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Flag of Zimbabwe
Map of Zimbabwe
Introduction Zimbabwe
Background:
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 commodities. Ignoring international condemnation, MUGABE rigged the 2002 presidential election to ensure his reelection. Opposition and labor strikes in 2003 were unsuccessful in pressuring MUGABE to retire early; security forces continued their brutal repression of regime opponents. The ruling ZANU-PF party used fraud and intimidation to win a two-thirds majority in the March 2005 parliamentary election, allowing it to amend the constitution at will and recreate the Senate, which had been abolished in the late 1980s. In April 2005, Harare embarked on Operation Restore Order, ostensibly an urban rationalization program, which resulted in the destruction of the homes or businesses of 700,000 mostly poor supporters of the opposition, according to UN estimates.
Geography Zimbabwe
Location:
Southern Africa, between South Africa and Zambia
Geographic coordinates:
20 00 S, 30 00 E
Map references:
Africa
Area:
total: 390,580 sq km
land: 386,670 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
Coastline:
0 km (landlocked)
Maritime claims:
none (landlocked)
Climate:
tropical; moderated by altitude; rainy season (November to March)
Terrain:
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 (2003)
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
People Zimbabwe
Population:
12,236,805
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 and death rates, lower population and growth rates, and changes in the distribution of population by age and sex than would otherwise be expected (July 2006 est.)
Age structure:
0-14 years: 37.4% (male 2,307,170/female 2,265,298)
15-64 years: 59.1% (male 3,616,528/female 3,621,190)
65 years and over: 3.5% (male 199,468/female 227,151) (2006 est.)
Median age:
total: 19.9 years
male: 19.7 years
female: 20 years (2006 est.)
Population growth rate:
0.62% (2006 est.)
Birth rate:
28.01 births/1,000 population (2006 est.)
Death rate:
21.84 deaths/1,000 population (2006 est.)
Net migration rate:
0 migrant(s)/1,000 population
note: there is an increasing flow of Zimbabweans into South Africa and Botswana in search of better economic opportunities (2006 est.)
Sex ratio:
at birth: 1.03 male(s)/female
under 15 years: 1.02 male(s)/female
15-64 years: 1 male(s)/female
65 years and over: 0.88 male(s)/female
total population: 1 male(s)/female (2006 est.)
Infant mortality rate:
total: 51.71 deaths/1,000 live births
male: 54.5 deaths/1,000 live births
female: 48.83 deaths/1,000 live births (2006 est.)
Life expectancy at birth:
total population: 39.29 years
male: 40.39 years
female: 38.16 years (2006 est.)
Total fertility rate:
3.13 children born/woman (2006 est.)
HIV/AIDS - adult prevalence rate:
24.6% (2001 est.)
HIV/AIDS - people living with HIV/AIDS:
1.8 million (2001 est.)
HIV/AIDS - deaths:
170,000 (2003 est.)
Major infectious diseases:
degree of risk: high
food or waterborne diseases: bacterial diarrhea, hepatitis A, and typhoid
vectorborne disease: malaria
water contact disease: schistosomiasis (2005)
Nationality:
noun: Zimbabwean(s)
adjective: Zimbabwean
Ethnic groups:
African 98% (Shona 82%, Ndebele 14%, other 2%), mixed and Asian 1%, white less than 1%
Religions:
syncretic (part Christian, part indigenous beliefs) 50%, Christian 25%, indigenous beliefs 24%, Muslim and other 1%
Languages:
English (official), Shona, Sindebele (the language of the Ndebele, sometimes called Ndebele), numerous but minor tribal dialects
Literacy:
definition: age 15 and over can read and write English
total population: 90.7%
male: 94.2%
female: 87.2% (2003 est.)
