Introduction :: Zimbabwe


A series of trading states developed in the area of Zimbabwe prior to the arrival of the first European explorers; the largest of these was the Kingdom of Zimbabwe (ca. 1220-1450). In the 1880s, European colonists arrived with the British South Africa Company (BSAC), which obtained mining rights and established company rule over the area. The southern portion of BSAC holdings were annexed by the UK in 1923 and became the British colony of Southern Rhodesia. 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, was the country’s only ruler (as president since 1987) from independence until his resignation in November 2017. His chaotic land redistribution campaign, which began in 1997 and intensified after 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.

In 2005, the capital city of Harare embarked on Operation Restore Order, ostensibly an urban rationalization program, which resulted in the destruction of the homes or businesses of 700,000 mostly poor supporters of the opposition. MUGABE in 2007 instituted price controls on all basic commodities causing panic buying and leaving store shelves empty for months. General elections in both 2008 and 2013 were severely flawed and widely condemned, but allowed MUGABE to remain president. As a prerequisite to holding the 2013 election, Zimbabwe enacted a new constitution by referendum, although many provisions in the new constitution have yet to be codified in law. In November 2017, Vice President Emmerson MNANGAGWA took over following a military intervention that forced MUGABE to resign. MNANGAGWA was inaugurated president days later, promising to hold presidential elections in 2018. In July 2018, MNANGAGWA won the presidential election after a close contest with Movement for Democratic Change Alliance candidate Nelson CHAMISA. MNANGAGWA has since resorted to the government’s longstanding practice of violently disrupting protests or opposition rallies. Official inflation rates soared in 2019, approaching 500% by the end of the year. MUGABE died in September 2019.

Geography :: Zimbabwe


Southern Africa, between South Africa and Zambia

Geographic coordinates

20 00 S, 30 00 E

Map references



total: 390,757 sq km

land: 386,847 sq km

water: 3,910 sq km

Area – comparative

Area comparison map

Land boundaries

total: 3,229 km

border countries (4): Botswana 834 km, Mozambique 1402 km, South Africa 230 km, Zambia 763 km


0 km (landlocked)

Maritime claims

none (landlocked)


tropical; moderated by altitude; rainy season (November to March)


mostly high plateau with higher central plateau (high veld); mountains in east


mean elevation: 961 m

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

agricultural land: 42.5% (2011 est.)

arable land: 10.9% (2011 est.) /** permanent crops:** 0.3% (2011 est.) /** permanent pasture:** 31.3% (2011 est.)

forest: 39.5% (2011 est.)

other: 18% (2011 est.)

Irrigated land

1,740 sq km (2012)

Population distribution

Aside from major urban agglomerations in Harare and Bulawayo, population distribution is fairly even, with slightly greater overall numbers in the eastern half

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, Hazardous Wastes, Law of the Sea, Ozone Layer Protection

signed, but not ratified: none of the selected agreements

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; Lake Kariba on the Zambia-Zimbabwe border forms the world’s largest reservoir by volume (180 cu km; 43 cu mi)

People and Society :: Zimbabwe


14,546,314 (July 2020 est.)

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, higher death rates, lower population growth rates, and changes in the distribution of population by age and sex than would otherwise be expected


noun: Zimbabwean(s)

adjective: Zimbabwean

Ethnic groups

African 99.4% (predominantly Shona; Ndebele is the second largest ethnic group), other 0.4%, unspecified 0.2% (2012 est.)


Shona (official; most widely spoken), Ndebele (official, second most widely spoken), English (official; traditionally used for official business), 13 minority languages (official; includes Chewa, Chibarwe, Kalanga, Koisan, Nambya, Ndau, Shangani, sign language, Sotho, Tonga, Tswana, Venda, and Xhosa)


Protestant 74.8% (includes Apostolic 37.5%, Pentecostal 21.8%, other 15.5%), Roman Catholic 7.3%, other Christian 5.3%, traditional 1.5%, Muslim 0.5%, other 0.1%, none 10.5% (2015 est.)

