Mozambique - 2019 Year-End Report Summary


Operational context

Mozambique has traditionally offered progressive practical arrangements for refugees to have access to work and public services. In the last few years, refugee issues were increasingly addressed by the Ministry of Interior, culminating in 2019 with the creation of an inter-ministerial conference on security and refugee matters. The Government sought international assistance to deal with the consequences of natural disasters – cyclones Idai and Kenneth, compounded by seasonal droughts.  As part of the joint inter-agency response to Tropical Cyclone Idai, UNHCR co-led the protection cluster and provided shelter and core relief items to affected people. In addition, UNHCR established its presence and led the protection cluster in Cabo Delgado Province, which was impacted by Tropical Cyclone Kenneth in April 2019.
In 2019, UNHCR advocated with the Government to address the backlog of refugee status determination applications pending for over 24,000 asylum-seekers. The operation also advocated for the Government to lift its reservations to the 1951 Refugee Convention in order to promote greater legal protection for refugees and asylum-seekers, especially given that the reservations no longer reflected the practice in Mozambique, where favourable local integration opportunities existed.

Population trends

As of December 2019, Mozambique hosted some 4,700 refugees and 21,000 asylum-seekers, of whom 37% were girls and women and 30% children. Some 11% of refugees and asylum-seekers lived in Nampula City, 36% lived in Maratane settlement and the remaining 53% lived in the Maputo area and other provinces of the country. The Maratane refugee settlement hosted some 9,240 asylum seekers and refugees, of whom 46% of the population was composed by girls and women, and 52% were under 18 years old. The majority of refugees were from the Democratic Republic of the Congo, Burundi, Rwanda and Somalia.
As a result of drought in the southern provinces, Tropical Cyclones Idai and Kenneth in central and northern Mozambique, and violence in the Cabo Delgado Province, some 180,500 people were internally displaced.


  • More than 20 partners and authorities were trained in sexual and gender-based violence prevention and response, and protection against sexual exploitation and abuse.
  • Mentoring and cash-based support to refugees resulted in an increase in self-reliance and reduced dependency on aid.
  • Over 30 refugee students were enrolled in higher education in Mozambique (Nampula, Ilha de Mocambique, Beira and Maputo), with support from the Albert Einstein German Academic Refugee Programme (DAFI).
  • Biometric verification was carried out in Maratane settlement and most of the provinces, improving monitoring of secondary movements and double registration.
  • As part of UNHCR’s response to Cyclone Idai, various protection activities were successfully conducted in 2019 including protection monitoring in settlement sites, community-based protection activities, capacity-building of local partners and national authorities, protection risk assessments, and protection mainstreaming across all sectors of the response.

Unmet needs

  • The operation was funded at 20% in 2019.
  • More livelihood opportunities were needed to promote greater inclusion and self-reliance for refugees and asylum-seekers in Mozambique, particularly for those residing in Maratane settlement.
  • Schools were struggling with limited capacity to absorb additional children in displacement-affected areas. The distance from schools, lack of materials and lack of documentation further impeded access to education for school-age IDPs.
  • In relation to livelihoods, due to the lack of funding and personnel with subject matter expertise, the creation of additional job opportunities through value chain development was postponed to 2020.