Zimbabwe

Introduction 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 significant gains in opposition seats in parliament. MDC opposition leader Morgan TSVANGIRAI won the presidential polls, and may have won an out right majority, but official results posted by the Zimbabwe Electoral Committee did not reflect this. 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 vote tampering and ballot-box stuffing resulted in international condemnation of the process. Difficult negotiations over a power sharing agreement, allowing MUGABE to remain as president and creating the new position of prime minister for TSVANGIRAI, were finally settled in February 2009.
History

By the Middle Ages, there was a Bantu civilization in the region, as evidenced by ruins at Great Zimbabwe and other smaller sites, whose outstanding achievement is a unique dry stone architecture. Around the early 10th century, trade developed with Phoenicians on the Indian Ocean coast, helping to develop Great Zimbabwe in the 11th century. The state traded gold, ivory and copper for cloth and glass. It ceased to be the leading Shona state in the mid 15th century. From circa 1250–1629, the area that is known as Zimbabwe today was ruled under the Mutapa Empire, also known as Mwene Mutapa, Monomotapa or the Empire of Great Zimbabwe, which was renowned for its gold trade routes with Arabs. However, Portuguese settlers destroyed the trade and began a series of wars which left the empire in near collapse in the early 17th century. In 1834, the Ndebele people arrived while fleeing from the Zulu leader Shaka, making the area their new empire, Matabeleland. In 1837–38, the Shona were conquered by the Ndebele, who arrived from south of the Limpopo and forced them to pay tribute and concentrate in northern Zimbabwe. In the 1880s, the British arrived with Cecil Rhodes's British South Africa Company. In 1898, the name Southern Rhodesia was adopted.

Colonial era (1888–1965)

In 1888, British colonialist Cecil Rhodes obtained a concession for mining rights from King Lobengula of the Ndebele peoples. Cecil Rhodes presented this concession to persuade the government of the United Kingdom to grant a royal charter to his British South Africa Company (BSAC) over Matabeleland, and its subject states such as Mashonaland. Rhodes sought permission to negotiate similar concessions covering all territory between the Limpopo River and Lake Tanganyika, then known as 'Zambesia'. In accordance with the terms of aforementioned concessions and treaties, Cecil Rhodes promoted the colonisation of the region's land, and British control over labour, precious metals and other mineral resources. In 1895 the BSAC adopted the name 'Rhodesia' for the territory of Zambesia, in honour of Cecil Rhodes. In 1898 'Southern Rhodesia' became the official denotation for the region south of the Zambezi, which later became Zimbabwe. The region to the north was administered separately by the BSAC and later named Northern Rhodesia (now Zambia).

The Shona staged unsuccessful revolts (known as Chimurenga) against encroachment upon their lands, by clients of BSAC and Cecil Rhodes in 1896 and 1897. Following the failed insurrections of 1896–97 the Ndebele and Shona groups became subject to Rhodes's administration thus precipitating European settlement en masse which led to land distribution disproportionately favouring Europeans, displacing the Shona, Ndebele, and other indigenous peoples.

Southern Rhodesia became a self-governing British colony in October 1923, subsequent to a 1922 referendum. Rhodesians served on behalf of the United Kingdom during World War II, mainly in the East African Campaign against Axis forces in Italian East Africa.

In 1953, in the face of African opposition, Britain consolidated the two colonies of Rhodesia with Nyasaland (now Malawi) in the ill-fated Federation of Rhodesia and Nyasaland which was dominated by Southern Rhodesia. Growing African nationalism and general dissent, particularly in Nyasaland, admonished Britain to dissolve the Union in 1963, forming three colonies. As colonial rule was ending throughout the continent and as African-majority governments assumed control in neighbouring Northern Rhodesia and in Nyasaland, the white-minority Rhodesia government led by Ian Smith made a Unilateral Declaration of Independence (UDI) from the United Kingdom on 11 November, 1965. The United Kingdom deemed this an act of rebellion, but did not re-establish control by force. The white-minority government declared itself a "republic" in 1970. A civil war ensued, with Joshua Nkomo's ZAPU and Robert Mugabe's ZANU using assistance from the governments of Zambia and Mozambique. Although Smith's declaration was not recognised by the United Kingdom nor any other significant power, Southern Rhodesia dropped the designation 'Southern', and claimed nation status as the Republic of Rhodesia in 1970.

