Zimbabwe [Country Flag of Zimbabwe]
Transnational Issues
[Country map of Zimbabwe]



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Location: Southern Africa, northeast of Botswana

Geographic coordinates: 20 00 S, 30 00 E

Map references: Africa

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 Lundi and Savi 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: 7%
permanent crops: 0%
permanent pastures: 13%
forests and woodland: 23%
other: 57% (1993 est.)

Irrigated land: 1,930 sq km (1993 est.)

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

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


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Population: 11,044,147 (July 1998 est.)

Age structure:
0-14 years: 44% (male 2,439,907; female 2,397,761)
15-64 years: 54% (male 2,914,336; female 3,000,442)
65 years and over: 2% (male 133,232; female 158,469) (July 1998 est.)

Population growth rate: 1.12% (1998 est.)

Birth rate: 31.32 births/1,000 population (1998 est.)

Death rate: 20.09 deaths/1,000 population (1998 est.)

Net migration rate: NA migrant(s)/1,000 population
note: there is a small but steady flow of Zimbabweans into South Africa in search of better paid employment

Sex ratio:
at birth: 1.03 male(s)/female
under 15 years: 1.01 male(s)/female
15-64 years: 0.97 male(s)/female
65 years and over: 0.84 male(s)/female (1998 est.)

Infant mortality rate: 61.75 deaths/1,000 live births (1998 est.)

Life expectancy at birth:
total population: 39.16 years
male: 39.12 years
female: 39.19 years (1998 est.)

Total fertility rate: 3.86 children born/woman (1998 est.)

noun: Zimbabwean(s)
adjective: Zimbabwean

Ethnic groups: African 98% (Shona 71%, Ndebele 16%, other 11%), white 1%, mixed and Asian 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

definition: age 15 and over can read and write in English
total population: 85%
male: 90%
female: 80% (1995 est.)


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Country name:
conventional long form: Republic of Zimbabwe
conventional short form: Zimbabwe
former: Southern Rhodesia

Data code: ZI

Government type: parliamentary democracy

National capital: Harare

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); Co-Vice Presidents Simon Vengai MUZENDA (since 31 December 1987) and Joshua M. NKOMO (since 6 August 1990); 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); Co-Vice Presidents Simon Vengai MUZENDA (since 31 December 1987) and Joshua M. NKOMO (since 6 August 1990); 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: president nominated by the House of Assembly for a six-year term (if more than one nomination, an electoral college consisting of members of the House of Assembly elects the president); election last held 26-27 March 1996 (next to be held NA March 2002); co-vice presidents appointed by the president
election results: Robert Gabriel MUGABE elected president; percent of electoral college vote—Robert Gabriel MUGABE 92.7%, Abel MUZOREWA 4.8%; Ndabaningi SITHOLE 2.4%

Legislative branch: unicameral parliament, called House of Assembly (150 seats, 120 of which are directly elected by popular vote for six-year terms; of the other 30 seats, 12 are nominated by the president, 10 are occupied by traditional chiefs chosen by their peers, and 8 by provincial governors)
elections: last held 8-9 April 1995 (next to be held NA April 2001)
election results: percent of vote by party—NA; seats by party—ZANU-PF 117, ZANU-Ndonga 2, independent 1

Judicial branch: Supreme Court

Political parties and leaders: Zimbabwe African National Union-Patriotic Front or ZANU-PF [Robert MUGABE]; Zimbabwe African National Union-NDONGA or ZANU-NDONGA [Ndabaningi SITHOLE]; Zimbabwe Unity Movement or ZUM [Edgar TEKERE]; Democratic Party or DP [Emmanuel MAGOCHE]; Forum Party of Zimbabwe [Enock DUMBUTSHENA]; United Parties [Abel MUZOREWA]

International organization participation: ACP, AfDB, C, CCC, ECA, FAO, G-15, G-77, IAEA, IBRD, ICAO, ICFTU, ICRM, IDA, IFAD, IFC, IFRCS, ILO, IMF, Intelsat, Interpol, IOC, IOM (observer), ISO, ITU, MONUA, NAM, OAU, PCA, SADC, UN, UNCTAD, UNESCO, UNIDO, UPU, WCL, WFTU, WHO, WIPO, WMO, WToO, WTrO

Diplomatic representation in the US:
chief of mission: Ambassador Amos Bernard Muvengwa MIDZI
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 Tom McDONALD
embassy: 172 Herbert Chitepo Avenue, Harare
mailing address: P. O. Box 3340, Harare
telephone: [263] (4) 794521
FAX: [263] (4) 796488

Flag description: seven equal horizontal bands of green, yellow, red, black, red, yellow, and green with a white equilateral triangle edged in black based on the hoist side; a yellow Zimbabwe bird is superimposed on a red five-pointed star in the center of the triangle


