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Zimbabwe Flag

Capital City: Harare

Border countries: Botswana, Mozambique, South Africa, Zambia

Official Sites of Zimbabwe

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The Chronicle

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Pre-Colonial History

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Zimbabwe's History

Zimbabwe's history: Key dates



Background:  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.

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 water: 3,910 sq km land: 386,670 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:   junction of the Runde and Save rivers 162 m highest
point: Natural resources:  coal, chromium ore, asbestos, gold, nickel,
copper, iron ore, vanadium, lithium, tin, platinum group metals

Land use:  arable land: 8% permanent crops: 1% other: 91% (1998 est.)

Irrigated land:  1,170 sq km (1998 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; 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: 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:  11,376,676 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 2002 est.)

Age structure:  0-14 years: 37.9% (male 2,178,073; female 2,128,287)
15-64 years: 58.4% (male 3,376,850; female 3,268,315) 65 years and over:
3.7% (male 213,286; female 211,865) (2002 est.)

Population growth rate:  0.05% (2002 est.)

Birth rate:  24.59 births/1,000 population (2002 est.)

Death rate:  24.06 deaths/1,000 population (2002 est.)

Net migration rate:  NEGL migrant(s)/1,000 population note: there is
a small but steady flow of Zimbabweans into South Africa in search of
better paid employment (2002 est.)

Sex ratio:  at birth: 1.03 male(s)/female under 15 years: 1.02
male(s)/female 15-64 years: 1.03 male(s)/female 65 years and over:
1.01 male(s)/female total population: 1.03 male(s)/female (2002 est.)

Infant mortality rate:  62.97 deaths/1,000 live births (2002 est.)

Life expectancy at birth:   35.1 years (2002 est.)  male: Total fertility
rate:  3.21 children born/woman (2002 est.)

HIV/AIDS - adult prevalence rate:  25.06% (1999 est.)

HIV/AIDS - people living with HIV/AIDS:  1.5 million (1999 est.)

HIV/AIDS - deaths:  160,000 (1999 est.)

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:   age 15 and over can read and write English total population:
Government Zimbabwe

Country name:   Republic of Zimbabwe conventional short form: 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,

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:  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:  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 2006); 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:  unicameral parliament, called 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 47.2%, MDC 45.6%,
ZANU-Ndonga 0.7%, United Parties 0.7%; seats by party - ZANU-PF 63,
MDC 56, ZANU-Ndonga 1

Judicial branch:  Supreme Court; High Court

Political parties and leaders:  Movement for Democratic Change or MDC
[Morgan TSVANGIRAI]; United Parties [Abel MUZOREWA]; Zimbabwe African
National Union-Ndonga or ZANU-Ndonga [leader NA]; Zimbabwe African
National Union-Patriotic Front or ZANU-PF [Robert Gabriel MUGABE];
Zimbabwe African Peoples Union or ZAPU [Paul SIWELA]

Political pressure groups and leaders:  National Constitutional Assembly
or NCA [Lovemore MADHUKU]

International organization participation:  ACP, AfDB, C, CCC, ECA,
ILO, IMF, Interpol, IOC, IOM (observer), ISO, ITU, NAM, OAU, OPCW, PCA,

Diplomatic representation in the US:  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:  chief of mission: Ambassador
Joseph G. SULLIVAN embassy: 172 Herbert
 P. O. Box 3340, Harare telephone:
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 Zimbabwe

Economy - overview:  The government of Zimbabwe faces a wide variety
of difficult economic problems as it struggles to consolidate earlier
moves to develop 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 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, and to 100% by yearend 2001. The
economy is being steadily weakened by excessive government deficits,
AIDS, and rampant inflation. The government's land reform program,
characterized by chaos and violence, has derailed the commercial sector,
the traditional source of exports and foreign exchange and the provider
of 400,000 jobs. Distribution of income is extremely unequal.

GDP:  purchasing power parity - $28 billion (2001 est.)

GDP - real growth rate:  -6.5% (2001 est.)

GDP - per capita:  purchasing power parity - $2,450 (2001 est.)

GDP - composition by sector:  agriculture: 11% industry: 14% services:
75% (2000 est.)

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

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

Distribution of family income - Gini index:  56.8 (1990-91)

Inflation rate (consumer prices):  100% (2001)

Labor force:  5.5 million (2000 est.)

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

Unemployment rate:  60% (2001 est.)

Budget:  revenues: $2.5 billion expenditures: $2.6 billion, including
capital expenditures of $NA (2000 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:  -10% (2001 est.)

Electricity - production:  6.425 billion kWh (2000)

Electricity - production by source:  fossil fuel: 53.31% hydro: 46.69%
other: 0% (2000) nuclear: 0%

Electricity - consumption:  10.475 billion kWh (2000)

Electricity - exports:  0 kWh (2000)

Electricity - imports:  4.5 billion kWh (2000)

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

Exports:  $2.1 billion (f.o.b., 2001 est.)

Exports - commodities:  tobacco 30%, gold 11%, ferroalloys 9%,
textile/clothing 3% (2000)

Exports - partners:  South Africa 12.1%, UK 8.5%, Japan 7.7%, Germany
6.1%, China 5.4% (2000)

Imports:  $1.5 billion (f.o.b., 2001 est.)

Imports - commodities:  machinery and transport equipment 34%, other
manufactures 18%, chemicals 17%, fuels 11% (1999)

Imports - partners:  South Africa 46.3%, UK 7.2%, Germany 2.5%, US 2.8%,
Japan 2.5% (2000 est.)

Debt - external:  $5 billion (2001 est.)

Economic aid - recipient:  $200 million (2000 est.)

Currency:  Zimbabwean dollar (ZWD)

Currency code:  ZWD

Exchange rates:  Zimbabwean dollars per US dollar - 54.9451 (December
2001), 54.9451 (2001), 43.2900 (2000), 38.3142 (1999), 21.4133 (1998),
11.8906 (1997)

Fiscal year:  1 January - 31 December

Communications Zimbabwe

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:  111,000 (2001)

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: 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 Service Providers (ISPs):  6 (2000)

Internet users:  30,000 (1999)

Transportation Zimbabwe

Railways:  total: 3,077 km narrow gauge: 3,077 km 1.067-m gauge
(313 km electrified; 42 km double-tracked) note: includes the 318 km
Bulawaya-Beitbridge Railway Company line (2001)

Highways:  total: 18,338 km paved: 8,692 km unpaved: 9,646 km (2002)

Waterways:  chrome ore is transported from Harare - by way of the Mazoe
River - to the Zambezi River in Mozambique

Pipelines:  petroleum products 212 km

Ports and harbors:  Binga, Kariba

Airports:  454 (2001)

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 (2001)

Airports - with unpaved runways:  total: 437 1,524 to 2,437 m: 4 914 to
1,523 m: 209 under 914 m: 224 (2001)

Military Zimbabwe

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

Military manpower - availability:  males age 15-49: 3,057,381 (2002 est.)

Military manpower - fit for military service:  males age 15-49: 1,898,383
(2002 est.)

Military expenditures - dollar figure:  $350.6 million (FY01)

Military expenditures - percent of GDP:  3.8% (FY01)

Transnational Issues Zimbabwe

Disputes - international:  none

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 1 January 2002

Issue Zimbabwe
Movement for Democratic Change (MDC)

Indigenous Cultures of Zimbabwe

Shona People

Traditional States of Zimbabwe


Yebo Zimbabwe


Newsgroup of Zimbabwe




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