UDI and civil war (1965–1979)

After the Unilateral Declaration of Independence (UDI), the British government requested United Nations economic sanctions against Rhodesia as negotiations with the Smith administration in 1966 and 1968 ended in stalemate. The Smith administration declared itself a republic in 1970 which was recognised only by South Africa, then governed by its apartheid administration. Over the years, the guerrilla fighting against Smith's UDI government intensified. As a result, the Smith government opened negotiations with the leaders of the Patriotic Fronts — Zimbabwe African National Union (ZANU), led by Robert Mugabe, and the Zimbabwe African People's Union (ZAPU), led by Joshua Nkomo.

Bishop Abel Muzorewa signs the Lancaster House Agreement seated next to British Foreign Minister Lord Peter Carrington.

In March 1978, with his regime near the brink of collapse, Smith signed an accord with three African leaders, led by Bishop Abel Muzorewa, who offered safeguards for white civilians. As a result of the Internal Settlement, elections were held in April 1979. The United African National Council (UANC) party won a majority in this election. On 1 June, 1979, the leader of UANC, Abel Muzorewa, became the country's prime minister and the country's name was changed to Zimbabwe Rhodesia. The internal settlement left control of the country's police, security forces, civil service and judiciary in white hands. It assured whites of about one-third of the seats in parliament. However, on June 12, the United States Senate voted to end economic sanctions against Zimbabwe Rhodesia.

Following the fifth Commonwealth Heads of Government Meeting (CHOGM), held in Lusaka, Zambia from 1–7 August, 1979, the British government invited Muzorewa and the leaders of the Patriotic Front to participate in a constitutional conference at Lancaster House. The purpose of the conference was to discuss and reach agreement on the terms of an independence constitution and that elections should be supervised under British authority to enable Rhodesia to proceed to legal independence and the parties to settle their differences by political means. Lord Carrington, Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs of the United Kingdom, chaired the conference. The conference took place from 10 September–15 December 1979 with 47 plenary sessions. On 1 December 1979, delegations from the British and Rhodesian governments and the Patriotic Front signed the Lancaster House Agreement, ending the civil war.

Independence (1980–1999)

Britain's Lord Soames was appointed governor to oversee the disarming of revolutionary guerrillas, the holding of elections and the granting of independence to an uneasy coalition government with Joshua Nkomo, head of ZAPU. In the elections of February 1980, Mugabe and his ZANU won a landslide victory.

There was however opposition to a Shona win in Matabeleland. In November 1980 Enos Nkala made remarks at a rally in Bulawayo, in which he warned ZAPU that ZANU would deliver a few blows against them. This started the first Entumbane uprising, in which ZIPRA and ZANLA fought for two days.

In February 1981 there was a second uprising, which spread to Glenville and also to Connemara in the Midlands. ZIPRA troops in other parts of Matabeleland headed for Bulawayo to join the battle, and ex-Rhodesian units had to come in to stop the fighting. Over 300 people were killed.

These uprisings led to what has become known as Gukurahundi (Shona: "the early rain which washes away the chaff before the spring rains") or the Matabeleland Massacres, which ran from 1982 until 1985. Mugabe used his North Korean trained Fifth Brigade to crush any resistance in Matabeleland. It has been estimated that 20,000 Matabele were murdered and buried in mass graves which they were forced to dig themselves and hundreds of others were allegedly tortured. The violence ended after ZANU and ZAPU reached a unity agreement in 1988 that merged the two parties, creating ZANU-PF.

Elections in March 1990 resulted in another victory for Mugabe and his party, which won 117 of the 120 election seats. Election observers estimated voter turnout at only 54% and found the campaign neither free nor fair.

During the 1990s students, trade unionists and workers often demonstrated to express their discontent with the government. Students protested in 1990 against proposals for an increase in government control of universities and again in 1991 and 1992 when they clashed with police. Trade unionists and workers also criticised the government during this time. In 1992 police prevented trade unionists from holding anti-government demonstrations. In 1994 widespread industrial unrest weakened the economy. In 1996 civil servants, nurses, and junior doctors went on strike over salary issues. The general health of the civilian population also began to significantly founder and by 1997 25% of the population of Zimbabwe had been infected by HIV, the AIDS virus.

