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The UK annexed Southern Rhodesia from the [British] South Africa Company in 1923. A 1961 constitution was formulated that favored whites in power. In 1965 the government unilaterally declared its independence, but the UK did not recognize the act and demanded more complete voting rights for the black African majority in the country (then called Rhodesia). UN sanctions and a guerrilla uprising finally led to free elections in 1979 and independence (as Zimbabwe) in 1980. Robert MUGABE, the nation's first prime minister, has been the country's only ruler (as president since 1987) and has dominated the country's political system since independence. His chaotic land redistribution campaign, which began in 2000, caused an exodus of white farmers, crippled the economy, and ushered in widespread shortages of basic... See More



 Southern Africa, between South Africa and Zambia

Geographic Coordinates:

 20 00 S, 30 00 E


 Total: 390,757 sq km
Land: 386,847 sq km
Water: 3,910 sq km

Area - Comparative:

 Slightly larger than Montana

Land Boundaries:

 Total: 3,066 km
Border countries: Botswana 813 km, Mozambique 1,231 km, South Africa 225 km, Zambia 797 km


 0 km (landlocked) (Rank: 247)

Maritime Claims:

 None (landlocked)


 Tropical; moderated by altitude; rainy season (November to March)


 Mostly high plateau with higher central plateau (high veld); mountains in east

Elevation Extremes:

 Lowest point: junction of the Runde and Save Rivers 162 m
Highest point: Inyangani 2,592 m

Natural Resources:

 Coal, chromium ore, asbestos, gold, nickel, copper, iron ore, vanadium, lithium, tin, platinum group metals

Land Use:

 Arable land: 8.24%
Permanent crops: 0.33%
Other: 91.43% (2005)

Irrigated Land:

 1,740 sq km (2008)

Total Renewable Water Resources:

 20 cu km (1987)

Freshwater Withdrawal:

 Total: 4.21 cu km/yr (14%/7%/79%)
Per capita: 324 cu m/yr (2002)

Natural Hazards:

 Recurring droughts; floods and severe storms are rare

Environment - Current Issues:

 Deforestation; soil erosion; land degradation; air and water pollution; the black rhinoceros herd - once the largest concentration of the species in the world - has been significantly reduced by poaching; poor mining practices have led to toxic waste and heavy metal pollution

Environment - International Agreements:

 Party to: Biodiversity, Climate Change, Desertification, Endangered Species, Law of the Sea, Ozone Layer Protection

Signed, but not ratified: none of the selected agreements

Geography - Note:

 Landlocked; the Zambezi forms a natural riverine boundary with Zambia; in full flood (February-April) the massive Victoria Falls on the river forms the world's largest curtain of falling water

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 Noun: Zimbabwean(s)
Adjective: Zimbabwean

Ethnic Groups:

 African 98% (Shona 82%, Ndebele 14%, other 2%), mixed and Asian 1%, white less than 1%


 English (official), Shona, Sindebele (the language of the Ndebele, sometimes called Ndebele), numerous but minor tribal dialects


 Syncretic (part Christian, part indigenous beliefs) 50%, Christian 25%, indigenous beliefs 24%, Muslim and other 1%


 12,084,304 (July 2011 est.)

Note: estimates for this country explicitly take into account the effects of excess mortality due to AIDS; this can result in lower life expectancy, higher infant mortality, higher death rates, lower population growth rates, and changes in the distribution of population by age and sex than would otherwise be expected

Age Structure:

 0-14 years: 41.9% (male 2,555,916/female 2,504,947)
15-64 years: 54.3% (male 3,063,580/female 3,500,366)
65 years and over: 3.8% (male 193,380/female 266,115) (2011 est.)

Median Age:

 Total: 18.3 years
Male: 17.4 years
Female: 19.2 years (2011 est.)

Population Growth Rate:

 4.31% (2011 est.)

Birth Rate:

 31.86 births/1,000 population (2011 est.)

Death Rate:

 13.58 deaths/1,000 population (July 2011 est.)

