “Mozambique-Day” in Vienna. The event, which was opened by the Mozambican Minister of Trade and Industry, focused on opportunities for cooperation in the fields of energy, agriculture, forestry, mining, as well as university cooperation (Montan-Universität Leoben). In mid-October 2013 an Austrian business delegation with approximately 30 participants visited Mozambique and presented itself to a wider audience during a business forum. From 15 to 19 June, 2015, an Austrian economic mission visited Maputo. The mission was led by Vice-President of the Austrian Federal Economic Chamber, Richard Schenz. In February 2016a delegation from Mozambique took part in a Forum on Mozambique organised by the Federal Economic Chamber in Vienna. Austrian trade with Mozambique has been subject to fluctuations over the last few years. In 2016 Austrian exports amounted to € 5.45 million, whereas Austrian imports stood at € 1.96 Million.
Mozambique is a focal country of the Austrian Development Cooperation, with the Austrian Development Agency (ADA) maintaining a coordination office in Maputo (more information at "See also").
The ADA.programme for Mozambique focuses on the promotion of rural water supply and sanitation, small scale agriculture and local entrepreneurship with the involvement of local communities in the rural districts of Sofala province. The coordination office in Maputo actively participates in donor coordination exercises such as the budget support donor group (G19), which also involves the government, or the European Union. ADA’s bilateral budget line for Mozambique amounted to € 4.5 million in 2015. For the period 2016 to 2019, the bilateral budget line contains € 1.5 million per year for direct budget support (presently suspended and redirected humanitarian aid for the victims of the drought in 2016), € 1 million per year for the agricultural sector, and around € 700,000 per year to support small scale agriculture. Additional funds are available from various thematic budget lines (e.g. education) upon request. Mozambique is also a partner country in the Soltrain Project, financed by ADA and OFID. One participant from Mozambique could be welcomed to Austria in 2016 in the framework of the Austrian Leadership Programs (ALPs). The Austrian NGO SOS Children's Villages operates six Children's Villages in Mozambique (in Maputo, Pemba, Tete, Beira, Chimoio, and in Inhambane).
Mozambique has been a member of UNESCO since 1976. The Ministry of Culture in Maputo is above all dedicated to the promotion of traditional forms of art, inter alia through the organization of an annual festival with participants from all of the country’s provinces, in particular musicians. Austria regularly participates in the annual EU film festival in Maputo. In addition, Austria has taken part in the "Week of the German Language" since 2013. In 2015, musicians from Austria performed at the Azgo Festival in Maputo. In 2016, the Austrian duo Raskin und Fleischmann staid four days in Maputo in order to teach young musicians of the Eduardo Modlane University and thereby proved their social commitment. Furthermore, artists from Mozambique have travelled to Austria frequently in the recent past.