Decline (1999–present)

Land issues, which the liberation movement had promised to solve, re-emerged as the main issue for the ruling party beginning in 1999. Despite majority rule and the existence of a "willing-buyer-willing-seller" land reform programme since the 1980s, ZANU (PF) claimed that whites made up less than 1% of the population but held 70% of the country's commercially viable arable land (though these figures are disputed by many outside the Government of Zimbabwe). Mugabe began to redistribute land to blacks in 2000 with a compulsory land redistribution.

The legality and constitutionality of the process has regularly been challenged in the Zimbabwean High and Supreme Courts; however, the policing agencies have rarely acted in accordance with court rulings on these matters. The chaotic implementation of the land reform led to a sharp decline in agricultural exports, traditionally the country's leading export producing sector. Mining and tourism have surpassed agriculture. As a result, Zimbabwe is experiencing a severe hard-currency shortage, which has led to hyperinflation and chronic shortages in imported fuel and consumer goods. In 2002, Zimbabwe was suspended from the Commonwealth of Nations on charges of human rights abuses during the land redistribution and of election tampering.

Following elections in 2005, the government initiated "Operation Murambatsvina", a purported effort to crack down on illegal markets and homes that had seen slums emerge in towns and cities. This action has been widely condemned by opposition and international figures, who charge that it has left a substantial section of urban poor homeless. The Zimbabwe government has described the operation as an attempt to provide decent housing to the population although they have yet to deliver any new housing for the forcibly removed people.

Zimbabwe's current economic and food crisis, described by some observers as the country's worst humanitarian crisis since independence, has been attributed in varying degrees, to a drought affecting the entire region, the HIV/AIDS epidemic, and the government's price controls and land reforms.

Life expectancy at birth for males in Zimbabwe has dramatically declined since 1990 from 60 to 37, among the lowest in the world. Life expectancy for females is even lower at 34 years. Concurrently, the infant mortality rate has climbed from 53 to 81 deaths per 1,000 live births in the same period. Currently, 1.8 million Zimbabweans live with HIV.

On 29 March, 2008, Zimbabwe held a presidential election along with a parliamentary election. The three major candidates were Robert Mugabe of the Zimbabwe African National Union - Patriotic Front (ZANU-PF), Morgan Tsvangirai of the Movement for Democratic Change – Tsvangirai (MDC-T), and Simba Makoni, an independent. The results of this election were withheld for several weeks, following which it was generally acknowledged that the MDC had achieved a significant majority of seats. However, Mugabe retained control and has not conceded the election results that would otherwise put him out of power.

In late 2008, problems in Zimbabwe reached crisis proportions in the areas of living standards, public health (with a major cholera outbreak in December) and various public considerations. Production of diamonds at Marange became the subject of international attention as more than 80 people were killed by the military and the World Diamond Council called for a clampdown on smuggling.

In September 2008, a power-sharing agreement, between Mugabe and Tsvangirai was reached, in which, while Mugabe remained president, Tsvangirai will become prime minister. However, due to ministerial differences between their respective political parties, the agreement was not fully implemented until February 13, 2009, two days after the swearing of Tsvangirai as Prime Minister of Zimbabwe.

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: 8.24%
permanent crops: 0.33%
other: 91.43% (2005)
Irrigated land: 1,740 sq km (2003)
Total renewable water resources: 20 cu km (1987)
Freshwater withdrawal (domestic/industrial/agricultural): total: 4.21 cu km/yr (14%/7%/79%)
per capita: 324 cu m/yr (2002)
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: 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
Politics

Zimbabwe is a semi-presidential system republic, which has a parliamentary government. Under constitutional changes in 2005, an upper chamber, the Senate, was reinstated. The House of Assembly is the lower chamber of Parliament.

