Zimbabwe Facts

Brief History from the CIA Factbook: 

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. 


In April 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. 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 failed to agree upon many key outstanding governmental issues. MUGABE was reelected president in June 2013 in balloting that was severely flawed and internationally condemned.

Population and Geography:

Zimbabwe 2012 population:  13.72 Million

U.S 2012 Population: 313 Million

Pennsylvania: 12.7 Million

Ohio: 11.5 Million

Most Populous cities in Zimbabwe.

Harare: 1.6 Million

Bulawayo: 700,000

Chitungwiza: 350,000

Mutare: 200,000

Zimbabwe area and Religion: 

151,000 Sq Miles

U.S. area: 3.8 Million Sq Miles

Montana (closest state): 147,000 Sq Miles

Pennsylvania: 46,000 Sq Miles

Ohio: 45,000 Sq Miles

Syncretic (part Christian, part Indigenous beliefs): 50%

Christian: 25%

Indigenous beliefs: 24%

Muslim and other: 1%

Ethnic Groups and Language:

African: 98%

Mixed and Asian: 1%

White: Less than 1%

English (official)


Age Structure 
(U.S in parenthesis) and Population Growth Rate:

0-14 years: 39.4% (20%)

15-24 years: 22.5% (13.7%)

25-54 years: 30.8% (40.2%)

55-64 years: 3.7% (12.3%)

65 years and over: 3.6% (13.9%)

4.38% (2nd highest in the world)

0.9% in the U.S. (124th in the world)

Zimbabwe Economy and GDP

1998-2008 was a decade of contraction

2010-2011 saw a 9% growth

2012-2013 saw a 5% growth

$7.36 Billion (158th in the world)

US GDP: $15.94 Trillion (1st in the world)

Zimbabwe GDP Per capita: $600 (4th worst in the world)

US GDP Per capita: $50,700 (13th in the world)

Zimbabwe GDP by Sector and US GDP By Sector:

20.3% – Agriculture

25.1% – Industry

54.6% Services

1.1% – Agriculture

19.2% – Industry:

79.7% – Services

Others Zimbabwe Facts

Zimbabwe Top Agriculture: Corn, Cotton, Tabacco, Wheat, Coffee, Sugarcane, Peanuts, sheep, goats, pigs

Zimbabwe Top Industries: mining (coal, gold, diamonds), steel, wood products

Labor Force: 3.93 million

Zimbabwe Unemployment rate (2009 estimate) 95% (worst in the world)

US Unemployment rate (2012): 8.1%

Zimbabwe Population below poverty line: 68%

US Population below the poverty line: 15.1%

Public debt: 244.20% of GDP (Highest ratio of debt to GDP in the world)

Inflation: 8.2% (186th in the world)