Government Zimbabwe
Country name:
conventional long form: Republic of Zimbabwe
conventional short form: Zimbabwe
local long form: Republic of Zimbabwe
local short form: Zimbabwe
former: Southern Rhodesia, Rhodesia
Government type:
parliamentary democracy
Capital:
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
Independence:
18 April 1980 (from UK)
National holiday:
Independence Day, 18 April (1980)
Constitution:
21 December 1979
Legal system:
mixture of Roman-Dutch and English common law
Suffrage:
18 years of age; universal
Executive branch:
chief of state: Executive President Robert Gabriel MUGABE (since 31 December 1987); Vice President Joseph MSIKA (since December 1999) and Vice President Joyce MUJURU (since 6 December 2004); note - the president is both the chief of state and head of government
head of government: Executive President Robert Gabriel MUGABE (since 31 December 1987); Vice President Joseph MSIKA (since December 1999) and Vice President Joyce MUJURU (since 6 December 2004); note - the president is both the chief of state and head of government
cabinet: Cabinet appointed by the president; 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 six-year term (no term limits); election last held 9-11 March 2002 (next to be held March 2008); co-vice presidents appointed by the president
election results: Robert Gabriel MUGABE reelected president; percent of vote - Robert Gabriel MUGABE 56.2%, Morgan TSVANGIRAI 41.9%
Legislative branch:
bicameral Parliament consists of a House of Assembly (150 seats - 120 elected by popular vote for five-year terms, 12 nominated by the president, 10 occupied by traditional chiefs chosen by their peers, and eight occupied by provincial governors appointed by the president) and a Senate (66 seats - 50 elected by popular vote for a five-year term, six nominated by the president, 10 nominated by the Council of Chiefs)
elections: House of Assembly last held 31 March 2005 (next to be held in 2010), Senate last held 26 November 2005 (next to be held in 2010)
election results: House of Assembly - percent of vote by party - ZANU-PF 59.6%, MDC 39.5%, other 0.9%; seats by party - ZANU-PF 78, MDC 41, Independents 1; Senate - percent of vote by party - NA; seats by party - ZANU-PF 43, MDC 7
Judicial branch:
Supreme Court; High Court
Political parties and leaders:
Movement for Democratic Change or MDC [Morgan TSVANGIRAI]; United Parties [Abel MUZOREWA]; United People's Party [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]
Political pressure groups and leaders:
Crisis in Zimbabwe Coalition [Wellington CHIBEBE]; National Constitutional Assembly or NCA [Lovemore MADHUKU]; Zimbabwe Congress of Trade Unions or ZCTU [Lovemore MATOMBO]
International organization participation:
ACP, AfDB, AU, COMESA, FAO, G-15, G-77, IAEA, IBRD, ICAO, ICCt (signatory), ICFTU, ICRM, IDA, IFAD, IFC, IFRCS, ILO, IMF, IMO, Interpol, IOC, IOM, IPU, ISO, ITU, MIGA, NAM, OPCW, PCA, SADC, UN, UNCTAD, UNESCO, UNIDO, UNMIS, UPU, WCL, WCO, WFTU, WHO, WIPO, WMO, WToO, WTO
Diplomatic representation in the US:
chief of mission: Ambassador Dr. Machivenyika T. 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 Christopher W. DELL
embassy: 172 Herbert Chitepo Avenue, Harare
mailing address: P. O. Box 3340, Harare
telephone: [263] (4) 250-593 and 250-594
FAX: [263] (4) 796488
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 symbolizes agriculture, yellow - mineral wealth, red - blood shed to achieve independence, and black stands for the native people
Economy Zimbabwe
Economy - overview:
The government of Zimbabwe faces a wide variety of difficult economic problems as it struggles with an unsustainable fiscal deficit, an overvalued exchange rate, soaring inflation, and bare shelves. Its 1998-2002 involvement in the war in the Democratic Republic of the Congo, for example, drained hundreds of millions of dollars from the economy. Badly needed support from the IMF has been suspended because of the government's arrears on past loans, which it began repaying in 2005. The official annual inflation rate rose from 32% in 1998, to 133% at the end of 2004, and 585% at the end of 2005, although private sector estimates put the figure much higher. Meanwhile, the official exchange rate fell from 24 Zimbabwean dollars per US dollar in 1998 to 96,000 in mid-January 2006. 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.
GDP (purchasing power parity):
$28.37 billion (2005 est.)
GDP (official exchange rate):
$3.207 billion (2005 est.)
GDP - real growth rate:
-7% (2005 est.)
GDP - per capita (PPP):
$2,300 (2005 est.)
GDP - composition by sector:
agriculture: 17.9%
industry: 24.3%
services: 57.9% (2005 est.)
Labor force:
3.94 million (2005 est.)
Labor force - by occupation:
agriculture: 66%
industry: 10%
services: 24% (1996)
Unemployment rate:
80% (2005 est.)
Population below poverty line:
80% (2004 est.)
Household income or consumption by percentage share:
lowest 10%: 1.97%
highest 10%: 40.42% (1995)
Distribution of family income - Gini index:
56.8 (2003)
Inflation rate (consumer prices):
266.8% official data; private sector estimates are much higher (2005 est.)
Investment (gross fixed):
7.9% of GDP (2005 est.)
Budget:
revenues: $1.409 billion
expenditures: $1.905 billion; including capital expenditures of $NA (2005 est.)
Public debt:
109.8% of GDP (2005 est.)
Agriculture - products:
corn, cotton, tobacco, wheat, coffee, sugarcane, peanuts; sheep, goats, pigs
Industries:
mining (coal, gold, platinum, copper, nickel, tin, clay, numerous metallic and nonmetallic ores), steel; wood products, cement, chemicals, fertilizer, clothing and footwear, foodstuffs, beverages
Industrial production growth rate:
3.6% (2005 est.)