President Robert Mugabe's Zimbabwe African National Union – Patriotic Front (commonly abbreviated ZANU-PF) has been the dominant political party in Zimbabwe since independence. In 1987 then-prime minister Mugabe revised the constitution and made himself president. His ZANU party has won every election since independence. In particular, the elections of 1990 were nationally and internationally condemned as being rigged, with the second-placed party, Edgar Tekere's Zimbabwe Unity Movement, winning only 16% of the vote. Presidential elections were again held in 2002 amid allegations of vote-rigging, intimidation and fraud. The 2005 Zimbabwe parliamentary elections were held on March 31 and multiple claims of vote rigging, election fraud and intimidation were made by the MDC and Jonathan Moyo, calling for investigations into 32 of the 120 constituencies. Jonathan Moyo participated in the elections despite the allegations and won a seat as an independent member of Parliament.

General elections were again held in Zimbabwe on 30 March 2008. The official results required a runoff between Mugabe and Morgan Tsvangirai, the opposition leader, however the MDC challenged these results, claiming widespread election fraud by the Mugabe government. The runoff was scheduled for June 27, 2008. On 22 June, however, citing the continuing unfairness of the process and refusing to participate in a "violent, illegitimate sham of an election process", Tsvangirai pulled out of the presidential run-off, effectively handing victory to Mugabe.

The MDC-T led by Morgan Tsvangirai is now the largest parliamentary party. The MDC was split into two factions. One faction (MDC-M), now led by Arthur Mutambara contested the elections to the Senate, while the other, led by Morgan Tsvangirai, opposed to contesting the elections, stating that participation in a rigged election is tantamount to endorsing Mugabe's claim that past elections were free and fair. However, the opposition parties have resumed participation in national and local elections as recently as 2006. The two MDC camps had their congresses in 2006 with Morgan Tsvangirai being elected to lead MDC-T, which has become more popular than the other group. Mutambara, a robotics professor and former NASA robotics specialist has replaced Welshman Ncube who was the interim leader of MDC-M after the split. Morgan Tsvangirai did not participate in the Senate elections, while the Mutambara faction participated and won five seats in the senate. The Mutambara formation has however been weakened by defections from MPs and individuals who are disillusioned by their manifesto. As of 2008, the Movement for Democratic Change – Tsvangirai has become the most popular, with crowds as large as 20,000 attending their rallies as compared to between 500–5,000 for the other formation.

On 28 April 2008, Tsvangirai and Mutambara announced at a joint news conference in Johannesburg that the two MDC formations were cooperating, enabling the MDC to have a clear parliamentary majority. Tsvangirai said that Mugabe could not remain President without a parliamentary majority. On the same day, Silaigwana announced that the recounts for the final five constituencies had been completed, that the results were being collated and that they would be published on 29 April.

In mid-September, 2008, after protracted negotiations overseen by the leaders of South Africa and Mozambique, Mugabe and Tsvangirai signed a power-sharing deal which would see Mugabe retain control over the army. Donor nations have adopted a 'wait-and-see' attitude, wanting to see real change being brought about by this merger before committing themselves to funding rebuilding efforts, which are estimated to take at least five years. On 11 February 2009 Tsvangirai was sworn in as Prime Minister by President Mugabe.

In November, 2008, the government of Zimbabwe spent $7.3 million donated by the Global Fund to Fight AIDS, Tuberculosis and Malaria. A representative of the organization declined to speculate on how the money was spent, except that it was not for the intended purpose, and the government has failed to honor requests to return the money.

