macrohistory & world report

Republic of Zimbabwe

Map of Zimbabwe

Zimbabwe (capital Harare) and neighboring states

World Factbook as of November 2014: "Zimbabwe's economy is growing despite continuing political uncertainty. Following a decade of contraction from 1998 to 2008, Zimbabwe's economy recorded real growth of roughly 10% per year in 2010-11, before slowing in 2012-13 due poor harvests and low diamond revenues. The government of Zimbabwe faces a number of difficult economic problems, including infrastructure and regulatory deficiencies, ongoing indigenization pressure, policy uncertainty, a large external debt burden, and insufficient formal employment. Until early 2009, the Reserve Bank of Zimbabwe routinely printed money to fund the budget deficit, causing hyperinflation. Dollarization in early 2009 - which allowed currencies such as the Botswana pula, the South Africa rand, and the US dollar to be used locally - ended hyperinflation and reduced inflation below 10% per year, but exposed structural weaknesses that continue to inhibit broad-based growth."

Economic growth rate
2011: 6%
2010: 9%
2009: 6%

Labor force in agriculture
1996: 66%

Unemployment rate
2009: 95%

Public debt
2011: 230.8%

Agriculture products
Corn, cotton, tobacco, wheat, coffee, sugarcane, peanuts; sheep, goats, pigs

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

Export partners
2010: Democratic Republic of the Congo 14.8%, South Africa 13.4%, Botswana 13.2%, China 12.7%, Netherlands 5.9%, Italy 4.6%

Export/import ratio
2011: exports $2.731 billion, imports $4.223 billion


Living in an urban area
2010: 38%

Ethnic groups
African 98% (Shona 82%, Ndebele 14%, other 2%), mixed and Asian 1%, white less than 1%

Syncretic (part Christian, part indigenous beliefs) 50%, Christian 25%, indigenous beliefs 24%, Muslim and other 1%

Net migration rate
2012: Net loss of 23.77 persons per 1,000 population per year. World Factbook: "There is an increasing flow ofZimabweans into South Africa and Botswana in search of better economic opportunities."

Literacy, Age 15 and Older
2003: males 94.2%, females 87.2%

Christian and part indigenous, 50%. Christian, 25%. Indigenous beliefs, 24%. Other, 1percent.


Between Zambia and South Africa north and south, Botswana and Mozambique east and west. Landlocked. Slightly larger than Montana. Tropical.


Presidents elected by popular vote to six-years terms. Unicameral legislature: 150 seats. Members elected by popular vote to five-year terms. Capital: Harare, before 1982 called Salisbury.

Recent History

Independence in 1980. The only ruler since: the leader of the independence movement, Robert Mugabe, first as Prime Minister then in 1987 as President.

According to the World Factbook, Mugabe rigged the elections for the year 2002. The Commonwealth responded by suspending Zimbabwe, and later Mugabe removed Zimbabwe from the Commonwealth.

Mugabe has announced that he will step down when his "revolution" is complete. He claims this to mean the redistribution of white-owned lands and choosing his successor. 

March 2009: The terrible inflation has ended, but people still have a hard time buying food and there is starvation. President Mugabee, a Marxist leader of Zimbabwe's independence movement three decades ago, and his cronies, have given their country disastrous leadership. Mugabee leads as one of the world's foremost clowns.

Copyright © 2009-2013 by Frank E. Smitha. All rights reserved.