Demographic profile

Zimbabwes progress in reproductive, maternal, and child health has stagnated in recent years. According to a 2010 Demographic and Health Survey, contraceptive use, the number of births attended by skilled practitioners, and child mortality have either stalled or somewhat deteriorated since the mid-2000s. Zimbabwes total fertility rate has remained fairly stable at about 4 children per woman for the last two decades, although an uptick in the urban birth rate in recent years has caused a slight rise in the countrys overall fertility rate. Zimbabwes HIV prevalence rate dropped from approximately 29% to 15% since 1997 but remains among the worlds highest and continues to suppress the countrys life expectancy rate. The proliferation of HIV/AIDS information and prevention programs and personal experience with those suffering or dying from the disease have helped to change sexual behavior and reduce the epidemic.

Historically, the vast majority of Zimbabwes migration has been internal a rural-urban flow. In terms of international migration, over the last 40 years Zimbabwe has gradually shifted from being a destination country to one of emigration and, to a lesser degree, one of transit (for East African illegal migrants traveling to South Africa). As a British colony, Zimbabwe attracted significant numbers of permanent immigrants from the UK and other European countries, as well as temporary economic migrants from Malawi, Mozambique, and Zambia. Although Zimbabweans have migrated to South Africa since the beginning of the 20th century to work as miners, the first major exodus from the country occurred in the years before and after independence in 1980. The outward migration was politically and racially influenced; a large share of the white population of European origin chose to leave rather than live under a new black-majority government.

In the 1990s and 2000s, economic mismanagement and hyperinflation sparked a second, more diverse wave of emigration. This massive out migration primarily to other southern African countries, the UK, and the US has created a variety of challenges, including brain drain, illegal migration, and human smuggling and trafficking. Several factors have pushed highly skilled workers to go abroad, including unemployment, lower wages, a lack of resources, and few opportunities for career growth.

Age structure

population pyramid

Dependency ratios

total dependency ratio: 81.6

youth dependency ratio: 76.1

elderly dependency ratio: 5.5

potential support ratio: 18.3 (2020 est.)

Median age

total: 20.5 years

male: 20.3 years

female: 20.6 years (2020 est.)

Population growth rate

1.87% (2020 est.)

Birth rate

33.6 births/1,000 population (2020 est.)

Death rate

9.3 deaths/1,000 population (2020 est.)

Net migration rate

-5 migrant(s)/1,000 population (2020 est.)

Population distribution

Aside from major urban agglomerations in Harare and Bulawayo, population distribution is fairly even, with slightly greater overall numbers in the eastern half


urban population: 32.2% of total population (2020)

rate of urbanization: 2.19% annual rate of change (2015-20 est.)

Major urban areas – population

1.530 million HARARE (capital) (2020)

Sex ratio

at birth: 1.03 male(s)/female

0-14 years: 0.98 male(s)/female
15-24 years: 0.96 male(s)/female
25-54 years: 1.05 male(s)/female
55-64 years: 0.63 male(s)/female
65 years and over: 0.66 male(s)/female

total population: 0.96 male(s)/female (2020 est.)

Mother’s mean age at first birth

20 years (2015 est.)

note: median age at first birth among women 25-29

Maternal mortality rate

458 deaths/100,000 live births (2017 est.)

Infant mortality rate

total: 30.3 deaths/1,000 live births

male: 34.2 deaths/1,000 live births

female: 26.4 deaths/1,000 live births (2020 est.)

Life expectancy at birth

total population: 62.3 years

male: 60.2 years

female: 64.5 years (2020 est.)

Total fertility rate

3.93 children born/woman (2020 est.)

Contraceptive prevalence rate

66.8% (2015)

Drinking water source

improved:** urban:** 98% of population

rural: 67.4% of population

total: 77.3% of population

unimproved:** urban:** 2% of population

rural: 32.6% of population

total: 22.7% of population (2017 est.)

Current Health Expenditure

6.6% (2017)

Physicians density

0.19 physicians/1,000 population (2017)

Hospital bed density

1.7 beds/1,000 population (2011)

Sanitation facility access

improved:** urban:** 96.1% of population

rural: 49% of population

total: 64.2% of population

unimproved:** urban:** 3.9% of population

rural: 51% of population

total: 35.8% of population (2017 est.)

HIV/AIDS – adult prevalence rate

12.7% (2018 est.)

HIV/AIDS – people living with HIV/AIDS

1.3 million (2018 est.)

HIV/AIDS – deaths

22,000 (2018 est.)

