Africa: Zimbabwe

About Zimbabwe

The UK annexed Southern Rhodesia from the South Africa Company in 1923. A 1961 constitution was formulated to keep whites in power. In 1965 the government unilaterally declared its independence, but the UK did not recognize the act and demanded 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.

Vital Statistics
Capitol City: Harare
Population: 11,365,366
Percent below poverty: 60% (1999 est.)
Language: English (official), Shona
Date of independence: 18 April 1980 (from UK)
Form of government: parliamentary democracy
Title of Leader: president
Natural Resources: coal, iron ore, bauxite, zinc, potash, timber, fish
Environmental 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
Agricultural Products: corn, cotton, tobacco, wheat, coffee, sugarcane, peanuts; cattle, sheep, goats, pigs
Imports: machinery and transport equipment 35%, other manufactures 18%, chemicals 17%, fuels 14% (1999 est.)
Exports: corn, cotton, tobacco, wheat, coffee, sugarcane, peanuts; cattle, sheep, goats, pigs
Trading Partners: IMPORTS: South Africa 46%, UK 6%, China 4%, Germany 4%, US 3% (1999 est.)
EXPORTS: South Africa 10%, UK 9%, Malawi 8%, Botswana 8%, Japan 7%, (1999 est.)


Zimbabwe Headlines


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