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Zimbabwe



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Introduction

Background: The UK annexed Southern Rhodesia from the South Africa Company in 1923. A 1961 constitution was formulated to keep whites in power. In 1965 the government unilaterally declared its independence, but the UK did not recognize the act and demanded 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.

Geography

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: 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

People

Population: 11,342,521 (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 2000 est.))

Age structure
  0-14 years: 39.64% (male 2,274,128; female 2,222,277)
  15-64 years: 56.82% (male 3,251,860; female 3,192,888)
  65 years and over: 3.54% (male 204,028; female 197,340) (2000 est.)

Population growth rate: 0.26% (2000 est.)

Birth rate: 25 births/1,000 population (2000 est.)

Death rate: 22.43 deaths/1,000 population (2000 est.)

Net migration rate: 0 migrant(s)/1,000 population (2000 est.) (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: 1.02 male(s)/female
  15-64 years: 1.02 male(s)/female
  65 years and over: 1.03 male(s)/female
  total population: 1.02 male(s)/female (2000 est.)

Infant mortality rate: 62.25 deaths/1,000 live births (2000 est.)

Life expectancy at birth
  total population: 37.78 years
  male: 39.18 years
  female: 36.34 years (2000 est.)

Total fertility rate: 3.34 children born/woman (2000 est.)

Nationality
  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

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

Government

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

Data code: ZI

Government type: parliamentary democracy

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 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); Co-Vice Presidents Simon Vengai MUZENDA (since 31 December 1987) and 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: 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 16-17 March 1996 (next to be held NA March 2002); co-vice presidents appointed by the president
  election results: Robert Gabriel MUGABE reelected 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 elected by popular vote for six-year terms, 12 nominated by the president, 10 occupied by traditional chiefs chosen by their peers, and 8 occupied by provincial governors)
  elections: last held 8-9 April 1995 (next to be held 24-25 June 2000)
  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: Democratic Party or DP [Emmanuel MAGOCHE]; Forum Party of Zimbabwe [Enock DUMBUTSHENA]; Movement for Democratic Change or MOC [Morgan TSVANGIRAYI]; Popular Democratic Front or PDF [Austin CHAKAODZA]; United Parties [Abel MUZOREWA]; Zimbabwe African National Union-NDONGA or ZANU-NDONGA [Ndabaningi SITHOLE]; Zimbabwe African National Union-Patriotic Front or ZANU-PF [Robert MUGABE]; Zimbabwe Unity Movement or ZUM [Edgar TEKERE]

Political pressure groups and leaders: National Constitutional Assembly or NCA

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, NAM, OAU, OPCW, PCA, SADC, UN, UNCTAD, UNESCO, UNIDO, UNMIK, UNTAET, UPU, WCL, WFTU, WHO, WIPO, WMO, WToO, WTrO

Diplomatic representation in the US
  chief of mission: Ambassador Simbi Veke MUBAKO
  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 Thomas 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 isosceles triangle edged in black with its base on the hoist side; a yellow Zimbabwe bird is superimposed on a red five-pointed star in the center of the triangle

Economy

Economy - overview: The government of Zimbabwe faces a wide variety of difficult economic problems as it struggles to consolidate earlier progress in developing a market-oriented economy. Its involvement in the war in the Democratic Republic of the Congo, for example, has already drained hundreds of millions of dollars from the economy. Badly needed support from the IMF suffers delays in part because of the country's failure to meet budgetary goals. Inflation rose from an annual rate of 32% in 1998 to 59% in 1999. The economy is being steadily weakened by AIDS; Zimbabwe has the highest rate of infection in the world. Per capita GDP, which is twice the average of the poorer sub-Saharan nations, will increase little if any in the near-term, and Zimbabwe will suffer continued frustrations in developing its agricultural and mineral resources.

GDP: purchasing power parity - $26.5 billion (1999 est.)

GDP - real growth rate: 0% (1999 est.)

GDP - per capita: purchasing power parity - $2,400 (1999 est.)

GDP - composition by sector
  agriculture: 28%
  industry: 32%
  services: 40% (1997 est.)

Population below poverty line: 60% (1999 est.)

Household income or consumption by percentage share
  lowest 10%: 1.8%
  highest 10%: 46.9% (1990)

Inflation rate (consumer prices): 59% (1999 est.)

Labor force: 5 million (1997 est.)

Labor force - by occupation: agriculture 66%, services 24%, industry 10% (1996 est.)

Unemployment rate: 50% (1999 est.)

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

Industries: 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: NA%

Electricity - production: 6.97 billion kWh (1998)

Electricity - production by source
  fossil fuel: 78.19%
  hydro: 21.81%
  nuclear: 0%
  other: 0% (1998)

Electricity - consumption: 8.403 billion kWh (1998)

Electricity - exports: 0 kWh (1998)

Electricity - imports: 1.921 billion kWh (1998)

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

Exports: $2 billion (f.o.b., 1999 est.)

Exports - commodities: tobacco 23%, gold 14%, ferroalloys 7%, cotton 6% (1997 est.)

Exports - partners: South Africa 12%, UK 11%, Germany 8%, Japan 6%, US 6% (1997 est.)

Imports: $2 billion (f.o.b., 1998 est.)

Imports - commodities: machinery and transport equipment 39%, other manufactures 18%, chemicals 15%, fuels 10% (1997 est.)

Imports - partners: South Africa 37%, UK 7%, US 6%, Japan 6%, Germany 5% (1997 est.)

Debt - external: $5 billion (1998)

Economic aid - recipient: $437.6 million (1995)

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

Exchange rates: Zimbabwean dollars (Z$) per US$1 - 38.1679 (January 2000), 38.3142 (1999), 21.4133 (1998), 11.8906 (1997), 9.9206 (1996), 8.6580 (1995)

Fiscal year: 1 July - 30 June

Communications

Telephones - main lines in use: 212,000 (in addition there are about 20,000 fixed telephones in wireless local loop connections) (1997)

Telephones - mobile cellular: 70,000 (1999)

Telephone system: 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: 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 Service Providers (ISPs): 10 (1999)

Transportation

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

Highways
  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: 459 (1999 est.)

Airports - with paved runways
  total: 18
  over 3,047 m: 3
  2,438 to 3,047 m: 2
  1,524 to 2,437 m: 4
  914 to 1,523 m: 9 (1999 est.)

Airports - with unpaved runways
  total: 441
  1,524 to 2,437 m: 4
  914 to 1,523 m: 217
  under 914 m: 220 (1999 est.)

Military

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: 2,924,630 (2000 est.)

Military manpower - fit for military service
  males age 15-49: 1,814,168 (2000 est.)

Military expenditures - dollar figure: $127 million (FY99/00)

Military expenditures - percent of GDP: 3.1% (FY99/00)

Transnational Issues

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

 

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