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  Transnational Issues

In general, information available as of 1 January 2003
was used in the preparation of The World Factbook 2003.

This page was last updated on 18 December, 2003

Map of Zimbabwe

Legend: DefinitionDefinition Field ListingField Listing Rank OrderRank Order
   Introduction    Zimbabwe
Definition Field Listing
The UK annexed Southern Rhodesia from the 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 begun 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 groups launched general strikes in 2003 to pressure MUGABE to retire early; security forces continued their brutal repression of regime opponents.
   Geography    Zimbabwe
Definition Field Listing
Southern Africa, between South Africa and Zambia
Geographic coordinates:
Definition Field Listing
20 00 S, 30 00 E
Map references:
Definition Field Listing
Definition Field Listing Rank Order
total: 390,580 sq km
water: 3,910 sq km
land: 386,670 sq km
Area - comparative:
Definition Field Listing
slightly larger than Montana
Land boundaries:
Definition Field Listing
total: 3,066 km
border countries: Botswana 813 km, Mozambique 1,231 km, South Africa 225 km, Zambia 797 km
Definition Field Listing
0 km (landlocked)
Maritime claims:
Definition Field Listing
none (landlocked)
Definition Field Listing
tropical; moderated by altitude; rainy season (November to March)
Definition Field Listing
mostly high plateau with higher central plateau (high veld); mountains in east
Elevation extremes:
Definition Field Listing
lowest point: junction of the Runde and Save rivers 162 m
highest point: Inyangani 2,592 m
Natural resources:
Definition Field Listing
coal, chromium ore, asbestos, gold, nickel, copper, iron ore, vanadium, lithium, tin, platinum group metals
Land use:
Definition Field Listing
arable land: 8.4%
permanent crops: 0.34%
other: 91.26% (1998 est.)
Irrigated land:
Definition Field Listing
1,170 sq km (1998 est.)
Natural hazards:
Definition Field Listing
recurring droughts; floods and severe storms are rare
Environment - current issues:
Definition Field Listing
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:
Definition Field Listing
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:
Definition Field Listing
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
Definition Field Listing Rank Order
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 2003 est.)
Age structure:
Definition Field Listing
0-14 years: 39.7% (male 2,517,608; female 2,471,342)
15-64 years: 56.8% (male 3,600,832; female 3,542,497)
65 years and over: 3.5% (male 224,631; female 219,832) (2003 est.)
Median age:
Definition Field Listing
total: 18.9 years
female: 18.9 years (2002)
male: 18.9 years
Population growth rate:
Definition Field Listing
0.83% (2003 est.)
Birth rate:
Definition Field Listing Rank Order
30.34 births/1,000 population (2003 est.)
Death rate:
Definition Field Listing Rank Order
22.02 deaths/1,000 population (2003 est.)
Net migration rate:
Definition Field Listing
NEGL migrant(s)/1,000 population
note: there is an increasing flow of Zimbabweans into South Africa and Botswana in search of better economic opportunities (2003 est.)
Sex ratio:
Definition Field Listing
at birth: 1.03 male(s)/female
under 15 years: 1.02 male(s)/female
15-64 years: 1.02 male(s)/female
65 years and over: 1.02 male(s)/female
total population: 1.02 male(s)/female (2003 est.)
Infant mortality rate:
Definition Field Listing Rank Order
total: 66.47 deaths/1,000 live births
female: 63.69 deaths/1,000 live births (2003 est.)
male: 69.17 deaths/1,000 live births
Life expectancy at birth:
Definition Field Listing Rank Order
total population: 39.01 years
male: 40.09 years
female: 37.89 years (2003 est.)
Total fertility rate:
Definition Field Listing Rank Order
3.66 children born/woman (2003 est.)
HIV/AIDS - adult prevalence rate:
Definition Field Listing Rank Order
33.7% (2001 est.)
HIV/AIDS - people living with HIV/AIDS:
Definition Field Listing Rank Order
2.3 million (2001 est.)
HIV/AIDS - deaths:
Definition Field Listing Rank Order
200,000 (2001 est.)
Definition Field Listing
noun: Zimbabwean(s)
adjective: Zimbabwean
Ethnic groups:
Definition Field Listing
African 98% (Shona 82%, Ndebele 14%, other 2%), mixed and Asian 1%, white less than 1%
Definition Field Listing
syncretic (part Christian, part indigenous beliefs) 50%, Christian 25%, indigenous beliefs 24%, Muslim and other 1%
Definition Field Listing
English (official), Shona, Sindebele (the language of the Ndebele, sometimes called Ndebele), numerous but minor tribal dialects