Net Migration Rate:

 24.83 migrant(s)/1,000 population

Note: there is an increasing flow of Zimbabweans into South Africa and Botswana in search of better economic opportunities (2011 est.)


 Urban population: 38% of total population (2010)
Rate of urbanization: 3.4% annual rate of change (2010-15 est.)

Major Cities - Population:

 HARARE (capital) 1.606 million (2009)

Sex Ratio:

 At birth: 1.03 male(s)/female
Under 15 years: 1.02 male(s)/female
15-64 years: 0.83 male(s)/female
65 years and over: 0.75 male(s)/female
Total population: 0.91 male(s)/female (2011 est.)

Maternal Mortality Rate:

 790 deaths/100,000 live births (2008)

Infant Mortality Rate:

 Total: 29.5 deaths/1,000 live births
Male: 31.98 deaths/1,000 live births
Female: 26.94 deaths/1,000 live births (2011 est.)

Life Expectancy At Birth:

 Total population: 49.64 years
Male: 49.93 years
Female: 49.34 years (2011 est.)

Total Fertility Rate:

 3.63 children born/woman (2011 est.)

Physicians Density:

 0.16 physicians/1,000 population (2004)

Hospital Bed Density:

 3 beds/1,000 population (2006)

Drinking Water Source:

 Urban: 99% of population
Rural: 72% of population
Total: 82% of population
Urban: 1% of population
Rural: 28% of population
Total: 18% of population (2008)

Sanitation Facility Access:

 Urban: 56% of population
Rural: 37% of population
Total: 44% of population
Urban: 44% of population
Rural: 63% of population
Total: 56% of population (2008)

HIV/AIDS - Adult Prevalence Rate:

 14.3% (2009 est.)

HIV/AIDS - People Living With HIV/AIDS:

 1.2 million (2009 est.)

HIV/AIDS - Deaths:

 83,000 (2009 est.)

Major Infectious Diseases:

 Degree of risk: high
Food or waterborne diseases: bacterial and protozoal diarrhea, hepatitis A, and typhoid fever
Vectorborne disease: malaria
Water contact disease: schistosomiasis
Animal contact disease: rabies (2009)

Children Under 5 - Underweight:

 14% (2006)

Obesity - Adult Prevalence Rate:

 15.7% (2005)


 Definition: age 15 and over can read and write English
Total population: 90.7%
Male: 94.2%
Female: 87.2% (2003 est.)

Average Years of Schooling:

 Total: 9 years
Male: 10 years
Female: 9 years (2003)

Unemployment, Youth Ages 15-24:

 Total: 24.9%
Male: 28.2%
Female: 21.4% (2002)

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Country Name:

 Conventional long form: Republic of Zimbabwe
Conventional short form: Zimbabwe
Former: Southern Rhodesia, Rhodesia

Government Type:

 Parliamentary democracy


 Name: Harare
Geographic coordinates: 17 50 S, 31 03 E
Time difference: UTC+2 (7 hours ahead of Washington, DC during Standard Time)

Administrative Divisions:

 8 provinces and 2 cities* with provincial status; Bulawayo*, Harare*, Manicaland, Mashonaland Central, Mashonaland East, Mashonaland West, Masvingo, Matabeleland North, Matabeleland South, Midlands


 18 April 1980 (from the UK)

National Holiday:

 Independence Day, 18 April (1980)


 December 21, 1979

Legal System:

 Mixed legal system of English common law, Roman-Dutch civil law, and customary law

International Law Organization Participation:

 Has not submitted an ICJ jurisdiction declaration; non-party state to the ICCt


 18 years of age; universal

Executive Branch:

 Chief of state: Executive President Robert Gabriel MUGABE (since 31 December 1987); Vice President John NKOMO (since December 2009) and Vice President Joice MUJURU (since 6 December 2004)

Head of government: Prime Minister Morgan TSVANGIRAI (since 11 February 2009); Deputy Prime Minister Arthur MUTAMBARA