Electricity - production:
8.877 billion kWh (2003)
Electricity - production by source:
fossil fuel: 47%
hydro: 53%
nuclear: 0%
other: 0% (2001)
Electricity - consumption:
11.22 billion kWh (2003)
Electricity - exports:
0 kWh (2003)
Electricity - imports:
3.3 billion kWh (2003)
Oil - production:
0 bbl/day (2003 est.)
Oil - consumption:
22,500 bbl/day (2003 est.)
Oil - exports:
0 bbl/day
Oil - imports:
23,000 bbl/day
Natural gas - production:
0 cu m (2003 est.)
Natural gas - consumption:
0 cu m (2003 est.)
Current account balance:
-$519 million (2005 est.)
Exports:
$1.644 billion f.o.b. (2005 est.)
Exports - commodities:
cotton, tobacco, gold, ferroalloys, textiles/clothing
Exports - partners:
South Africa 33.3%, China 7.5%, Japan 6.4%, Netherlands 4.9%, US 4.7%, Italy 4.3%, Zambia 4.2%, Germany 4.1% (2005)
Imports:
$2.059 billion f.o.b. (2005 est.)
Imports - commodities:
machinery and transport equipment, other manufactures, chemicals, fuels
Imports - partners:
South Africa 43%, China 4.6%, Botswana 3.3% (2005)
Reserves of foreign exchange and gold:
$160 million (2005 est.)
Debt - external:
$5.216 billion (2005 est.)
Economic aid - recipient:
$178 million; note - the EU and the US provide food aid on humanitarian grounds (2000 est.)
Currency (code):
Zimbabwean dollar (ZWD)
Currency code:
ZWD
Exchange rates:
Zimbabwean dollars per US dollar - 4,303.28 (2005), 5,068.66 (2004), 697.424 (2003), 55.036 (2002), 55.052 (2001)
note: these are official exchange rates; non-official rates vary significantly
Fiscal year:
calendar year
Communications Zimbabwe
Telephones - main lines in use:
328,000 (2005)
Telephones - mobile cellular:
423,600 (2004)
Telephone system:
general assessment: system was once one of the best in Africa, but now suffers from poor maintenance; more than 100,000 outstanding requests for connection despite an equally large number of installed but unused main lines
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; two international digital gateway exchanges (in Harare and Gweru)
Radio broadcast stations:
AM 7, FM 20 (plus 17 repeater stations), shortwave 1 (1998)
Radios:
1.14 million (1997)
Television broadcast stations:
16 (1997)
Televisions:
370,000 (1997)
Internet country code:
.zw
Internet hosts:
6,582 (2005)
Internet Service Providers (ISPs):
6 (2000)
Internet users:
820,000 (2005)
Transportation Zimbabwe
Airports:
403 (2006)
Airports - with paved runways:
total: 17
over 3,047 m: 3
2,438 to 3,047 m: 2
1,524 to 2,437 m: 4
914 to 1,523 m: 8 (2006)
Airports - with unpaved runways:
total: 386
1,524 to 2,437 m: 5
914 to 1,523 m: 187
under 914 m: 194 (2006)
Pipelines:
refined products 261 km (2004)
Railways:
total: 3,077 km
narrow gauge: 3,077 km 1.067-m gauge (313 km electrified) (2005)
Roadways:
total: 97,440 km
paved: 18,514 km
unpaved: 78,926 km (2002)
Waterways:
on Lake Kariba, length small (2005)
Ports and terminals:
Binga, Kariba
Military Zimbabwe
Military branches:
Zimbabwe Defense Forces (ZDF): Zimbabwe National Army, Air Force of Zimbabwe (AFZ), Zimbabwe Republic Police (2005)
Military service age and obligation:
18 years of age (est.) (2004)
Manpower available for military service:
males age 18-49: 2,778,404
females age 18-49: 2,681,531 (2005 est.)
Manpower fit for military service:
males age 18-49: 1,304,424
females age 18-49: 1,115,096 (2005 est.)
Military expenditures - dollar figure:
$124.7 million (2005 est.)
Military expenditures - percent of GDP:
4% (2005 est.)
Transnational Issues Zimbabwe
Disputes - international:
Botswana has 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
Refugees and internally displaced persons:
IDPs: 400,000-450,000 (MUGABE-led political violence, human rights violations, land reform, and economic collapse) (2005)
Illicit drugs:
transit point for African cannabis and South Asian heroin, mandrax, and methamphetamines destined for the South African and European markets

This page was last updated on 19 September, 2006