People Population: 11,392,629
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 (July 2009 est.)
Age structure: 0-14 years: 43.9% (male 2,523,119/female 2,473,928)
15-64 years: 52.2% (male 2,666,928/female 3,283,474)
65 years and over: 3.9% (male 194,360/female 250,820) (2009 est.)
Median age: total: 17.6 years
male: 16.3 years
female: 18.8 years (2008 est.)
Population growth rate: 1.53% (2009 est.)
Birth rate: 31.62 births/1,000 population (2008 est.)
Death rate: 17.29 deaths/1,000 population (2008 est.)
Net migration rate: NA
note: there is an increasing flow of Zimbabweans into South Africa and Botswana in search of better economic opportunities (2009 est.)
Sex ratio: at birth: 1.03 male(s)/female
under 15 years: 1.02 male(s)/female
15-64 years: 0.81 male(s)/female
65 years and over: 0.78 male(s)/female
total population: 0.9 male(s)/female (2009 est.)
Infant mortality rate: total: 32.31 deaths/1,000 live births
male: 34.9 deaths/1,000 live births
female: 29.64 deaths/1,000 live births (2009 est.)
Life expectancy at birth: total population: 45.77 years
male: 46.36 years
female: 45.16 years (2009 est.)
Total fertility rate: 3.69 children born/woman (2009 est.)
HIV/AIDS - adult prevalence rate: 15.3% (2007 est.)
HIV/AIDS - people living with HIV/AIDS: 1.3 million (2007 est.)
HIV/AIDS - deaths: 140,000 (2007 est.)
Major infectious diseases: degree of risk: high
food or waterborne diseases: bacterial and protozoal diarrhea, hepatitis A, and typhoid fever
vectorborne disease: malaria
water contact disease: schistosomiasis
animal contact disease: rabies (2008)
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.)
School life expectancy (primary to tertiary education): total: 9 years
male: 9 years
female: 9 years (2003)
Education expenditures: 4.6% of GDP (2000)
Government Country name: conventional long form: Republic of Zimbabwe
conventional short form: Zimbabwe
former: Southern Rhodesia, Rhodesia
Government type: parliamentary democracy
Capital: name: Harare
geographic coordinates: 17 50 S, 31 03 E
time difference: UTC+2 (7 hours ahead of Washington, DC during Standard Time)
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; has not accepted compulsory ICJ jurisdiction
Suffrage: 18 years of age; universal
Executive branch: chief of state: Executive President Robert Gabriel MUGABE (since 31 December 1987); Vice President Joseph MSIKA (since December 1999) and Vice President Joyce MUJURU (since 6 December 2004)
head of government: Prime Minister Morgan TSVANGIRAI (since 11 February 2009);
cabinet: Cabinet appointed by the president; responsible to the House of Assembly
elections: presidential candidates nominated with a nomination paper signed by at least 10 registered voters (at least one from each province) and elected by popular vote for a five-year term (no term limits); elections last held 28 March 2008 followed by a run-off on 27 June 2008 (next to be held in 2013); co-vice presidents appointed by the president
election results: Robert Gabriel MUGABE reelected president; percent of vote - Robert Gabriel MUGABE 85.5%, Morgan TSVANGIRAI 9.3%, other 5.2%; note - first round voting results - Morgan TSVANGIRAI 47.9%, Robert Gabriel MUGABE 43.2%, Simba MAKONI 8.3%, other 0.6%; first-round round polls were deemed to be flawed suppressing TSVANGIRAI's results; the 27 June 2008 run-off between MUGABE and TSVANGIRAI were severely flawed and internationally condemned
Legislative branch: bicameral Parliament consists of a Senate (93 seats - 60 elected by popular vote for a five-year term, 10 provincial governors nominated by the president, 16 traditional chiefs elected by the Council of Chiefs, 2 held by the president and deputy president of the Council of Chiefs, and 5 appointed by the president) and a House of Assembly (210 seats - all elected by popular vote for five-year terms)
elections: last held 28 March 2008 (next to be held in 2013)
election results: Senate - percent of vote by party - MDC 51.6%, ZANU-PF 45.8%, other 2.6%; seats by party - MDC 30, ZANU-PF 30; House of Assembly - percent of vote by party - MDC 51.3%, ZANU-PF 45.8%, other 2.9%; seats by party - MDC 109, ZANU-PF 97, other 4
Judicial branch: Supreme Court; High Court
Political parties and leaders: African National Party or ANP [Egypt DZINEMUNHENZVA]; Movement for Democratic Change or MDC [Morgan TSVANGIRAI, Arthur MUTAMBARA, splinter faction]; Peace Action is Freedom for All or PAFA; United Parties [Abel MUZOREWA]; United People's Party or UPP [Daniel SHUMBA]; Zimbabwe African National Union-Ndonga or ZANU-Ndonga [Wilson KUMBULA]; Zimbabwe African National Union-Patriotic Front or ZANU-PF [Robert Gabriel MUGABE]; Zimbabwe African Peoples Union or ZAPU [Agrippa MADLELA]; Zimbabwe Youth in Alliance or ZIYA
Political pressure groups and leaders: Crisis in Zimbabwe Coalition [Xolani ZITHA]; National Constitutional Assembly or NCA [Lovemore MADHUKU]; Women of Zimbabwe Arise or WOZA [Jenny WILLIAMS]; Zimbabwe Congress of Trade Unions or ZCTU [Wellington CHIBEBE]
International organization participation: ACP, AfDB, AU, COMESA, FAO, G-15, G-77, IAEA, IBRD, ICAO, ICCt (signatory), ICRM, IDA, IFAD, IFC, IFRCS, ILO, IMF, IMO, Interpol, IOC, IOM, IPU, ISO, ITSO, ITU, ITUC, MIGA, NAM, OPCW, PCA, SADC, UN, UNCTAD, UNESCO, UNIDO, UNMIL, UNMIS, UNOCI, UNWTO, UPU, WCL, WCO, WFTU, WHO, WIPO, WMO, WTO
Diplomatic representation in the US: chief of mission: Ambassador Machivenyika MAPURANGA
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 James D. MCGEE
embassy: 172 Herbert Chitepo Avenue, Harare
mailing address: P. O. Box 3340, Harare
telephone: [263] (4) 250-593 and 250-594
FAX: [263] (4) 796-488, or 722-618
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 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 symbolizes agriculture, yellow - mineral wealth, red - blood shed to achieve independence, and black stands for the native people
Culture

