Education & Jobs

High rates of illiteracy

At independence in 1974, few schools were available to give Mozambicans a proper education. Many schools were built and the situation improved greatly, but years of civil war left buildings destroyed.

Literacy rates

In 2009, only 55% of adults in Mozambique were able to read and write.

From the 1990s school attendance began to rise again and the number of schools expanded rapidly. Primary education became free in 2005. Today, nearly all children are enrolled at primary school.

However, a shortage of qualified teachers means large class sizes and many schools lack water and sanitation facilities. In some rural areas, particularly in the north, children often have a long journey to school.

  • Children at school
  • School in Mozambique

Girls disadvantaged

Over a third of Mozambican girls (aged 15-24) are unable to read and write.

Educational achievement remains low, particularly for girls. Many girls leave education by 14 years of age, since it is traditional for them to marry young. Children from poor families or those who have lost parents also frequently drop out of school.

The informal job sector

An agricultural society

Around 80% of the country’s population rely on agriculture for their living.

Though the private sector and industry is growing in Mozambique, there are still very few formal jobs in the country. Most Mozambicans therefore work in subsistence/smallholder farming or in small-scale cottage industries (known as the informal sector).

One aim of the government’s Poverty Reduction Action Plan (2011-2014) is to create more jobs in small and medium-sized enterprises, for example by simplifying the tax system for businesses.

With a shortage of formal jobs, over one million Mozambicans have left the country to find work abroad (according to 2010 World Bank estimates on migrants).

Employment threats

The high incidence of HIV/AIDS in Mozambique (see Poverty and Healthcare) is a major threat to increasing productivity.

Already in areas where deaths from HIV/AIDS have been highest – such as the central region of the country – the government has detected higher rates of poverty as ill-health affects the ability of adults to earn a living.