Definition Field Listing
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:
Definition Field Listing
conventional long form: Republic of Zimbabwe
conventional short form: Zimbabwe
former: Southern Rhodesia, Rhodesia
Government type:
Definition Field Listing
parliamentary democracy
Definition Field Listing
Administrative divisions:
Definition Field Listing
8 provinces and 2 cities* with provincial status; Bulawayo*, Harare*, Manicaland, Mashonaland Central, Mashonaland East, Mashonaland West, Masvingo, Matabeleland North, Matabeleland South, Midlands
Definition Field Listing
18 April 1980 (from UK)
National holiday:
Definition Field Listing
Independence Day, 18 April (1980)
Definition Field Listing
21 December 1979
Legal system:
Definition Field Listing
mixture of Roman-Dutch and English common law
Definition Field Listing
18 years of age; universal
Executive branch:
Definition Field Listing
chief of state: Executive President Robert Gabriel MUGABE (since 31 December 1987); Joseph MSIKA (since 23 December 1999); 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); Joseph MSIKA (since 23 December 1999); 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; election last held 9-11 March 2002 (next to be held NA 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:
Definition Field Listing
unicameral 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 8 occupied by provincial governors appointed by the president)
elections: last held 24-25 June 2000 (next to be held NA 2005)
election results: percent of vote by party - ZANU-PF 48.6%, MDC 47.0%, other 4.4%; seats by party - ZANU-PF 62, MDC 57, ZANU-Ndonga 1
Judicial branch:
Definition Field Listing
Supreme Court; High Court
Political parties and leaders:
Definition Field Listing
Movement for Democratic Change or MDC [Morgan TSVANGIRAI]; National Alliance for Good Governance or NAGG [Shakespeare MAYA]; United Parties [Abel MUZOREWA]; 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:
Definition Field Listing
National Constitutional Assembly or NCA [Lovemore MADHUKU]; Crisis in Zimbabwe Coalition [Brian KAGORO]; Zimbabwe Congress of Trade Unions or ZCTU [Lovemore MATOMBO]
International organization participation:
Definition Field Listing
Diplomatic representation in the US:
Definition Field Listing
chief of mission: Ambassador Simbi Veke MUBAKO
FAX: [1] (202) 483-9326
telephone: [1] (202) 332-7100
chancery: 1608 New Hampshire Avenue NW, Washington, DC 20009
Diplomatic representation from the US:
Definition Field Listing
chief of mission: Ambassador Joseph G. SULLIVAN
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:
Definition Field Listing
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:
Definition Field Listing
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 country's failure to meet budgetary goals. Inflation rose from an annual rate of 32% in 1998 to 59% in 1999, to 60% in 2000, to over 100% by yearend 2001, to 228% in early 2003. The government's land reform program, characterized by chaos and violence, has nearly destroyed the commercial farming sector, the traditional source of exports and foreign exchange and the provider of 400,000 jobs.
Definition Field Listing Rank Order
purchasing power parity - $26.07 billion (2002 est.)
GDP - real growth rate:
Definition Field Listing Rank Order
-13% (2002 est.)
GDP - per capita:
Definition Field Listing Rank Order
purchasing power parity - $2,100 (2002 est.)
GDP - composition by sector:
Definition Field Listing
agriculture: 18%
industry: 24%
services: 58% (2001)
Population below poverty line:
Definition Field Listing
70% (2002 est.)
Household income or consumption by percentage share:
Definition Field Listing
lowest 10%: 1.97%
highest 10%: 40.42% (1995)
Distribution of family income - Gini index:
Definition Field Listing
50.1 (1995)
Inflation rate (consumer prices):
Definition Field Listing Rank Order
134.5% (2002 est.)
Labor force:
Definition Field Listing Rank Order
5.8 million (2000 est.)
Labor force - by occupation:
Definition Field Listing
agriculture 66%, services 24%, industry 10% (1996)
Unemployment rate:
Definition Field Listing Rank Order
70% (2002 est.)
Definition Field Listing
revenues: $2.5 billion
expenditures: $2.6 billion, including capital expenditures of $NA (2000)
Definition Field Listing
mining (coal, gold, copper, nickel, tin, clay, numerous metallic and nonmetallic ores), steel, wood products, cement, chemicals, fertilizer, clothing and footwear, foodstuffs, beverages
Industrial production growth rate:
Definition Field Listing Rank Order
-3.1% (2002 est.)
Electricity - production:
Definition Field Listing Rank Order
6.735 billion kWh (2001)
Electricity - production by source:
Definition Field Listing
fossil fuel: 47%
hydro: 53%
other: 0% (2001)
nuclear: 0%
Electricity - consumption:
Definition Field Listing Rank Order
9.813 billion kWh (2001)
Electricity - exports:
Definition Field Listing
0 kWh (2001)
Electricity - imports:
Definition Field Listing
3.55 billion kWh (2001)
Oil - production:
Definition Field Listing Rank Order
0 bbl/day (2001 est.)
Oil - consumption:
Definition Field Listing Rank Order
23,000 bbl/day (2001 est.)
Oil - exports:
Definition Field Listing Rank Order
NA (2001)
Oil - imports:
Definition Field Listing Rank Order
NA (2001)
Agriculture - products:
Definition Field Listing
corn, cotton, tobacco, wheat, coffee, sugarcane, peanuts; cattle, sheep, goats, pigs
Definition Field Listing Rank Order
$1.57 billion f.o.b. (2001 est.)
Exports - commodities:
Definition Field Listing
tobacco, gold, ferroalloys, textiles/clothing
Exports - partners:
Definition Field Listing
China 6%, South Africa 5.7%, Germany 5.4%, UK 4.8%, Japan 4.7%, Netherlands 4.4%, US 4.1% (2002)
Definition Field Listing Rank Order
$1.739 billion f.o.b. (2001 est.)
Imports - commodities:
Definition Field Listing
machinery and transport equipment, other manufactures, chemicals, fuels
Imports - partners:
Definition Field Listing
South Africa 47.7%, Congo, Democratic Republic of the 5.7%, Mozambique 5.3% (2002)
Debt - external:
Definition Field Listing Rank Order
$3.9 billion (2002 est.)
Economic aid - recipient:
Definition Field Listing
$178 million (2000 est.)
Definition Field Listing
Zimbabwean dollar (ZWD)
Currency code:
Definition Field Listing
Exchange rates:
Definition Field Listing
Zimbabwean dollars per US dollar - 55 (2002), 55.05 (2001), 44.42 (2000), 38.3 (1999), 23.68 (1998)
Fiscal year:
Definition Field Listing
1 January - 31 December
   Communications    Zimbabwe
Telephones - main lines in use:
Definition Field Listing Rank Order
212,000 (in addition, there are about 20,000 fixed telephones in wireless local loop connections) (1997)
Telephones - mobile cellular:
Definition Field Listing Rank Order
111,000 (2001)
Telephone system:
Definition Field Listing
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: satellite earth stations - 2 Intelsat; two international digital gateway exchanges (in Harare and Gweru)
Radio broadcast stations:
Definition Field Listing
AM 7, FM 20 (plus 17 repeater stations), shortwave 1 (1998)
Television broadcast stations:
Definition Field Listing
16 (1997)
Internet country code:
Definition Field Listing
Internet Service Providers (ISPs):
Definition Field Listing
6 (2000)
Internet users:
Definition Field Listing Rank Order
100,000 (2002)
   Transportation    Zimbabwe
Definition Field Listing Rank Order
total: 3,077 km
narrow gauge: 3,077 km 1.067-m gauge (313 km electrified)
note: includes the 318 km Bulawayo-Beitbridge Railway Company line (2002)
Definition Field Listing Rank Order
total: 18,338 km
paved: 8,692 km
unpaved: 9,646 km (1999 est.)
Definition Field Listing
chrome ore is transported from Harare - by way of the Mazoe River - to the Zambezi River in Mozambique
Definition Field Listing
refined products 261 km (2003)
Ports and harbors:
Definition Field Listing
Binga, Kariba
Definition Field Listing
430 (2002)
Airports - with paved runways:
Definition Field Listing
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 (2002)
Airports - with unpaved runways:
Definition Field Listing
total: 413
1,524 to 2,437 m: 4
914 to 1,523 m: 197
under 914 m: 212 (2002)
   Military    Zimbabwe
Military branches:
Definition Field Listing
Zimbabwe National Army, Air Force of Zimbabwe, Zimbabwe Republic Police (includes Police Support Unit, Paramilitary Police)
Military manpower - availability:
Definition Field Listing
males age 15-49: 3,236,042 (2003 est.)
Military manpower - fit for military service:
Definition Field Listing
males age 15-49: 2,003,572 (2003 est.)
Military expenditures - dollar figure:
Definition Field Listing Rank Order
$625.1 million (FY02)
Military expenditures - percent of GDP:
Definition Field Listing Rank Order
3.2% (FY02)
   Transnational Issues    Zimbabwe
Disputes - international:
Definition Field Listing
dormant dispute remains where Botswana, Namibia, Zambia, and Zimbabwe boundaries converge
Illicit drugs:
Definition Field Listing
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 18 December, 2003

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