Hungry Cities Partnership

Document Type

Hungry Cities Report

Publication Date



Balsillie School of International Affairs


The city of Maputo, with a population of around 1.3 million, has been at the forefront of urbanization in Mozambique. While the Southern African country has posted impressive macro-economic growth rates in the last two decades, there has been only limited formal sector employment generation. Most of its working population is absorbed in informal employment and self-employment. The informal food economy is easily the most important source of food in Maputo. Almost all households regularly obtain food from informal sellers; over 90% at least once a week and many on a daily basis. For many households, daily purchasing is necessitated by unpredictable daily income and a lack of accumulated funds. Such purchasing raises the unit cost per item and leads to higher household expenditure on food. The informal food economy is not confined to the markets, and is particularly visible and extensive on the streets and in the bairros of Maputo. There are many thousands of street vendors selling a range of fresh and processed food, often from the same stall. Most of the fresh fruit and vegetables, processed food and junk food are imported from South Africa. Food insecurity is highly prevalent throughout Mozambique. This audit of the city of Maputo highlights that there are still major information gaps in our understanding of the urban food system. As its work progresses, the Hungry Cities Partnership aims to fill many of these gaps.