Mozambique - Country Commercial Guide

Describes what a company needs to know to take advantage of e-commerce in the local market and covers prominent B2B websites.

Last published date: 2022-11-30

The great competitive equalizer for US small business is the emergence of cross-border ecommerce as a viable channel to increase US exports. Businesses of all sizes are redirecting resources to move online in order meet this growing demand or in many cases, as an effort of basic business survival.

From the U.S. Field counseling perspective, ecommerce is a sales channel that a client will use to sell and grow its brand awareness and is an integral part of a business’ digital sales strategy.  Continual internal training of Global Markets employees through the CLC on a digital strategy counseling method supports the counseling efforts currently underway, which primarily includes broad business digital strategy counseling along with a Website Globalization Review service (WGR), a service designed to serve as an analysis of a company’s web effectiveness and ability to acquire online consumers globally.

There is ecommerce-specific market research purchased by the U.S. Field-based office eCommerce Innovation Lab. Contact to see what ecommerce research reports are available for your market to use as a resource in this CCG.

General Overview

According to advisory firm Kepios, 20.8% of the Mozambican population had access to the internet as of January 2021. Though the number is small in comparison to other countries, it is growing rapidly thanks to the spread of low-cost smart phones. In 2017, the Government approved The Electronic Transactions Law, providing the legal framework for developing e-commerce.

Legal and Regulatorys

The e-commerce industry in Mozambique is in its infancy, there are few options available as many Mozambicans do not have access to credit/debit cards and therefore cannot shop online.

The Banco de Mocambique (Bank of Mozambique; Central Bank) is the leading regulator for e-commerce payments. It is working with commercial banks to establish a national online payment system that will allow local companies to sell products online. This process started in 2018 and has consistently been delayed, severely limiting the advancement of the e-commerce industry.

Market trends point to an increase in cross border sales as the middle class starts to look outwards for travel and shopping opportunities. Domestic sales have been stagnant due to lack of supporting infrastructure.

Consumer Behavior

Though the country’s underdeveloped infrastructure is a major barrier to access for e-commerce businesses. Small enterprises commonly use social media platforms - particularly Facebook, Instagram, and WhatsApp – to reach targeted groups or individuals. Few local companies advertise online. The bulk of the advertising that is done online consists of banners on websites and social media pages. Some companies have started using YouTube as a platform to reach customers.

True online payment systems remain in undeveloped and unimplemented, and most consumers bridge that gap with mobile money transfer solutions like M-PESA (Vodacom), mKesh (TMcel), and e-Mola (Movitel). The Central Bank has recently encouraged interoperability of these payment platforms, and it is developing regulations to further facilitate online payments. Some pioneering enterprises are changing consumer habits and making sales online. Examples include Compras and Xava, which offer electronics. Online sales are expected to grow along with the emerging middle class.