Mozambique’s Top 10 Exports

Mozambique's flag


Located along Africa’s southeastern coast, the Republic of Mozambique shipped US$4.7 billion worth of goods around the globe in 2017. That dollar amount is a 16.5% uptick since 2013 and a 39.8% acceleration from 2016 to 2017.

Based on estimates from the Central Intelligence Agency’s World Factbook, Mozambique’s exported goods plus services represent 42.6% of total Mozambican economic output or Gross Domestic Product. The analysis below focuses on exported products only.

From a continental perspective, almost half (48.2%) of Mozambican exports by value were delivered to Asian nations. Another 28.1% were sold to importers in Europe while 21.7% worth arrived in fellow African countries. At 1.2%, Mozambique exported a much smaller percentage to North American customers.

Given Mozambique’s population of 26.6 million people, its total $4.7 billion in 2017 exports translates to roughly $180 for every resident in that country.

Mozambique’s unemployment rate was an estimated 24.37% at December 2017 according to Trading Economics.

Mozambique’s Top 10 Exports

Top 10

The following export product groups represent the highest dollar value in Mozambican global shipments during 2017. Also shown is the percentage share each export category represents in terms of overall exports from Mozambique.

  1. Mineral fuels including oil: US$2.4 billion (51.8% of total exports)
  2. Aluminum: $1.2 billion (25.6%)
  3. Tobacco, manufactured substitutes: $211.6 million (4.5%)
  4. Ores, slag, ash: $210.7 million (4.5%)
  5. Gems, precious metals: $101.3 million (2.2%)
  6. Fruits, nuts: $91 million (1.9%)
  7. Wood: $59.2 million (1.3%)
  8. Books, newspapers, pictures: $55.2 million (1.2%)
  9. Fish: $40.9 million (0.9%)
  10. Vegetables: $35.9 million (0.8%)

Mozambique’s top 10 exports are highly concentrated, representing 94.5% of the overall value of its global shipments.

Aircraft and spacecraft was the fastest-growing among the top 10 export categories, up by 3,568% from 2016 to 2017.

In second place for improving export sales was the books, newspapers and pictures category which gained 342.2%.

International sales of wood from Mozambique made the third-fastest gainer, up by 98.9%.

Exports of aluminum appreciated by 34.8% year over year.

Two top 10 Mozambican exports declined in value, namely fish (down -7.9%) and the gems, precious metals (down -2%) due mainly to shrinking international sales for precious stones.


The following types of Mozambican product shipments represent positive net exports or a trade balance surplus. Investopedia defines net exports as the value of a country’s total exports minus the value of its total imports.

In a nutshell, net exports represent the amount by which foreign spending on a home country’s goods or services exceeds or lags the home country’s spending on foreign goods or services.

  1. Mineral fuels including oil: US$1.1 billion (Reversing a -$1.1 billion deficit in 2016)
  2. Aluminum: $693.9 million (Down by -7.5% from 2015 to 2016)
  3. Tobacco, manufactured substitutes: $200.8 million (Down by -10%)
  4. Ores, slag, ash: $193.4 million (Up by 9.4%)
  5. Gems, precious metals: $101 million (Down by -2%)
  6. Fruits, nuts: $85.7 million (Up by 26.5%)
  7. Wood: $34.1 million (Reversing a -$5.2 million deficit)
  8. Books, newspapers, pictures: $25.6 million (Reversing a -$23.4 million deficit)
  9. Aircraft, spacecraft: $19.6 million (Reversing a -$63.2 million deficit)
  10. Sugar, sugar confectionery: $16.7 million (Down by -55.6%)

Mozambique has highly positive net exports in the international trade of coke or semi-coke, petroleum gases and coal. In turn, these cashflows indicate Mozambique’s strong competitive advantages under the mineral fuels-related product category.


Mozambique incurred an overall trade deficit of -$1.1 billion during 2017, down by -44.7% from -$1.9 billion in 2016.

Below are exports from Mozambique that result in negative net exports or product trade balance deficits. These negative net exports reveal product categories where foreign spending on home country Mozambique’s goods trail Mozambican importer spending on foreign products.

  1. Machinery including computers: -US482.7 million (Down by -21.1% since 2016)
  2. Cereals: -$360.4 million (Up by 19.9%)
  3. Electrical machinery, equipment: -$334.3 million (Down by -19.2%)
  4. Vehicles : -$310.6 million (Down by -0.9%)
  5. Ships, boats: -$213.2 million (Down by -379.5%)
  6. Pharmaceuticals: -$205.1 million (Up by 3.7%)
  7. Articles of iron or steel: -$149.2 million (Down by -22.3%)
  8. Plastics, plastic articles: -$123.6 million (Down by -5%)
  9. Iron, steel: -$110.5 million (Up by 21.7%)
  10. Other chemical goods: -$86 million (Down by -123.3%)

Mozambique has highly negative net exports and therefore deep international trade deficits for machinery, including heavy-duty industrial machines and computers.


Mozambican Export Companies

Not one corporation ranks among Forbes Global 2000.

Wikipedia does list a handful of companies from Mozambique that engage as players in international trade. Selected examples are shown below:

  • Beira Railroad Corporation (port-access railroads)
  • Illovo Sugar Limited (raw and refined sugar)
  • Mozal (aluminum smelter)
  • Telecomunicações de Moçambique (telecommunications, internet services)

Mozambique’s capital city is Maputo.

Please note that the results listed above are at the 2-digit Harmonized Tariff System code level.

See also Top African Export Countries, Top South African Trading Partners and Nigeria’s Top 10 Exports

Research Sources:
International Monetary Fund, World Economic Outlook Database (GDP based on Purchasing Power Parity). Accessed on February 16, 2018

The World Factbook, Country Profiles, Central Intelligence Agency. Accessed on February 16, 2018

Trade Map, International Trade Centre. Accessed on February 16, 2018

Investopedia, Net Exports Definition. Accessed on February 16, 2018

Wikipedia, List of Companies of Mozambique. Accessed on February 16, 2018

Forbes 2015 Global 2000 rankings, The World’s Biggest Public Companies. Accessed on February 16, 2018