Major infectious diseases

degree of risk: high (2020)

food or waterborne diseases: bacterial and protozoal diarrhea, hepatitis A, and typhoid fever

vectorborne diseases: malaria and dengue fever

water contact diseases: schistosomiasis

animal contact diseases: rabies

Obesity – adult prevalence rate

15.5% (2016)

Children under the age of 5 years underweight

8.5% (2015)

Education expenditures

6.1% of GDP (2014)


definition: age 15 and over can read and write English

total population: 86.5%

male: 88.5%

female: 84.6% (2015)

School life expectancy (primary to tertiary education)

total: 10 years

male: 10 years

female: 10 years (2013)

Unemployment, youth ages 15-24

total: 16.5%

male: 11.6%

female: 21.2% (2014 est.)

Government :: Zimbabwe

Country name

conventional long form: Republic of Zimbabwe

conventional short form: Zimbabwe

former: Southern Rhodesia, Rhodesia, Zimbabwe-Rhodesia

etymology: takes its name from the Kingdom of Zimbabwe (13th-15th century) and its capital of Great Zimbabwe, the largest stone structure in pre-colonial southern Africa

Government type

presidential republic


name: Harare

geographic coordinates: 17 49 S, 31 02 E

time difference: UTC+2 (7 hours ahead of Washington, DC, during Standard Time)

etymology: named after a village of Harare at the site of the present capital; the village name derived from a Shona chieftain, Ne-harawa, whose name meant “he who does not sleep”

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


18 April 1980 (from the UK)

National holiday

Independence Day, 18 April (1980)


history: previous 1965 (at Rhodesian independence), 1979 (Lancaster House Agreement), 1980 (at Zimbabwean independence); latest final draft completed January 2013, approved by referendum 16 March 2013, approved by Parliament 9 May 2013, effective 22 May 2013

amendments: proposed by the Senate or by the National Assembly; passage requires two-thirds majority vote by the membership of both houses of Parliament and assent of the president of the republic; amendments to constitutional chapters on fundamental human rights and freedoms and on agricultural lands also require approval by a majority of votes cast in a referendum; amended many times, last in 2017

Legal system

mixed legal system of English common law, Roman-Dutch civil law, and customary law

International law organization participation

has not submitted an ICJ jurisdiction declaration; non-party state to the ICCt


citizenship by birth: no

citizenship by descent only: the father must be a citizen of Zimbabwe; in the case of a child born out of wedlock, the mother must be a citizen

dual citizenship recognized: no

residency requirement for naturalization: 5 years


18 years of age; universal

Executive branch

chief of state: President Emmerson Dambudzo MNANGAGWA (since 24 November 2017); First Vice President Constantino CHIWENGA (since 28 December 2017); note – Robert Gabriel MUGABE resigned on 21 November 2017, after ruling for 37 years

head of government: President Emmerson Dambudzo MNANGAGWA (since 24 November 2017); Vice President Constantino CHIWENGA (since 28 December 2017); Vice President Kembo MOHADI (since 28 December 2017)

cabinet: Cabinet appointed by president, responsible to National Assembly

elections/appointments: each presidential candidate nominated with a nomination paper signed by at least 10 registered voters (at least 1 candidate from each province) and directly elected by absolute majority popular vote in 2 rounds if needed for a 5-year term (no term limits); election last held on 3 July 2018 (next to be held in 2023); co-vice presidents drawn from party leadership
election results: Emmerson MNANGAGWA reelected president in 1st round of voting; percent of vote – Emmerson MNANGAGWA (ZANU-PF) 50.8%, Nelson CHAMISA (MDC-T) 44.3%, Thokozani KHUPE (MDC-N) .9%, other 3%

Legislative branch

description: bicameral Parliament consists of:

Senate (80 seats; 60 members directly elected in multi-seat constituencies – 6 seats in each of the 10 provinces – by proportional representation vote, 16 indirectly elected by the regional governing councils, 2 reserved for the National Council Chiefs, and 2 reserved for members with disabilities; members serve 5-year terms)
National Assembly (270 seats; 210 members directly elected in single-seat constituencies by simple majority vote and 60 seats reserved for women directly elected by proportional representation vote; members serve 5-year terms)
elections: Senate – last held for elected member on 30 July 2018 (next to be held in 2023)