Cabinet: Cabinet appointed by the president and prime minister; responsible to the House of Assembly

Elections: presidential candidates nominated with a nomination paper signed by at least 10 registered voters (at least one from each province) and elected by popular vote for a five-year term (no term limits); elections last held on 28 March 2008 followed by a run-off on 27 June 2008 (next to be held in 2013); co-vice presidents drawn from party leadership

Election results: Robert Gabriel MUGABE reelected president; percent of vote - Robert Gabriel MUGABE 85.5%, Morgan TSVANGIRAI 9.3%, other 5.2%; note - first round voting results - Morgan TSVANGIRAI 47.9%, Robert Gabriel MUGABE 43.2%, Simba MAKONI 8.3%, other 0.6%; first-round round polls were deemed to be flawed suppressing TSVANGIRAI's results; the 27 June 2008 run-off between MUGABE and TSVANGIRAI was severely flawed and internationally condemned

Legislative Branch:

 Bicameral Parliament consists of a Senate (93 seats - 60 members elected by popular vote for a five-year term, 10 provincial governors nominated by the president and the prime minister, 16 traditional chiefs elected by the Council of Chiefs, 2 seats held by the president and deputy president of the Council of Chiefs, and 5 members appointed by the president) and a House of Assembly (210 seats - members elected by popular vote for five-year terms)

Elections: last held on 28 March 2008 (next to be held in 2013)

Election results: Senate - percent of vote by party - MDC 51.6%, ZANU-PF 45.8%, other 2.6%; seats by party - MDC 30, ZANU-PF 30; House of Assembly - percent of vote by party - MDC 51.3%, ZANU-PF 45.8%, other 2.9%; seats by party - MDC 109, ZANU-PF 97, other 4

Judicial Branch:

 Supreme Court; High Court

Political Parties and Leaders:

 African National Party or ANP [Egypt DZINEMUNHENZVA]; Movement for Democratic Change or MDC [Morgan TSVANGIRAI]; Movement for Democratic Change - Mutambara or MDC-M [Arthur MUTAMBARA] (splinter faction of the MDC); Peace Action is Freedom for All or PAFA; United Parties [Abel MUZOREWA]; United People's Party or UPP [Daniel SHUMBA]; Zimbabwe African National Union-Ndonga or ZANU-Ndonga [Wilson KUMBULA]; Zimbabwe African National Union-Patriotic Front or ZANU-PF [Robert Gabriel MUGABE]; Zimbabwe African Peoples Union or ZAPU [Agrippa MADLELA]; Zimbabwe Youth in Alliance or ZIYA

Political Pressure Groups and Leaders:

 Crisis in Zimbabwe Coalition; National Constitutional Assembly or NCA [Lovemore MADHUKU]; Women of Zimbabwe Arise or WOZA [Jenny WILLIAMS]; Zimbabwe Congress of Trade Unions or ZCTU [Wellington CHIBEBE]

International Organization Participation:


Diplomatic Representation in the US:

 Chief of mission: Ambassador Machivenyika MAPURANGA
Chancery: 1608 New Hampshire Avenue NW, Washington, DC 20009
Telephone: [1] (202) 332-7100
FAX: [1] (202) 483-9326

Diplomatic Representation From the US:

 Chief of mission: Ambassador Charles A. RAY
Embassy: 172 Herbert Chitepo Avenue, Harare
Mailing address: P. O. Box 3340, Harare
Telephone: [263] (4) 250-593 through 250-594
FAX: [263] (4) 796-488, or 722-618

Flag Description:

 Seven equal horizontal bands of green, yellow, red, black, red, yellow, and green with a white isosceles triangle edged in black with its base on the hoist side; a yellow Zimbabwe bird representing the long history of the country is superimposed on a red five-pointed star in the center of the triangle, which symbolizes peace; green represents agriculture, yellow mineral wealth, red the blood shed to achieve independence, and black stands for the native people

National Symbols:

 Zimbabwe bird symbol; African fish eagle

National Anthem:

 Name: "Kalibusiswe Ilizwe leZimbabwe" [Northern Ndebele language] "Simudzai Mureza WeZimbabwe" [Shona] (Blessed Be the Land of Zimbabwe)
Lyrics/music: Solomon MUTSWAIRO/Fred Lecture CHANGUNDEGA

Note: adopted 1994

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Economy - Overview:

 Zimbabwe's economy is growing at a brisk pace despite continuing political uncertainty. Following a decade of contraction, Zimbabwe's economy recorded real growth of 5.9% in 2010. But the government of Zimbabwe still faces a number of difficult economic problems, including a large external debt burden and insufficient formal employment. Zimbabwe's 1998-2002 involvement in the war in the Democratic Republic of the Congo drained hundreds of millions of dollars from the economy. The government's land reform program, characterized by chaos and violence, has badly damaged the commercial farming sector, the traditional source of exports and foreign exchange and the provider of 400,000 jobs, turning Zimbabwe into a net importer of food products. The EU and the US provide food aid on humanitarian grounds, though on a smaller scale than before. Until early 2009, the Reserve Bank of Zimbabwe routinely printed money to fund the budget deficit, causing hyperinflation. The power-sharing government formed in February 2009 has led to some economic improvements, including the cessation of hyperinflation by eliminating the use of the Zimbabwe dollar and removing price controls. The economy is registering its first growth in a decade, but will be reliant on further political improvement for greater growth.

GDP (Purchasing Power Parity):

 $5.457 billion (2010 est.)
$5.006 billion (2009 est.)
$4.723 billion (2008 est.)

Note: data are in 2010 US dollars

GDP (Official Exchange Rate):

 $7.474 billion

Note: in 2009, the Zimbabwean dollar was taken out of circulation, making Zimbabwe's GDP at the official exchange rate a highly inaccurate statistic (2010 est.)

GDP - Real Growth Rate:

 9% (2010 est.)
6% (2009 est.)
-17.7% (2008 est.)

GDP - Per Capita (PPP):

 $500 (2010 est.)
$400 (2009 est.)
$400 (2008 est.)

Note: data are in 2010 US dollars

GDP - Composition By Sector:

 Agriculture: 19.8%
Industry: 24.4%
Services: 55.7% (2010 est.)

Labor Force:

 3.848 million (2010 est.)

Labor Force - By Occupation:

 Agriculture: 66%
Industry: 10%
Services: 24% (1996)

Unemployment Rate:

 95% (2009 est.)
80% (2005 est.)

Note: figures reflect underemployment; true unemployment is unknown and, under current economic conditions, unknowable

Population Below Poverty Line:

 68% (2004)

Household Income / Consumption By Share:

 Lowest 10%: 2%
Highest 10%: 40.4% (1995)

Distribution of Family Income - Gini Index:

 50.1 (2006)
50.1 (1995)

Refugees and Internally Displaced Persons:

 Refugees (country of origin): 2,500 (Democratic Republic of Congo)
IDPs: 569,685 (MUGABE-led political violence, human rights violations, land reform, and economic collapse) (2007)

Investment (Gross Fixed):

 22.3% of GDP (2010 est.)


 Revenues: $NA
Expenditures: $NA (2010 est.)

Taxes and Other Revenues:

 NA% of GDP (2010 est.)

Budget Surplus / Deficit:

 NA% of GDP (2010 est.)

Public Debt:

 233.2% of GDP (2010 est.)
277% of GDP (2009 est.)

Inflation Rate (Consumer Prices):

 3.7% (2010 est.)
5.1% (2009 est.)

Central Bank Discount Rate:

 7.17% (31 December 2010 est.)
975% (31 December 2007)

Commercial Bank Prime Lending Rate:

 41% (January 2011 est.)
352% (31 December 2009 est.)

