Zimbabwe

 

The UK annexed Southern Rhodesia from the [British] South Africa Company in 1923. A 1961 constitution was formulated that favoured 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 re-election.

 

Geography:
Location: Southern Africa, between South Africa and Zambia
Geographic coordinates: 20 00 S, 30 00 E
People:
Population: 12,619,600 (July 2012 est.)

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

Age structure: 0-14 years: 41.9% (male 2,555,916/female 2,504,947)

15-64 years: 54.3% (male 3,063,580/female 3,500,366)

65 years and over: 3.8% (male 193,380/female 266,115) (2011 est.)

Government:
Country name: conventional long form: Republic of Zimbabwe

conventional short form: Zimbabwe

former: Southern Rhodesia, Rhodesia

Government type: parliamentary democracy
Communications:
Telephones – main lines in use: 379,000 (2009)
Telephones – mobile cellular: 7.5 million (2009)
Transportation:
Airports: 202 (2012)
Airports – with paved runways: total: 17

over 3,047 m: 3

2,438 to 3,047 m: 2

1,524 to 2,437 m: 5

914 to 1,523 m: 7 (2012)

Military:
Military branches: Zimbabwe Defence 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 voluntary military service; no conscription; women are eligible to serve (2012)

Economy:

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.

Transnational Issues:

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.