National Assembly – last held on 30 July 2018 (next to be held in 2023)
election results: Senate – percent of vote by party – NA; seats by party – ZANU-PF 34, MDC Alliance 25, Chiefs 18, people with disabilities 2, MDC-T 1; composition – men 45, women 35, percent of women 43.8%

National Assembly – percent of vote by party – NA; seats by party – ZANU-PF 179, MDC Alliance 88, MDC-T 1, NPF 1, independent 1; composition – men 185, women 25, percent of women 31.5%; note – total Parliament percent of women 34.3%

Judicial branch

highest courts: Supreme Court (consists of the chief justice and 4 judges); Constitutional Court (consists of the chief and deputy chief justices and 9 judges)

judge selection and term of office: Supreme Court judges appointed by the president upon recommendation of the Judicial Service Commission, an independent body consisting of the chief justice, Public Service Commission chairman, attorney general, and 2-3 members appointed by the president; judges normally serve until age 65 but can elect to serve until age 70; Constitutional Court judge appointment NA; judges serve nonrenewable 15-year terms

subordinate courts: High Court; Labor Court; Administrative Court; regional magistrate courts; customary law courts; special courts

Political parties and leaders

MDC Alliance Thokozane KHUPEIS
Movement for Democratic Change – MDC-T [Thokozani KHUPE]
National People’s Party or NPP [Joyce MUJURU] (formerly Zimbabwe People First or ZimPF)
National Patriotic Front or NPF [Ambrose MUTINHIRI]
Zimbabwe African National Union-Patriotic Front or ZANU-PF [Emmerson Dambudzo MNANGAGWA]
Zimbabwe African Peoples Union or ZAPU [Isaac MABUKA]

International organization participation


Diplomatic representation in the US

Ambassador Ammon MUTEMBWA (since 18 November 2014)
chancery: 1608 New Hampshire Avenue NW, Washington, DC 20009

telephone: 1 332-7100

FAX: 1 483-9326

Diplomatic representation from the US

chief of mission: Ambassador Brian A. NICHOLS (since 19 July 2018)

telephone: 263 867-701-1000

embassy: 2 Lorraine Drive, Bluffhill, Harare

mailing address: P.O. Box 3340, Harare

FAX: 263 796-488

Flag description

seven equal horizontal bands of green (top), 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 represents agriculture, yellow mineral wealth, red the blood shed to achieve independence, and black stands for the native people

National symbol(s)

Zimbabwe bird symbol, African fish eagle, flame lily; national colors: green, yellow, red, black, white

National anthem

name: “Kalibusiswe Ilizwe leZimbabwe” [Northern Ndebele language] “Simudzai Mureza WeZimbabwe” [Shona] (Blessed Be the Land of Zimbabwe)

lyrics/music: Solomon MUTSWAIRO/Fred Lecture CHANGUNDEGA

note: adopted 1994

Economy :: Zimbabwe

Economy – overview

Zimbabwe’s economy depends heavily on its mining and agriculture sectors. Following a contraction from 1998 to 2008, the economy recorded real growth of more than 10% per year in the period 2010-13, before falling below 3% in the period 2014-17, due to poor harvests, low diamond revenues, and decreased investment. Lower mineral prices, infrastructure and regulatory deficiencies, a poor investment climate, a large public and external debt burden, and extremely high government wage expenses impede the countrys economic performance.

Until early 2009, the Reserve Bank of Zimbabwe (RBZ) routinely printed money to fund the budget deficit, causing hyperinflation. Adoption of a multi-currency basket in early 2009 – which allowed currencies such as the Botswana pula, the South Africa rand, and the US dollar to be used locally – reduced inflation below 10% per year. In January 2015, as part of the governments effort to boost trade and attract foreign investment, the RBZ announced that the Chinese renmimbi, Indian rupee, Australian dollar, and Japanese yen would be accepted as legal tender in Zimbabwe, though transactions were predominantly carried out in US dollars and South African rand until 2016, when the rands devaluation and instability led to near-exclusive use of the US dollar. The government in November 2016 began releasing bond notes, a parallel currency legal only in Zimbabwe which the government claims will have a one-to-one exchange ratio with the US dollar, to ease cash shortages. Bond notes began trading at a discount of up to 10% in the black market by the end of 2016.