Stock of Money:

 $NA (31 December 2008)
$14.18 trillion (31 December 2007)

Note: this number reflects the vastly overvalued official exchange rate of 30,000 Zimbabwe dollars per US dollar; at an unofficial rate of 800,000 Zimbabwe dollars per US dollar, the stock of Zimbabwe dollars would equal only about US$500 million and Zimbabwe's velocity of money (the number of times money turns over in the course of a year) would be nine, in line with the velocity of money for other countries in the region

Stock of Quasi Money:

 $NA (31 December 2008)
$4.11 trillion (31 December 2007)

Stock of Narrow Money:

 $NA (31 December 2010 est.)
$2.151 million (31 December 2008 est.)

Note: Zimbabwe's central bank no longer publishes data on monetary aggregates, except for bank deposits, which amounted to $2.1 billion in November 2010; the Zimbabwe dollar stopped circulating in early 2009; since then, the US dollar and South African rand have been the most frequently used currencies; there are no reliable estimates of the amount of foreign currency circulating in Zimbabwe

Stock of Broad Money:

 $3.057 million (31 December 2008 est.)
$NA (31 December 2010 est.)

Stock of Domestic Credit:


Market Value of Publicly Traded Shares:

 $11.48 billion (31 December 2010)
$5.333 billion (31 December 2007)
$26.56 billion (31 December 2006)

Agriculture - Products:

 Corn, cotton, tobacco, wheat, coffee, sugarcane, peanuts; sheep, goats, pigs


 Mining (coal, gold, platinum, copper, nickel, tin, diamonds, clay, numerous metallic and nonmetallic ores), steel; wood products, cement, chemicals, fertilizer, clothing and footwear, foodstuffs, beverages

Industrial Production Growth Rate:

 6% (2010 est.)

Electricity - Production:

 7.723 billion kWh (2008 est.)

Electricity - Production By Source:

 Fossil fuel: 47%
Hydro: 53%
Nuclear: 0%
Other: 0% (2001)

Electricity - Consumption:

 12.47 billion kWh (2008 est.)

Electricity - Exports:

 54 million kWh (2008 est.)

Electricity - Imports:

 5.268 billion kWh (2008 est.)

Oil - Production:

 0 bbl/day (2010 est.)

Oil - Consumption:

 11,000 bbl/day (2010 est.)

Oil - Exports:

 0 bbl/day (2009 est.)

Oil - Imports:

 13,140 bbl/day (2009 est.)

Oil - Proven Reserves:

 0 bbl (1 January 2011 est.)

Natural Gas - Production:

 0 cu m (2009 est.)

Natural Gas - Consumption:

 0 cu m (2009 est.)

Natural Gas - Exports:

 0 cu m (2009 est.)

Natural Gas - Imports:

 0 cu m (2009 est.)

Natural Gas - Proven Reserves:

 0 cu m (1 January 2011 est.)

Current Account Balance:

 -$767.3 million (2010 est.)
-$1.137 billion (2009 est.)


 $2.317 billion (2010 est.)
$1.61 billion (2009 est.)

Exports - Commodities:

 Platinum, cotton, tobacco, gold, ferroalloys, textiles/clothing

Exports - Partners:

 Democratic Republic of the Congo 14.8%, South Africa 13.4%, Botswana 13.2%, China 12.7%, Netherlands 5.9%, Italy 4.6% (2010)


 $3.673 billion (2010 est.)
$3.139 billion (2009 est.)

Imports - Commodities:

 Machinery and transport equipment, other manufactures, chemicals, fuels, food products

Imports - Partners:

 South Africa 58%, China 8.7% (2010)

Reserves of Foreign Exchange and Gold:

 $376 million (31 December 2010 est.)
$351 million (31 December 2009 est.)

Debt - External:

 $5.204 billion (31 December 2010 est.)
$5.015 billion (31 December 2009 est.)

