Zimbabwe Demography and Economic Geography

By | June 6, 2022

Internal state of southern Africa. According to Homosociety, the population of the Zimbabwe (54% under the age of 19 and growth of 0.6% per year in the period 2005-10 and of 2.8% in the period 2010-15), has gone from 11,631,657 residents at the 2002 census to 13,061,239 residents to that of 2012, and then to 14,599,325 residents in 2014, according to an estimate by UNDESA (United Nations Department of Economic and Social Affairs). The urban population (33%) mainly affects the capital, Harare (1,485,231 residents), Bulawayo (653,337 residents) And Chitungwiza (356,840 residents). With life expectancy at birth of 59.9 years (2013), literacy rate at 87% and GDP per capita at purchasing power parity (PPA) of $ 2027 (2014), Zimbabwe ranks 156th in the Human Development Index. Moreover, according to national statistics (2013), poverty affects 72% of the population, especially in rural areas, and according to UNAIDS (Joint United Nations Program on HIV and AIDS) estimates of 2013 AIDS / HIV (Acquired Immune Deficiency Syndrome / Human Immunodeficiency Virus) affects 1,400,000 people (8th place in the world for number of patients).

Economic conditions. – After the depression of the period 1999-2008, the economy of the Zimbabwe returned to growth in 2009, registering an increase in GDP of 20% in the three-year period 2009-11 and of 3-4% per year in the following three-year period (2012- 14). Overall, the economy, in addition to widespread corruption and political uncertainty, remains vulnerable both to weather conditions, which affect agricultural production, and to fluctuations in prices on the international market, with repercussions above all on the mining sector.. The sectors that contributed to the recovery are different. First of all, mining, which experienced, in the three-year period 2009-11, a growth of + 107%, thanks to the extraction of diamonds (11 million carats; 3rd world producer, 2013), gold (14,000 tons), but also platinum, carbon, nickel. During the same period, the service sector registered + 51%, contributing to 56% of GDP, even after the sharp slowdown in recent years; the manufacturing sector contributes + 22%, now falling due to lack of investments; and agriculture for + 35%. Zimbabwe is among the world’s leading producers of tea (19,000 t, 2012) and tobacco (115,000 t, 2012). The tourism sector (1,794,000 admissions in 2012) could represent an important economic driver.


In March 2008, the country faced the political elections in the midst of a dramatic crisis: inflation and unemployment at very high rates, a steadily decreasing GDP, a growing emigration, a very hard clash between the political forces. Despite the violence against the opposition, 99 seats went to the Movement for Democratic Change (MDC) and 97 to the Zimbabwe African national union-Patriotic front (ZANU-PF). In the presidential election, Morgan Tsvangirai won 47.9% of the votes in the first round against Robert Gabriel Mugabe’s 43.2%. The delay in the official announcement of the results exacerbated the tension and contributed to the international isolation of the country.

Tsvangirai, faced with the violence and murders that hit members and militants of his party, after having himself undergone an arbitrary arrest and having been forced to flee for a short time in the Republic of South Africa, decided not to appear in the ballot. The electoral commission, judging his withdrawal illegitimate, excluded him from the consultation and Mugabe, who remained the only candidate, came out of the polls the winner. The result, however, was contested by international organizations and the African Union. In July, Mugabe, pressured by pressure from Western countries – the USA and Great Britain renewed the sanctions established in 2002 against important companies and politicians considered unwelcome, including Mugabe himself – and by governments throughout southern Africa, opened a negotiated with the opposition.

In September 2008, with the mediation of South Africa, a memorandum of understanding was signed which provided for a government of national unity: Mugabe retained the presidency of the Republic and command of the armed forces, while Tsvangirai assumed the office of prime minister. The new government, which saw the light at the beginning of 2009 marked by enormous internal tensions, decided, among its first measures, the abandonment of the national currency, allowing the circulation of various foreign currencies and adopting, as a unit of account, the dollar. American. During 2010 and 2011 there was a reduction in sanctions (further eased by the European Union in 2014).

However, the decline in hyperinflation did not mark a turnaround in the economic situation, which remained substantially stagnant in the following years, with very high foreign debt and unemployment rates and a chronic shortage of capital. This critical economic context was accompanied by a progressive deterioration of the political situation, despite the launch of the new Constitution, approved in a referendum in March 2013 and the result of an evident compromise. The text envisaged a limit of two terms for the office of president, but the rule had no retroactive value; the office of prime minister was abolished, but the legislative power was strengthened, at least on paper; a constitutional court was established and gender representation increased.

In July 2013, elections were held which saw the victory of Mugabe, with 61% of the votes, and of his party, which won a solid parliamentary majority. Tsvangirai, no longer prime minister since September 2013, contested the election results, while the winning nonagenarian allowed the struggle for his succession to break out in his party. In fact, the disquieting growth of power of first lady Grace Mugabe was reflected in the removal from the direction of vice president Joice Mujuru in December 2014.

Zimbabwe Demography