Zimbabwe
A landlocked country in southern Africa bordered by Zambia, Mozambique, South Africa, and Botswana.

country zimbabwe

Quick Facts

Number of AIDS Orphans: 450,000 (2015)
United Nations Program on HIV/AIDS

HIV/AIDS Adult Prevalence Rate: 14.69% (2015)
CIA

People living with HIV/AIDS: 1.4 million (2015)
World Health Organization

HIV/AIDS Deaths: 29,400 (2015)
World Health Organization

Unemployment Rate: 95% (2010)
CIA

Children under 5 years of age Underweight: 11.2% (2014)
CIA

 

Zimbabwe is a landlocked country in southern Africa bordered by Zambia, Mozambique, South Africa, and Botswana. Most of Zimbabwe sits on a high plateau traversing the country from southwest to northeast. The Zambezi River, dammed to form Lake Kariba, provides abundant hydroelectric power for both Zimbabwe and Zambia. Other natural resources include coal, chromium, gold, nickel, copper, iron ore, tin, and platinum.

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  • Learn More about Zimbabwe

    Manufacturing provides about 24 percent of the national income, with exports including tobacco, gold, ferroalloys, and textiles. Agriculture, the main source of income for 66 percent of the population, provides 18 percent of the national income. Major products include corn, cotton, tobacco, wheat, coffee, sugarcane, peanuts, and livestock. Subsistence farming still predominates with maize and millet as staple crops.

    In 1923 European settlers voted to become the self-governing British colony of what was then called Southern Rhodesia. A first bid for independence in 1965 was not recognized by the UK, however, as it limited the rights of the black majority. In 1979 UN sanctions and a guerrilla uprising resulted in free elections. Robert Mugabe won the presidency in a landslide victory soon after, and the country—now called Zimbabwe—gained independence on April 17, 1980. Political and economic issues undermined the progress of Zimbabwe, though. The president's controversial land distribution campaign, launched in 2000, negatively impacted the economy by causing widespread departure of European farmers. Commercial farming was nearly destroyed, 400,000 jobs were lost, and basic commodities faced huge shortages.

    In 2002 exceptionally high rainfall followed by extreme drought destroyed crops throughout southern Africa. Massive food shortages resulted in millions of people being at risk of hunger, malnutrition, and other life-compromising conditions. Zimbabwe was the worst-affected country in the region with seven million people at risk.

    The HIV/AIDS pandemic also has wreaked havoc in Zimbabwe. With 1.2 million people living with the disease, Zimbabwe has a high prevalence rate at 14.3 percent. Life expectancy and population growth have been adversely affected, and 1 million children have lost one or both parents to the disease. The economic status of families has declined as well: 70 percent of the people live below the poverty line; the inflation rate became so bad that Zimbabwe abandoned it's own currency in favor of the more stable US dollar; and unemployment is at 95 percent.