Exchange Rates:

 Convert Zimbabwe Dollar to Any Currency

Zimbabwean dollars (ZWD) per US dollar -
234.25 (2010)
234 (2009)
30,000 (2007)
162 (2006)
78 (2005)

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Telephones - Main Lines In Use:

 379,000 (2010)

Telephones - Cellular:

 7.5 million (2010)

Telephone System:

 General assessment: system was once one of the best in Africa, but now suffers from poor maintenance

Domestic: consists of microwave radio relay links, open-wire lines, radiotelephone communication stations, fixed wireless local loop installations, and a substantial mobile-cellular network; Internet connection is available in Harare and planned for all major towns and for some of the smaller ones

International: country code - 263; satellite earth stations - 2 Intelsat; 2 international digital gateway exchanges (in Harare and Gweru)

Broadcast Media:

 Government owns all local radio and television stations; foreign shortwave broadcasts and satellite television are available to those who can afford antennas and receivers; in rural areas, access to television broadcasts is extremely limited (2007)

Radio Broadcast Stations:

 AM 7, FM 20 (plus 17 repeater stations), shortwave 1 (1998)

Television Broadcast Stations:

 16 (1997)

Internet Country Code:


Internet Hosts:

 29,866 (2010)

Internet Users:

 1.423 million (2009)

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 216 (2010)

Airports - With Paved Runways:

 Total: 19
Over 3,047 m: 3
2,438 to 3,047 m: 2
1,524 to 2,437 m: 5
914 to 1,523 m: 9 (2010)

Airports - With Unpaved Runways:

 Total: 197
1,524 to 2,437 m: 3
914 to 1,523 m: 120
Under 914 m: 74 (2010)


 Refined products 270 km (2010)


 Total: 3,427 km
Narrow gauge: 3,427 km 1.067-m gauge (313 km electrified) (2010)


 Total: 97,267 km
Paved: 18,481 km
Unpaved: 78,786 km (2002)


 (some navigation possible on Lake Kariba) (2009)

Ports and Terminals:

 Binga, Kariba

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Military Branches:

 Zimbabwe Defense Forces (ZDF): Zimbabwe National Army (ZNA), Air Force of Zimbabwe (AFZ), Zimbabwe Republic Police (ZRP) (2009)

Military Service Age and Obligation:

 18-24 years of age for compulsory military service; women are eligible to serve (2010)

Manpower Available For Military Service:

 Males age 16-49: 2,616,051
Females age 16-49: 2,868,376 (2010 est.)

Manpower Fit For Military Service:

 Males age 16-49: 1,528,166
Females age 16-49: 1,646,041 (2010 est.)

Manpower Reaching Militarily Significant Age Annually:

 Male: 154,870
Female: 152,550 (2010 est.)

Military Expenditures:

 3.8% of GDP (2006)

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Disputes - International:

 Botswana built electric fences and South Africa has placed military along the border to stem the flow of thousands of Zimbabweans fleeing to find work and escape political persecution; Namibia has supported, and in 2004 Zimbabwe dropped objections to, plans between Botswana and Zambia to build a bridge over the Zambezi River, thereby de facto recognizing a short, but not clearly delimited, Botswana-Zambia boundary in the river

Illicit Drugs:

 Transit point for cannabis and South Asian heroin, mandrax, and methamphetamines en route to South Africa

Trafficking in Persons:

 Current situation: Zimbabwe is a source, transit, and destination country for men, women, and children trafficked for the purposes of forced labor and sexual exploitation; some victims of forced prostitution are subsequently transported across the border to South Africa where they suffer continued exploitation; Zimbabwean men, women, and children are subjected to forced labor in agriculture and domestic service in rural areas, as well as domestic servitude and sex trafficking in cities and towns; children are also utilized in the commission of illegal activities, including gambling and drug smuggling

Tier rating: Tier 3 - the Government of Zimbabwe does not fully comply with the minimum standards for the elimination of trafficking and is not making significant efforts to do so; the government did not report investigations, prosecutions, or convictions of trafficking cases and continued to rely on an international organization to provide law enforcement training, coordinate victim care and repatriation, and lead prevention efforts (2011)

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Last Updated: December 2011

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