Zimbabwe first celebrated its independence on 18 April, 1980. Celebrations are held at the National Sports Stadium in Harare where the first independence celebrations were held in 1980. At these celebrations doves are released to symbolise peace and fighter jets fly over and the national anthem is sung. The flame of independence is lit by the president after parades by the presidential family and members of the armed forces of Zimbabwe. The president also gives a speech to the people of Zimbabwe which is televised for those unable to attend the stadium.

Football and cricket are the most popular sports in Zimbabwe. The citizens of Zimbabwe have won eight medals in the Olympic Games, one in field hockey at the 1980 Summer games in Moscow, three in swimming at the 2004 Summer games in Athens and another four at the 2008 Summer games .

Zimbabwe has also done well in the Commonwealth Games and All-Africa Games in swimming with Kirsty Coventry obtaining 11 gold medals in the different competitions. Zimbabwe has also competed at Wimbledon and the Davis Cup in tennis, most notably with the Black family, which comprises Wayne Black, Byron Black and Cara Black.

Traditional arts in Zimbabwe include pottery, basketry, textiles, jewelry and carving. Among the distinctive qualities are symmetrically patterned woven baskets and stools carved out of a single piece of wood. Shona sculpture has become world famous in recent years having first emerged in the 1940s. Most subjects of carved figures of stylised birds and human figures among others are made with sedimentary rocks such as soapstone, as well as harder igneous rocks such as serpentine and the rare stone verdite. Shona sculpture in essence has been a fusion of African folklore with European influences. Internationally famous artists include Henry Mudzengerere and Nicolas Mukomberanwa. A recurring theme in Zimbabwean art is the metamorphosis of man into beast. Zimbabwean musicians like Thomas Mapfumo, Oliver Mtukudzi, the Bhundu Boys and Audius Mtawarira have achieved international recognition.

Several authors are well known within Zimbabwe and abroad. Charles Mungoshi is renowned in Zimbabwe for writing traditional stories in English and in Shona and his poems and books have sold well with both the black and white communities. Catherine Buckle has achieved international recognition with her two books African Tears and Beyond Tears which tell of the ordeal she went through under the 2000 Land Reform. Prime Minister of Rhodesia, the late Ian Smith, has also written two books — The Great Betrayal and Bitter Harvest. The book The House of Hunger by Dambudzo Marechera won an award in the UK in 1979 and the Nobel Prize-winning author Doris Lessing's first novel The Grass Is Singing is set in Rhodesia.

