• 92.5%

    Adult literacy rate

  • 52.7%

    Life expectancy at birth

  • 72.3%

    Population living below Total Consumption Poverty Line

About Zimbabwe

Introduction

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Mining minerals in Mazowe, 40km north of Harare. The mining sector provides a golden opportunity to improve the country's economy. Photo - UNDP/Carlos Vieira

The Republic of Zimbabwe, formerly Rhodesia, is a landlocked country located in southern Africa, between the Zambezi and Limpopo rivers. It is bordered by South Africa to the south, Botswana to the southwest, Zambia to the northwest and Mozambique to the east. The capital is Harare.

President Robert Mugabe is the head of state and commander –in-chief of the armed forces.

The name Zimbabwe is derived from the Shona, dzimbadzemabwe, meaning houses of stone or stone buildings, today symbolized by the Great Zimbabwe Ruins near the present day town of Masvingo. Zimbabwe has a rich history, not only of achievement, innovation, co-operation and economic prosperity, but also of conflict, trials and tribulations that reflects the dynamism of its peoples.

History


 

At independence In 1980, Zimbabwe inherited a dual economy characterised by a relatively well-developed modern sector and a largely poor informal urban and rural sector that employed about 80% of the labour force. Since 1980, the manufacturing sector has been the major driver of the economy contributing about 20% of GDP on average. However, by 2006, manufacturing had declined to a contribution of about 15% to GDP while agriculture assumed the highest contribution of 17% to GDP (Zimbabwe Medium Term-Plan 2011-2015).

During the decade from 1998 to 2008, the economy was faced with a number of complex challenges including severe macroeconomic instability and the unstable macroeconomic environment characterized by hyper inflation, with the official  annual inflation reaching 231 million% and monthly inflation at 1800% in July 2008. Furthermore, real Gross Domestic Product (GDP) cumulatively declined by over 50% during the period 2000-2008.

However the launch of the 2011-2015 Medium Term Plan heralded an economic paradigm premised on the idea shared growth and economic development.

Economic Overview


The country’s east is mountainous with Mount Nyangani as th highest point at 2,592m. About 20% consists of the low veld under 900m. Victoria Falls, one of the world’s biggest and most spectacular waterfalls, is located in the country's northwest as part of the Zambezi river. The country has a tropical climate with a rainy season usually from late October to March. The climate is moderated by the altitude.

Mineral exports, gold, agriculture, and tourism are the main foreign currency earners of Zimbabwe. The mining sector remains very lucrative, with some of the world's largest platinum reserves being mined by Anglo American plc and Impala Platinum. The Marange diamond fields, discovered in 2006, are considered the biggest diamond find in over a century.In terms of carats produced, the Marange field is the largest diamond producing project in the world, estimated to produce 16.9 million carats in 2013 worth over $1 billion.

Zimbabwe is the biggest trading partner of South Africa on the continent.

The ICT sector of Zimbabwe has been growing at a fast pace. A report by the world's leading mobile internet browser, Opera for June/July 2011 has ranked Zimbabwe as Africa's fastest growing market.

Country flag
Country map
Statistics
Capital
Harare
Population
12 973 808
Area (in sq. km)
390 757
Language(s)
English, Shona, Ndebele
Per capita income
$424
Human Development Index
172

Sources: 2012 Zimbabwe CensusUNDP HDR 2013