BlackFacts Details


U.S. Department of State Background Note



Republic of Zimbabwe


Area: 390,580 sq. km. (150,760 sq. mi.), slightly larger than Montana.

Cities: Capital--Harare (pronounced Ha-RAR-e), pop. 1.5 million. Other towns--Bulawayo, Chitungwiza, Mutare, Gweru, Kwekwe, Masvingo, Marondera.

Terrain: Desert and savanna.

Climate: Mostly subtropical.


Nationality: Noun and adjective--Zimbabwean (sing.), Zimbabweans (pl.).

Population (2003 est.): 12.5 million.

Annual growth rate (2003 est.): 0.83%. (Note: the population growth rate is depressed by an HIV/AIDS adult prevalence rate estimated to be 18% and a high level of net emigration.)

Ethnic groups: Shona 71%, Ndebele 16%, other African 11%, white 1%, mixed and Asian 1%.

Religions: Christianity 75%, offshoot Christian sects, animist, and Muslim.

Languages: English (official), Shona, Sindebele.

Education: Attendance--mandatory for primary level. Adult literacy--90.5% (2004 est.).

Health: Infant mortality rate--51.7/1,000 (2006 est.). Life expectancy--men 37 (2006), women 34 (2006).

Work force (2006 est.): 900,000 in formal sector.


Type: Parliamentary.

Constitution: December 21, 1979.

Independence: April 18, 1980.

Branches: Executive--President (chief of state and head of government), Cabinet. Legislative--In the 150-seat House of Assembly, 120 seats are popularly elected and 30 are directly appointed by the president or selected through a process strongly influenced by him. In the 66 seat Senate, 50 seats are popularly elected, 6 are directly appointed by the president, 8 chiefs are elected from the 8 rural provinces (excluding the metropolitan provinces), and 2 are the president and vice president of the Council of Chiefs. Judicial--High Court, Court of Appeal, local and customary courts.

Administrative subdivisions: Town Councils and District Councils.

Main political parties: Zimbabwe African National Union-Patriotic Front (ZANU-PF); Movement for Democratic Change (MDC); United Peoples Party (UPP).


GDP (2006