Zimbabwes government entered a second Staff Monitored Program with the IMF in 2014 and undertook other measures to reengage with international financial institutions. Zimbabwe repaid roughly $108 million in arrears to the IMF in October 2016, but financial observers note that Zimbabwe is unlikely to gain new financing because the government has not disclosed how it plans to repay more than $1.7 billion in arrears to the World Bank and African Development Bank. International financial institutions want Zimbabwe to implement significant fiscal and structural reforms before granting new loans. Foreign and domestic investment continues to be hindered by the lack of land tenure and titling, the inability to repatriate dividends to investors overseas, and the lack of clarity regarding the governments Indigenization and Economic Empowerment Act.

GDP (purchasing power parity)

$34.27 billion (2017 est.)
$33.04 billion (2016 est.)
$32.82 billion (2015 est.)

note: data are in 2017 dollars

GDP (official exchange rate)

$17.64 billion (2017 est.)

GDP – real growth rate

3.7% (2017 est.)
0.7% (2016 est.)
1.4% (2015 est.)

GDP – per capita (PPP)

$2,300 (2017 est.)
$2,300 (2016 est.)
$2,300 (2015 est.)

note: data are in 2017 dollars

Gross national saving

23.3% of GDP (2017 est.)
19.1% of GDP (2016 est.)
8% of GDP (2015 est.)

GDP – composition, by end use

household consumption: 77.6% (2017 est.)

government consumption: 24% (2017 est.)

investment in fixed capital: 12.6% (2017 est.)

investment in inventories: 0% (2017 est.)

exports of goods and services: 25.6% (2017 est.)

imports of goods and services: -39.9% (2017 est.)

GDP – composition, by sector of origin

agriculture: 12% (2017 est.)

industry: 22.2% (2017 est.)

services: 65.8% (2017 est.)

Agriculture – products

tobacco, corn, cotton, wheat, coffee, sugarcane, peanuts; sheep, goats, pigs


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

Industrial production growth rate

0.3% (2017 est.)

Labor force

7.907 million (2017 est.)

Labor force – by occupation

agriculture: 67.5%

industry: 7.3%

services: 25.2% (2017 est.)

Unemployment rate

11.3% (2014 est.)
80% (2005 est.)

note: data include both unemployment and underemployment; true unemployment is unknown and, under current economic conditions, unknowable

Population below poverty line

72.3% (2012 est.)

Household income or consumption by percentage share

lowest 10%: 2%
highest 10%: 40.4% (1995)


revenues: 3.8 billion (2017 est.)

expenditures: 5.5 billion (2017 est.)

Taxes and other revenues

21.5% (of GDP) (2017 est.)

Budget surplus (+) or deficit (-)

-9.6% (of GDP) (2017 est.)

Public debt

82.3% of GDP (2017 est.)
69.9% of GDP (2016 est.)

Fiscal year

calendar year

Inflation rate (consumer prices)

0.9% (2017 est.)
-1.6% (2016 est.)

Current account balance

-$716 million (2017 est.)
-$553 million (2016 est.)


$4.353 billion (2017 est.)
$3.366 billion (2016 est.)

Exports – partners

South Africa 50.3%, Mozambique 22.5%, UAE 9.8%, Zambia 4.9% (2017)

Exports – commodities

platinum, cotton, tobacco, gold, ferroalloys, textiles/clothing


$5.472 billion (2017 est.)
$5.236 billion (2016 est.)

Imports – commodities

machinery and transport equipment, other manufactures, chemicals, fuels, food products

Imports – partners

South Africa 47.8%, Zambia 20.5% (2017)

Reserves of foreign exchange and gold

$431.8 million (31 December 2017 est.)
$407.2 million (31 December 2016 est.)

Debt – external

$9.357 billion (31 December 2017 est.)
$10.14 billion (31 December 2016 est.)

Exchange rates

Zimbabwean dollars (ZWD) per US dollar –
1 (2017 est.)
1 (2016 est.)
234.25 (2010)

note: the dollar was adopted as a legal currency in 2009; since then the Zimbabwean dollar has experienced hyperinflation and is essentially worthless

Energy :: Zimbabwe

Electricity access

population without electricity: 11 million (2017)

electrification – total population: 34% (2017)
electrification – urban areas: 81% (2017)
electrification – rural areas: 11% (2017)

Electricity – production

6.8 billion kWh (2016 est.)