Economy Economy - overview: The government of Zimbabwe faces a wide variety of difficult economic problems as it struggles with an unsustainable fiscal deficit, an overvalued official exchange rate, hyperinflation, and bare store shelves. Its 1998-2002 involvement in the war in the Democratic Republic of the Congo drained hundreds of millions of dollars from the economy. The government's land reform program, characterized by chaos and violence, has badly damaged the commercial farming sector, the traditional source of exports and foreign exchange and the provider of 400,000 jobs, turning Zimbabwe into a net importer of food products. The EU and the US provide food aid on humanitarian grounds. Badly needed support from the IMF has been suspended because of the government's arrears on past loans and the government's unwillingness to enact reforms that would stabilize the economy. The Reserve Bank of Zimbabwe routinely prints money to fund the budget deficit, causing the official annual inflation rate to rise from 32% in 1998, to 133% in 2004, 585% in 2005, passed 1000% in 2006, and 26000% in November 2007, and to 11.2 million percent in 2008. Meanwhile, the official exchange rate fell from approximately 1 (revalued) Zimbabwean dollar per US dollar in 2003 to 30,000 per US dollar in September 2007.
GDP (purchasing power parity): $2.292 billion (2008 est.)
GDP (official exchange rate): $4.548 billion
note: hyperinflation and the plunging value of the Zimbabwean dollar makes Zimbabwe's GDP at the official exchange rate a highly inaccurate statistic (2008 est.)
GDP - real growth rate: -6.2% (2008 est.)
GDP - per capita (PPP): $200 (2008 est.)
GDP - composition by sector: agriculture: 18.1%
industry: 22.6%
services: 59.3% (2008 est.)
Labor force: 4.039 million (2008 est.)
Labor force - by occupation: agriculture: 66%
industry: 10%
services: 24% (1996)
Unemployment rate: 80% (2005 est.)
Population below poverty line: 68% (2004)
Household income or consumption by percentage share: lowest 10%: 2%
highest 10%: 40.4% (1995)
Distribution of family income - Gini index: 50.1 (2006)
Investment (gross fixed): 17.5% of GDP (2008 est.)
Budget: revenues: $153,700
expenditures: $179,300 (2008 est.)
Fiscal year: calendar year
Public debt: 241.2% of GDP (2008 est.)
Inflation rate (consumer prices): 11.2 million% (2008 est.)
Central bank discount rate: 975% (31 December 2007)
Commercial bank prime lending rate: 578.96% (31 December 2007)
Stock of money: $14.18 billion
note: This number reflects the vastly overvalued official exchange rate of 30,000 Zimbabwe dollars per US dollar. At an unofficial rate of 800,000 Zimbabwe dollars per US dollar, the stock of Zimbabwe dollars would equal only about US$500 million and Zimbabwe's velocity of money (the number of times money turns over in the course of a year) would be nine, in line with the velocity of money for other countries in the region. (31 December 2007)
Stock of quasi money: $5.349 billion (31 December 2007)
Stock of domestic credit: $24.91 billion (31 December 2007)
Market value of publicly traded shares: $5.333 billion (31 December 2007)
Agriculture - products: corn, cotton, tobacco, wheat, coffee, sugarcane, peanuts; sheep, goats, pigs
Industries: mining (coal, gold, platinum, copper, nickel, tin, clay, numerous metallic and nonmetallic ores), steel; wood products, cement, chemicals, fertilizer, clothing and footwear, foodstuffs, beverages
Industrial production growth rate: -6% (2008 est.)
Electricity - production: 9.467 billion kWh (2006 est.)
Electricity - consumption: 11.59 billion kWh (2006 est.)
Electricity - exports: 34 million kWh (2006 est.)
Electricity - imports: 2.867 billion kWh (2006 est.)
Electricity - production by source: fossil fuel: 47%
hydro: 53%
nuclear: 0%
other: 0% (2001)
Oil - production: 0 bbl/day (2007 est.)
Oil - consumption: 14,590 bbl/day (2006 est.)
Oil - exports: 0 bbl/day (2005 est.)
Oil - imports: 15,800 bbl/day (2005 est.)
Oil - proved reserves: 0 bbl (1 January 2006 est.)
Natural gas - production: 0 cu m (2007 est.)
Natural gas - consumption: 0 cu m (2007 est.)
Natural gas - exports: 0 cu m (2007 est.)
Natural gas - imports: 0 cu m (2007 est.)
Natural gas - proved reserves: 0 cu m (1 January 2006 est.)
Current account balance: -$597 million (2008 est.)
Exports: $1.806 billion f.o.b. (2008 est.)
Exports - commodities: platinum, cotton, tobacco, gold, ferroalloys, textiles/clothing
