Visit Your Local PBS Station PBS Home PBS Home Programs A-Z TV Schedules Watch Video Donate Shop PBS Search PBS
Journey to Planet Earth
Join us on:  You Tube  Facebook  Twitter
Plan B: Mobilizing to Save CivilizationState of the Planet's OceansState of the Ocean's AnimalsState of the Planet's WildlifeState of the PlanetFuture ConditionalHot ZonesSeas of GrassOn the BrinkLand of Plenty, Land of WantUrban ExplosionRivers of Destiny
   The Programs
   Stories of Hope
   Ecosystems

   Country Profiles

Back to Map

   Educational Resources
Country Profiles: Zimbabwe


Flag, map and facts courtesy of CIA World Factbook 2002

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.
Location
Map of Zimbabwe
Southern Africa, between South Africa and Zambia
Area total: 390,580 sq km
water: 3,910 sq km
land: 386,670 sq km
Area - comparative slightly larger than Montana
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%
permanent crops: 1%
other: 91% (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
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
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.)
Infant mortality rate 62.97 deaths/1,000 live births (2002 est.)
Life expectancy at birth total population: 36.5 years
female: 35.1 years (2002 est.)
male: 37.87 years
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: 85%
male: 90%
female: 80% (1995 est.)
Government type parliamentary democracy
Capital Harare
Independence 18 April 1980 (from UK)
Legal system mixture of Roman-Dutch and English common law
Suffrage 18 years of age; universal
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

Flag of 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 - per capita purchasing power parity - $2,450 (2001 est.)
Population below poverty line 60% (1999 est.)
Labor force 5.5 million (2000 est.)
Unemployment rate 60% (2001 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
Agriculture - products corn, cotton, tobacco, wheat, coffee, sugarcane, peanuts; cattle, sheep, goats, pigs
Exports - commodities tobacco 30%, gold 11%, ferroalloys 9%, textile/clothing 3% (2000)
Imports - commodities machinery and transport equipment 34%, other manufactures 18%, chemicals 17%, fuels 11% (1999)

Back to Top

 

Site Credits | Contact | Pledge
Purchase | Newsletter Signup


Plan B: Mobilizing to Save Civilization | State of the Planet's Oceans | State of the Ocean's Animals
State of the Planet's Wildlife | The State of the Planet | Future Conditional | On the Brink | Hot Zones
Seas of Grass | Land of Plenty, Land of Want | Urban Explosion | Rivers of Destiny


PBS Privacy Policy    © 2014 Screenscope, Inc.     All rights reserved