Zimbabwe - Statistics & Facts

Published by H. Plecher, May 17, 2018
Zimbabwe is located in Southern Africa, and it has an estimated population of nearly 15 million people. Around a third of the overall population lives in cities, a modest share compared to other countries. The most populated city is the capital, Harare, which is home to one and a half million people. The standard of living in Zimbabwe is quite low, as is the healthcare standard, evident in a remarkably low life expectancy at birth, a high prevalence of HIV, and a high fertility rate.

Recently, Zimbabwe’s situation came to attention on the worldwide political scene, when in November 2017, the army took control of the capital. After a 37 year-rule of the country, the then-president, Robert Mugabe, who was notorious for ruling in a dictator-like fashion, was forced to resign from its position, with the military taking over the government. Shortly after, the position was filled by one of Mugabe’s closest allies and aides, Emmerson Mnangagwa. Although Zimbabwe's living conditions are rather dismal, Mugabe seems to be highly respected by the majority of inhabitants, probably due to the fact that he was considered a revolutionary and a progressive leader when he first took office. However, he bears the responsibility for the country's current state.

Although this was seen by many as a coup d’état, the army denied these claims. However, the November coup in Zimbabwe is among the few overthrows of government that were considered successful. In the last 7 years, there were 29 coup attempts worldwide, out of which only 7 were successful. All in all, the number of successful coup d’états dropped considerably in the last decades. Interestingly enough, the majority of these coups took place in Africa, where the majority of countries are among the poorest in the world.

Being under an economic upheaval for nearly 40 years, Zimbabwe's dictatorship-like regime has put quite the financial strain on the economic sector. Zimbabwe’s government borrowed high sums of money from the IMF in 2014 to cope. As a result, the country’s national debt accounted for nearly 50 percent of the country’s gross domestic product in 2014, and is expected to jump to a staggering 71.85 percent in 2022. Additionally, the growth rate of GDP is expected to increase by a mere 0.3 percent by 2019, afterwards continuing on a negative trend.

Zimbabwe’s economy is highly dependent on mining and the agriculture industry. Platinum, palladium, lithium, and diamond mine production are among the most important commodities in the country. As a result, Zimbabwe is among the major countries manufacturing/harvesting these products/assets. The value of goods exported from Zimbabwe in 2016 was around 3.3 billion U.S. dollars and is expected to reach about 4 billion soon, but since Zimbabwe heavily relies on imports, its trade balance has been in the red for more than a decade now.

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