Exports - partners: South Africa 33.8%, Democratic Republic of the Congo 8.3%, Japan 8.1%, Botswana 7.4%, Netherlands 5.2%, China 5.2%, Italy 4.1%, Zambia 4.1% (2007)
Imports: $2.337 billion f.o.b. (2008 est.)
Imports - commodities: machinery and transport equipment, other manufactures, chemicals, fuels
Imports - partners: South Africa 50.7%, China 8.4%, US 4.5%, Botswana 4.3% (2007)
Economic aid - recipient: $367.7 million (2005 est.)
Reserves of foreign exchange and gold: $100 million (31 December 2008 est.)
Debt - external: $5.255 billion (31 December 2008 est.)
Stock of direct foreign investment - at home: $NA
Stock of direct foreign investment - abroad: $NA
Currency (code): Zimbabwean dollar (ZWD)
Currency code: ZWD
Exchange rates: Zimbabwean dollars (ZWD) per US dollar - NA (2008 est.), 30,000 (2007), 162.07 (2006), 77.965 (2005), 5.729 (2004)
note: these are official exchange rates; non-official rates vary significantly
Communications Telephones - main lines in use: 344,500 (2007)
Telephones - mobile cellular: 1.226 million (2007)
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: country code - 263; satellite earth stations - 2 Intelsat; 2 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 hosts: 19,157 (2008)
Internet Service Providers (ISPs): 6 (2000)
Internet users: 1.351 million (2007)
Transportation Airports: 341 (2007)
Airports - with paved runways: total: 19
over 3,047 m: 3
2,438 to 3,047 m: 2
1,524 to 2,437 m: 4
914 to 1,523 m: 10 (2007)
Airports - with unpaved runways: total: 322
1,524 to 2,437 m: 4
914 to 1,523 m: 152
under 914 m: 166 (2007)
Pipelines: refined products 270 km (2008)
Railways: total: 3,077 km
narrow gauge: 3,077 km 1.067-m gauge (313 km electrified) (2006)
Roadways: total: 97,267 km
paved: 18,481 km
unpaved: 78,786 km (2002)
Waterways: on Lake Kariba (2008)
Ports and terminals: Binga, Kariba
Military Military branches: Zimbabwe Defense Forces (ZDF): Zimbabwe National Army (ZNA), Air Force of Zimbabwe (AFZ), Zimbabwe Republic Police (ZRP) (2009)
Military service age and obligation: 18-24 years of age for compulsory military service; women are eligible to serve (2007)
Manpower available for military service: males age 16-49: 3,264,258
females age 16-49: 3,048,049 (2008 est.)
Manpower fit for military service: males age 16-49: 1,198,727
females age 16-49: 1,436,232 (2009 est.)
Manpower reaching militarily significant age annually: male: 149,592
female: 149,717 (2009 est.)
Military expenditures: 3.8% of GDP (2006)
Transnational Issues Disputes - international: Botswana built electric fences and South Africa has placed military along the border to stem the flow of thousands of Zimbabweans fleeing to find work and escape political persecution; 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
Refugees and internally displaced persons: refugees (country of origin): 2,500 (Democratic Republic of Congo)
IDPs: 569,685 (MUGABE-led political violence, human rights violations, land reform, and economic collapse) (2007)
Trafficking in persons: current situation: Zimbabwe is a source, transit, and destination country for men, women, and children trafficked for the purposes of forced labor and sexual exploitation; large scale migration of Zimbabweans to surrounding countries - as they flee a progressively more desperate situation at home - has increased; rural Zimbabwean men, women, and children are trafficked internally to farms for agricultural labor and domestic servitude and to cities for domestic labor and commercial sexual exploitation; young men and boys are trafficked to South Africa for farm work, often laboring for months in South Africa without pay before "employers" have them arrested and deported as illegal immigrants; young women and girls are lured abroad with false employment offers that result in involuntary domestic servitude or commercial sexual exploitation; men, women, and children from neighboring states are trafficked through Zimbabwe en route to South Africa
tier rating: Tier 2 Watch List - Zimbabwe is on the Tier 2 Watch List for its failure to provide evidence of increasing efforts to combat severe forms of human trafficking, and because the absolute number of victims of severe forms of trafficking is significantly increasing; the trafficking situation in the country is worsening as more of the population is made vulnerable by declining socio-economic conditions (2008)
Illicit drugs: transit point for cannabis and South Asian heroin, mandrax, and methamphetamines en route to South Africa