Careers, Jobs and Education Resources for: Zimbabwe


The UK annexed Southern Rhodesia from the [British] South Africa Company in 1923. A 1961 constitution was formulated that favored 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 reelection. The ruling ZANU-PF party used fraud and intimidation to win a two-thirds majority in the March 2005 parliamentary election, allowing it to amend the constitution at will and recreate the Senate, which had been abolished in the late 1980s. In April 2005, Harare embarked on Operation Restore Order, ostensibly an urban rationalization program, which resulted in the destruction of the homes or businesses of 700,000 mostly poor supporters of the opposition. President MUGABE in June 2007 instituted price controls on all basic commodities causing panic buying and leaving store shelves empty for months. General elections held in March 2008 contained irregularities but still amounted to a censure of the ZANU-PF-led government with significant gains in opposition seats in parliament. MDC opposition leader Morgan TSVANGIRAI won the presidential polls, and may have won an out right majority, but official results posted by the Zimbabwe Electoral Committee did not reflect this. In the lead up to a run-off election in late June 2008, considerable violence enacted against opposition party members led to the withdrawal of TSVANGIRAI from the ballot. Extensive evidence of vote tampering and ballot-box stuffing resulted in international condemnation of the process, and calls for the creation of a power-sharing government have been ignored. (from the CIA)
 
 

 

Economic Overview

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. badly needed support from the imf has been suspended because of the government's arrears on past loans and the government's unwillingness to enact reforms that would stabilize the economy. the reserve bank of zimbabwe routinely prints money to fund the budget deficit, causing the official annual inflation rate to rise from 32% in 1998, to 133% in 2004, 585% in 2005, passed 1000% in 2006, and 26000% in november 2007. private sector estimates of inflation in 2007 are well above 100,000%. meanwhile, the official exchange rate fell from approximately 1 (revalued) zimbabwean dollar per us dollar in 2003 to 30,000 per us dollar in 2007.

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; poor mining practices have led to toxic waste and heavy metal pollution

Government Type

Parliamentary democracy

Population

11,350,111 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 (july 2008 est.)

Location

Southern africa, between south africa and zambia

Area

Total: 390,580 sq km land: 386,670 sq km water: 3,910 sq km

Slightly larger than montana

Country Aliases

Conventional long form: republic of zimbabwe conventional short form: zimbabwe former: southern rhodesia, rhodesia

Capital

Name: harare geographic coordinates: 17 50 s, 31 03 e time difference: utc+2 (7 hours ahead of washington, dc during standard time)

Military Service

18-24 years of age for compulsory military service; women are eligible to serve (2007)

International Disputes

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

Sources: Central Intelligence Agency (CIA)

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