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Economy—overview: Agriculture employs 27% of the labor force of this landlocked nation and supplies almost 25% of exports. Mining accounts for only 5% of both GDP and employment, but minerals and metals account for about 20% of exports. The government is working to consolidate earlier progress in developing a market-oriented economy. Although the IMF suspended support for Zimbabwe's economic structural adjustment program (ESAP) in 1995, due to government failure to meet key targets, recent talks between the government and the Fund have held hope for renewed support if Zimbabwe remains committed to budgetary targets. A key element of the budget is the Zimbabwe Program for Socio-Economic Transformation (ZIMPREST), the second phase of ESAP, whose goals include increased commercialization and privatization of government-owned enterprises and more "outward-looking" trade and investment policies. The World Bank resumed balance of payments support to Zimbabwe in early 1998. Government officials face the difficult task of restraining expenditures in their effort to keep inflation within bounds.

GDP: purchasing power parity—$24.9 billion (1996 est.)

GDP—real growth rate: 8.1% (1996 est.)

GDP—per capita: purchasing power parity—$2,200 (1996 est.)

GDP—composition by sector:
agriculture: 18.3%
industry: 35.3%
services: 46.4% (1993 est.)

Inflation rate—consumer price index: 21.4% (1996)

Labor force:
total: 4.228 million (1993 est.)
by occupation: agriculture 27%, transport and services 46%, industry 27%

Unemployment rate: at least 45% (1994 est.)

revenues: $2.5 billion
expenditures: $2.9 billion, including capital expenditures of $279 million (FY96/97 est.)

Industries: mining (coal, clay, numerous metallic and nonmetallic ores), copper, steel, nickel, tin, wood products, cement, chemicals, fertilizer, clothing and footwear, foodstuffs, beverages

Industrial production growth rate: 10% (1994)

Electricity—capacity: 2.148 million kW (1995)

Electricity—production: 7.1 billion kWh (1995)

Electricity—consumption per capita: 792 kWh (1995)

Agriculture—products: corn, cotton, tobacco, wheat, coffee, sugarcane, peanuts; cattle, sheep, goats, pigs

total value: $2.5 billion (f.o.b., 1996 est.)
commodities: agricultural 38% (tobacco 28%), manufactures 34%, gold 12%, textiles 4%, ferrochrome 7% (1996 est.)
partners: South Africa 12%, UK 12%, Germany 6%, Japan 6% (1996 est.)

total value: $2.2 billion (f.o.b., 1996 est.)
commodities: machinery and transportation equipment 41%, other manufactures 24%, chemicals 13%, fuels 10% (1996 est.)
partners: South Africa 38%, UK 9%, US 5%, Japan 5% (1996 est.)

Debt—external: $4.8 billion (1996)

Economic aid:
recipient: ODA, $362 million (1993)

Currency: 1 Zimbabwean dollar (Z$) = 100 cents

Exchange rates: Zimbabwean dollars (Z$) per US$1—18.7970 (January 1998), 11.8906 (1997), 9.9206 (1996), 8.6580 (1995), 8.1500 (1994), 6.4725 (1993)

Fiscal year: 1 July—30 June


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Telephones: 301,000 (1990 est.)

Telephone system: 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, and radiotelephone communication stations
international: satellite earth station—1 Intelsat (Atlantic Ocean)

Radio broadcast stations: AM 8, FM 18, shortwave 0

Radios: 890,000 (1992 est.)

Television broadcast stations: 8 (1986 est.)

Televisions: 280,000 (1992 est.)


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total: 2,759 km (1995)
narrow gauge: 2,759 km 1.067-m gauge (313 km electrified; 42 km double track) (1995 est.)

total: 18,338 km
paved: 8,692 km
unpaved: 9,646 km (1996 est.)

Waterways: the Mazoe and Zambezi rivers are used for transporting chrome ore from Harare to Mozambique

Pipelines: petroleum products 212 km

Ports and harbors: Binga, Kariba

Airports: 468 (1997 est.)

Airports—with paved runways:
total: 20
over 3,047 m: 3
2,438 to 3,047 m: 2
1,524 to 2,437 m: 5
914 to 1,523 m: 10 (1997 est.)

Airports—with unpaved runways:
total: 448
1,524 to 2,437 m: 3
914 to 1,523 m: 221
under 914 m: 224 (1997 est.)


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Military branches: Zimbabwe National Army, Air Force of Zimbabwe, Zimbabwe Republic Police (includes Police Support Unit, Paramilitary Police)

Military manpower—availability:
males age 15-49: 2,662,702 (1998 est.)

Military manpower—fit for military service:
males: 1,659,659 (1998 est.)

Military expenditures—dollar figure: $236 million (FY95/96)

Military expenditures—percent of GDP: 3.4% (FY95/96)

Transnational Issues

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Disputes—international: quadripoint with Botswana, Namibia, and Zambia is in disagreement

Illicit drugs: significant transit point for African cannabis and South Asian heroin, mandrax, and methamphetamines destined for the South African and European markets