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Key findings
  • More than four in 10 Mozambicans (44%) say droughts have become more severe in their region over the past 10 years, while one-third (33%) say the same about floods.
  • Fewer than four in 10 citizens (37%) say they have heard of climate change, while 60% say they have not. Among those who are aware of climate change: o About half (47%) say it is making life in Mozambique worse. o More than two-thirds (68%) want the government to take immediate action to limit climate change, even if it is expensive, causes job losses, or takes a toll on the economy. Almost as many (63%) believe that ordinary citizens can help curb climate change. o Large majorities say greater efforts to limit climate change are needed from business and industry (87%), the government (85%), developed countries (80%), and citizens (72%).

With an extensive coastline, widespread poverty, an economy dependent on agriculture, and weak infrastructural and institutional development, Mozambique is highly vulnerable to the manifold impacts of climate change (ReliefWeb, 2022a; Manuel, Tostão, Vilanculos, Mandlhate, & Hartley, 2021).

Shifts in weather patterns have heightened the frequency and intensity of extreme climatic events, including both floods and droughts. Idai and Kenneth (both in 2019), Ana and Gombe (both in 2022), and Freddy (2023) are among the cyclones and tropical storms that have killed hundreds, displaced many thousands, and caused massive destruction throughout the country in recent years (United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees, 2022; ACAPS, 2023).

Climate change also poses a threat to Mozambique’s economy. The agricultural sector, a key driver of the nation’s economy and the primary source of income for more than 70% of the population, is particularly vulnerable (Manuel et al., 2021; International Trade Administration, 2022). In 2022 alone, flood and wind damage resulted in the loss of an estimated 91,000 hectares of crops and harvest delays, exacerbating food insecurity (ReliefWeb, 2022b; USAID, 2021).

The Notre Dame Global Adaptation Initiative (2021) Index ranks Mozambique 154th out of 185 countries, meaning only 31 countries are less prepared for the climate risks they face. The Global Climate Risk Index identified Mozambique as the country most severely affected by weather-related losses in the world in 2019 (Germanwatch, 2021).

The government’s response has included a National Climate Change Adaptation and Mitigation Strategy, a Strategic Programme for Climate Resilience, a disaster management fund, and a range of projects to protect coastlines, relocate vulnerable communities, and otherwise strengthen climate resilience, though funding and coordination remain challenges (United Nations Environment Programme, 2022; U.S. Department of State, 2022).

This dispatch reports on a special survey module included in the Afrobarometer Round 9 questionnaire to explore Mozambicans’ experiences and perceptions of climate change.

Findings show that a majority of Mozambicans are not aware of climate change. Among those who are familiar with the climate threat, about half say it is making life worse, and majorities call for greater climate action by the government, business and industry, developed countries, and ordinary citizens.

Marcelline Amouzou

Marcelline Amouzou is a PhD student in political science at the University of Florida.