Map Zimbabwe
Maps copyright Hammond World Atlas Corp.

Flag of Zimbabwe


Background: The UK annexed Southern Rhodesia from the [British] 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, which began 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. The ruling ZANU-PF party used fraud and intimidation to win a two-thirds majority in the March 2005 parliamentary election, allowing it to amend the constitution at will and recreate the Senate, which had been abolished in the late 1980s. In April 2005, 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. President MUGABE in June 2007 instituted price controls on all basic commodities causing panic buying and leaving store shelves empty for months. General elections held in March 2008 contained irregularities but still amounted to a censure of the ZANU-PF-led government with the opposition winning a majority of seats in parliament. MDC opposition leader Morgan TSVANGIRAI won the most votes in the presidential polls, but not enough to win outright. In the lead up to a run-off election in late June 2008, considerable violence enacted against opposition party members led to the withdrawal of TSVANGIRAI from the ballot. Extensive evidence of violence and intimidation resulted in international condemnation of the process. Difficult negotiations over a power-sharing government, in which MUGABE remained president and TSVANGIRAI became prime minister, were finally settled in February 2009, although the leaders have yet failed to agree upon many key outstanding governmental issues. Mugabe in October publicly called for early elections in 2011-two years before his term ends-but no election date has been set.
Location: Southern Africa, between South Africa and Zambia
Area land: 386,847 sq km
Area water: 3,910 sq km
Coastline: 0 km (landlocked)
Country name conventional long form: Republic of Zimbabwe
Country name conventional short form: Zimbabwe
Country name former: Southern Rhodesia, Rhodesia
Population: 12,084,304
Age structure: 0-14 years: 41.9% (male 2,555,916/female 2,504,947); 15-64 years: 54.3% (male 3,063,580/female 3,500,366); 65 years and over: 3.8% (male 193,380/female 266,115) (2011 est.);
Population growth rate: 4.31% (2011 est.)
Birth rate: 31.86 births/1,000 population (2011 est.)
Death rate: 13.58 deaths/1,000 population (July 2011 est.)
Net migration rate: 24.83 migrant(s)/1,000 population
Sex ratio: at birth: 1.03 male(s)/female; under 15 years: 1.02 male(s)/female; 15-64 years: 0.83 male(s)/female; 65 years and over: 0.75 male(s)/female; total population: 0.91 male(s)/female (2011 est.);
Infant mortality rate: total: 29.5 deaths/1,000 live births; male: 31.98 deaths/1,000 live births; female: 26.94 deaths/1,000 live births (2011 est.);
Life expectancy at birth: total population: 49.64 years; male: 49.93 years; female: 49.34 years (2011 est.);
Total fertility rate: 3.63 children born/woman (2011 est.);
HIV/AIDS - adult prevalence rate: 14.3% (2009 est.);
HIV/AIDS - people living with HIV/AIDS: 1.2 million (2009 est.);
HIV/AIDS - deaths: 83,000 (2009 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: definition: age 15 and over can read and write English; total population: 90.7%; male: 94.2%; female: 87.2% (2003 est.);
GDP (purchasing power parity): $4.273 billion (2010 est.); $4.035 billion (2009 est.); $4.279 billion (2008 est.);

note: data are in 2010 US dollars

GDP (official exchange rate): $5.574 billion;
note: in 2009, the Zimbabwean dollar was taken out of circulation, making Zimbabwe's GDP at the official exchange rate a highly inaccurate statistic (2010 est.)

GDP - real growth rate: 5.9% (2010 est.); -5.7% (2009 est.); -18.9% (2008 est.);
GDP - per capita (PPP): $400 (2010 est.); $400 (2009 est.); $400 (2008 est.);
note: data are in 2010 US dollars

GDP - composition by sector: agriculture: 19.5%; industry: 24%; services: 56.5% (2010 est.);
Population below poverty line: 68% (2004);
Household income or consumption by percentage share: lowest 10%: 2%; highest 10%: 40.4% (1995);
Labor force: 3.848 million (2010 est.);
Labor force - by occupation: agriculture: 66%; industry: 10%; services: 24% (1996);
Unemployment rate: 95% (2009 est.); 80% (2005 est.);
note: figures reflect underemployment; true unemployment is unknown and, under current economic conditions, unknowable

Budget: revenues: $2.25 billion; expenditures: $2.25 billion (2008 est.);
Industries: 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: 4% (2010 est.);
Electricity - production: 8.89 billion kWh (2007 est.);
Electricity - consumption: 10.89 billion kWh (2007 est.);
Electricity - exports: 32 million kWh (2007 est.);
Electricity - imports: 2.691 billion kWh (2007 est.);

Statistics: CIA World Factbook.


Bulawayo 24


Chronicle, The

(Government-owned), Bulawayo

New Zimbabwe.com

(Independent), Harare

Standard, The

(Independent), Harare

Sunday News

(Government-owned), Bulawayo

Zimbabwe Independent

(pro-opposition weekly), Harare

Zimbabwe in the News

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Displaying 13 to 16 of 110 items.

Zimbabwe Braces for Strike Action

President Mugabe has done what many Zimbabweans feared he would do—tinker with the election results and refuse to accept the reality that his political time was up.

Mugabe's Waterloo

The ruling party's winning margins have been thinning, so have been the number of its supporters. But this has not shocked Mugabe into delivering the economic and political change craved by his countrymen.

Hard to Tell There's an Election Coming in Zimbabwe

Zimbabwe votes in a month's time, yet there is little evidence on the ground that the country is about to hold one of its most crucial elections since independence from Britain in 1980.

Zimbabwe's Political Newcomer