Electricity – consumption

7.118 billion kWh (2016 est.)

Electricity – exports

1.239 billion kWh (2015 est.)

Electricity – imports

2.22 billion kWh (2016 est.)

Electricity – installed generating capacity

2.122 million kW (2016 est.)

Electricity – from fossil fuels

58% of total installed capacity (2016 est.)

Electricity – from nuclear fuels

0% of total installed capacity (2017 est.)

Electricity – from hydroelectric plants

37% of total installed capacity (2017 est.)

Electricity – from other renewable sources

5% of total installed capacity (2017 est.)

Crude oil – production

0 bbl/day (2018 est.)

Crude oil – exports

0 bbl/day (2015 est.)

Crude oil – imports

0 bbl/day (2015 est.)

Crude oil – proved reserves

0 bbl (1 January 2018 est.)

Refined petroleum products – production

0 bbl/day (2015 est.)

Refined petroleum products – consumption

27,000 bbl/day (2016 est.)

Refined petroleum products – exports

0 bbl/day (2015 est.)

Refined petroleum products – imports

26,400 bbl/day (2015 est.)

Natural gas – production

0 cu m (2017 est.)

Natural gas – consumption

0 cu m (2017 est.)

Natural gas – exports

0 cu m (2017 est.)

Natural gas – imports

0 cu m (2017 est.)

Natural gas – proved reserves

0 cu m (1 January 2014 est.)

Carbon dioxide emissions from consumption of energy

12.06 million Mt (2017 est.)

Communications :: Zimbabwe

Telephones – fixed lines

total subscriptions: 268,849

subscriptions per 100 inhabitants: 2 (2018 est.)

Telephones – mobile cellular

total subscriptions: 12,908,992

subscriptions per 100 inhabitants: 92 (2018 est.)

Telecommunication systems

general assessment: competition has driven the expansion of the telecommunications sector, particularly cellular voice and mobile broadband, in recent years; 3 mobile network operators continue to invest in m-commerce and m-banking facilities; continued advancement with national and international fiber backbone network as well as 3G and LTE mobile broadband services; mobile Internet connections make up 98% of all Internet connections (2020)

domestic: consists of microwave radio relay links, open-wire lines, radiotelephone communication stations, fixed wireless local loop installations, fiber-optic cable, VSAT terminals, and a substantial mobile-cellular network; Internet connection is most readily available in Harare and major towns; two government owned and two private cellular providers; fixed-line 2 per 100 and mobile-cellular 92 per 100 (2018)

international: country code – 263; fiber-optic connections to neighboring states provide access to international networks via undersea cable; satellite earth stations – 2 Intelsat; 5 international digital gateway exchanges

note: the COVID-19 outbreak is negatively impacting telecommunications production and supply chains globally; consumer spending on telecom devices and services has also slowed due to the pandemic’s effect on economies worldwide; overall progress towards improvements in all facets of the telecom industry – mobile, fixed-line, broadband, submarine cable and satellite – has moderated

Broadcast media

government owns all local radio and TV stations; foreign shortwave broadcasts and satellite TV are available to those who can afford antennas and receivers; in rural areas, access to TV broadcasts is extremely limited; analog TV only, no digital service (2017)

Internet country code


Internet users

total: 3,796,618

percent of population: 27.06% (July 2018 est.)

Broadband – fixed subscriptions

total: 203,056

subscriptions per 100 inhabitants: 1 (2018 est.)

Military and Security :: Zimbabwe

Military and security forces

Zimbabwe Defense Forces (ZDF): Zimbabwe National Army (ZNA), Air Force of Zimbabwe (AFZ) (2020)

Military expenditures

1% of GDP (2019)
1.2% of GDP (2018)
1.5% of GDP (2017)
1.7% of GDP (2016)
1.9% of GDP (2015)

Military and security service personnel strengths

size estimates for the Zimbabwe Defense Forces (ZDF) vary; approximately 30,000 active duty troops, including about 4,000 serving in the Air Force (2019 est.)

Military equipment inventories and acquisitions

the ZDF inventory is comprised mostly of older Chinese- and Russian-origin equipment; since 2000, China is the leading arms supplier to the ZDF, although there are no recorded deliveries of weapons since 2006 (2019 est.)

