Over half of Mozambicans will be living in urban areas by 2015 and most of these will be living in slums without basic infrastructure or services unless serious investment is made, Jose Forjaz, director of the faculty of architecture and physical planning at the Eduardo Mondlane University, has said. Nearly 29 per cent of the population, or around 4.6 million people, live in towns or cities according to 1997 census figures; of these, 75 per cent, or 3.45 million, live in informal settlements or slums. This figure is projected to rise to nine million people by 2015, putting enormous pressure on already overstretched (and in many cases non-existent) infrastructure and resources. Forjaz has estimated that Mozambique needs to invest $300 million a year in housing and basic services such as schools and health centres in informal settlements.

Urban growth in Mozambique is similar to that in many countries in southern Africa, where rural-urban migration has been fuelled by a combination of poverty, drought and conflict. According to the State of World Population 2007 report by the United Nations