Country Summary

2022 population pyramid



A series of trading states developed in the area of Zimbabwe prior to the arrival of Europeans. The largest of these was the Kingdom of Zimbabwe (ca. 1220-1450). UK colonization in the late 1800s led to the creation of Southern Rhodesia in 1923. In 1965, the government declared independence, but the UK did not recognize the act and demanded more rights for the Black African majority in the country (then called Rhodesia). UN sanctions and a guerrilla uprising led to free elections in 1979 and independence (as Zimbabwe) in 1980.



total: 390,757 sq km

land: 386,847 sq km

water: 3,910 sq km


tropical; moderated by altitude; rainy season (November to March)

Natural resources

coal, chromium ore, asbestos, gold, nickel, copper, iron ore, vanadium, lithium, tin, platinum group metals

People and Society


15,121,004 (2022 est.)

Ethnic groups

African 99.4% (predominantly Shona; Ndebele is the second largest ethnic group), other 0.4%, unspecified 0.2% (2012 est.)


Shona (official; most widely spoken), Ndebele (official, second most widely spoken), English (official; traditionally used for official business), 13 minority languages (official; includes Chewa, Chibarwe, Kalanga, Koisan, Nambya, Ndau, Shangani, sign language, Sotho, Tonga, Tswana, Venda, and Xhosa)


Protestant 74.8% (includes Apostolic 37.5%, Pentecostal 21.8%, other 15.5%), Roman Catholic 7.3%, other Christian 5.3%, traditional 1.5%, Muslim 0.5%, other 0.1%, none 10.5% (2015 est.)

Population growth rate

1.95% (2022 est.)


Government type

presidential republic


name: Harare

Executive branch

chief of state: President Emmerson Dambudzo MNANGAGWA (since 24 November 2017); First Vice President Constantino CHIWENGA (since 28 December 2017); note - Robert Gabriel MUGABE resigned on 21 November 2017, after ruling for 37 years

head of government: President Emmerson Dambudzo MNANGAGWA (since 24 November 2017); Vice President Constantino CHIWENGA (since 28 December 2017); 

Legislative branch

description: bicameral Parliament consists of:
Senate (80 seats; 60 members directly elected in multi-seat constituencies - 6 seats in each of the 10 provinces - by proportional representation vote, 16 indirectly elected by the regional governing councils, 2 reserved for the National Council Chiefs, and 2 reserved for members with disabilities; members serve 5-year terms)
National Assembly (270 seats; 210 members directly elected in single-seat constituencies by simple majority vote and 60 seats reserved for women directly elected by proportional representation vote; members serve 5-year terms)


Economic overview

low income Sub-Saharan economy; political instability, protest crackdowns, and COVID-19 have damaged economic potential; reliant on natural resource extraction and agriculture; endemic corruption; ongoing hyperinflation

Real GDP (purchasing power parity)

$40.79 billion (2020 est.)

Real GDP per capita

$2,700 (2020 est.)

Agricultural products

sugar cane, maize, milk, tobacco, cassava, vegetables, bananas, beef, cotton, oranges


mining (coal, gold, platinum, copper, nickel, tin, diamonds, clay, numerous metallic and nonmetallic ores), steel; wood products, cement, chemicals, fertilizer, clothing and footwear, foodstuffs, beverages


$4.422 billion (2018 est.)

Exports - partners

United Arab Emirates 40%, South Africa 23%, Mozambique 9% (2019)

Exports - commodities

gold, tobacco, iron alloys, nickel, diamonds, jewelry (2019)


$7.215 billion (2018 est.)

Imports - partners

South Africa 41%, Singapore 23%, China 8% (2019)

Imports - commodities

refined petroleum, delivery trucks, packaged medicines, fertilizers, tractors (2019)

Exchange rates

Zimbabwean dollars (ZWD) per US dollar -

Page last updated: Tuesday, July 26, 2022