Military service age and obligation

18-22 years of age for voluntary military service (18-24 for officer cadets; 18-30 for technical/specialist personnel); no conscription; women are eligible to serve (2019)

Military – note

the ZDF was formed after independence from the former Rhodesian Army and the two guerrilla forces that opposed it during the Rhodesian Bush War of the 1970s, the Zimbabwe African National Liberation Army (ZANLA) and the Zimbabwe People’s Revolutionary Army (ZIPRA); internal security is a key current responsibility, and the military continues to play an active role in the countrys politics since the coup of 2017 (2020)

Transportation :: Zimbabwe

National air transport system

number of registered air carriers: 2 (2015)

inventory of registered aircraft operated by air carriers: 4 (2015)

annual passenger traffic on registered air carriers: 370,164 (2015)

annual freight traffic on registered air carriers: 962,642 mt-km (2015)

Civil aircraft registration country code prefix

Z (2016)


196 (2013)

Airports – with paved runways

total: 17 (2013)

over 3,047 m: 3 (2013)

2,438 to 3,047 m: 2 (2013)

1,524 to 2,437 m: 5 (2013)

914 to 1,523 m: 7 (2013)

Airports – with unpaved runways

total: 179 (2013)

1,524 to 2,437 m: 3 (2013)

914 to 1,523 m: 104 (2013)

under 914 m: 72 (2013)


270 km refined products (2013)


total: 3,427 km (2014)

narrow gauge: 3,427 km 1.067-m gauge (313 km electrified) (2014)


total: 97,267 km (2019)

paved: 18,481 km (2019)

unpaved: 78,786 km (2019)


(some navigation possible on Lake Kariba) (2011)

Ports and terminals

river port(s): Binga, Kariba (Zambezi)

Transnational Issues :: Zimbabwe

Disputes – international

Namibia has supported, and in 2004 Zimbabwe dropped objections to, plans between Botswana and Zambia to build a bridge over the Zambezi River, thereby de facto recognizing a short, but not clearly delimited, Botswana-Zambia boundary in the river; South Africa has placed military units to assist police operations along the border of Lesotho, Zimbabwe, and Mozambique to control smuggling, poaching, and illegal migration

Refugees and internally displaced persons

refugees (country of origin): 8,060 (Mozambique) (2019); 116,237 (Nigeria), 10,837 (Democratic Republic of Congo) (refugees and asylum seekers) (2020)

IDPs: 25,517 (tropical cyclone, 2019) (2020)
stateless persons: 300,000 (2016)

Trafficking in persons

current situation: Zimbabwe is a source, transit, and destination country for men, women, and children subjected to forced labor and sex trafficking; Zimbabwean women and girls from towns bordering South Africa, Mozambique, and Zambia are subjected to forced labor, including domestic servitude, and prostitution catering to long-distance truck drivers; Zimbabwean men, women, and children experience forced labor in agriculture and domestic servitude in rural areas; family members may recruit children and other relatives from rural areas with promises of work or education in cities and towns where they end up in domestic servitude and sex trafficking; Zimbabwean women and men are lured into exploitative labor situations in South Africa and other neighboring countries

tier rating: Tier 3 – Zimbabwe does not fully comply with the minimum standards for the elimination of trafficking and is not making significant efforts to do so; the government passed an anti-trafficking law in 2014 defining trafficking in persons as a crime of transportation and failing to capture the key element of the international definition of human trafficking the purpose of exploitation which prevents the law from being comprehensive or consistent with the 2000 UN TIP Protocol that Zimbabwe acceded to in 2013; the government did not report on anti-trafficking law enforcement efforts during 2014, and corruption in law enforcement and the judiciary remain a concern; authorities made minimal efforts to identify and protect trafficking victims, relying on NGOs to identify and assist victims; Zimbabwes 2014 anti-trafficking law required the opening of 10 centers for trafficking victims, but none were established during the year; five existing shelters for vulnerable children and orphans may have accommodated child victims; in January 2015, an inter-ministerial anti-trafficking committee was established, but it is unclear if the committee ever met or initiated any activities (2015)

Illicit drugs

transit point for cannabis and South Asian heroin, mandrax, and methamphetamines en route to South Africa

Source: https://www.cia.gov

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