Once the breadbasket of Africa, the Republic of Zimbabwe now depends on imported food and emergency aid.


  • Except for some mountains in the east, most of the country is situated on a plateau.
  • The climate is sub-tropical due to the high elevation.
  • The savannah features some of the densest wildlife populations in Africa.1
  • Deforestation, land degradation, poaching and pollution from poor mining practices are threats


  • 66% of the labor force depends on agriculture,2 which contributes 17% of GDP.3
  • Crops include maize, wheat, millet, sorghum, cassava, groundnuts and bananas; cotton and cattle production have declined.4
  • Tobacco is its most important cash crop.
  • Land reform issues have undermined food production in some areas.


  • One of the world’s largest waterfalls, Victoria Falls, lies in the northwest and is fed by the Zambezi River.
  • The country is bordered by the Limpopo River in the south.
  • Average annual rainfall is 650 mm, and only 37% of the country receives adequate rainfall for agriculture.5
  • A lack of capital and water availability limit irrigation.


  • Coal is the main energy source.6
  • The country imports two-fifths of its electricity; power outages are common.7
  • The Kariba Dam on the Zambezi River provides Zambia and Zimbabwe 1,600 MW of electricity annually.8
  • Completed in 1959, the dam faces major structural issues with its foundation.9


  • Hyperinflation, along with food and fuel shortages, has undermined stable economic growth.
  • 72% of the population lives below the poverty line.10
  • Since the 1990s, 20% of the population has left.11
  • Many households depend on aid and remittances.12
  • The mining sector remains robust with large reserves of gold, platinum and diamonds.13

Photos:1,2,3,5-David Brazier/IWMI; 4-Dave Cross/Creative Commons;


[1] http://www.britannica.com/EBchecked/topic/657149/Zimbabwe/44145/Climate

[2] https://www.cia.gov/library/publications/the-world-factbook/geos/zi.html

[3] http://www.zw.undp.org/content/zimbabwe/en/home/countryinfo/

[4] http://www.britannica.com/EBchecked/topic/657149/Zimbabwe/44153/The-economy

[5] http://www.fao.org/nr/water/aquastat/countries_regions/zimbabwe/index.stm

[6] http://www.britannica.com/EBchecked/topic/657149/Zimbabwe/44155/Industry

[7] http://www.britannica.com/EBchecked/topic/657149/Zimbabwe/44155/Industry

[8] http://www.bbc.com/news/business-30547267

[9] http://www.bbc.com/news/business-30547267

[10] http://www.zw.undp.org/content/zimbabwe/en/home/countryinfo/

[11] http://www.ruralpovertyportal.org/country/home/tags/zimbabwe

[12] http://www.ruralpovertyportal.org/country/home/tags/zimbabwe

[13] http://www.zw.undp.org/content/zimbabwe/en/home/countryinfo/