Zimbabwe, or Republic of Zimbabwe, a country in south-central Africa. It was formerly called Rhodesia. It is bounded by Zambia, Mozambique, South Africa, and Botswana. The area is 150,804 square miles (390,580 km2).
Zimbabwe is in the tropics south of the Equator. It lies on plateaus 3,000 feet (900 m) or more above sea level. The mountains in the east rise to roughly 8,500 feet (2,600 m) above sea level. The land is mainly bush-covered with occasional forests. The largest river is the Zambezi, which forms the Zimbabwe-Zambia border. On the Zambezi is majestic Victoria Falls. The river is dammed to form Lake Kariba, which Zimbabwe shares with Zambia.
The climate is moderate on the plateaus, with temperatures rarely exceeding 90° F. (32° C.). The river valleys are hot and humid, with temperatures above 100° F. (38° C.). Average annual precipitation ranges from about 15 to 45 inches (380 to 1,140 mm).
Zimbabwe is rich in natural resources. Copper, asbestos, gold, nickel, coal, and chromium are mined, and there are valuable teak and softwood forests. Agricultural products include corn, cotton, sugarcane, and tobacco. Cattle and other livestock are important. Zimbabwe's industries include food processing and the manufacturing of steel, chemicals, and textiles. The basic currency unit is the Zimbabwe dollar.
Transportation in Zimbabwe is well developed, with road, railway, or air transportation serving most parts of the country.
|Facts in brief about Zimbabwe|
|Official language: English.|
|Area: 150,872 mi2 (390,757 km2).Greatest distances—east-west, 515 mi (829 km); north-south, 470 mi (756 km).|
|Population: Current estimate—13,242,000; density, 88 per mi2 (34 per km2); distribution, 64 percent rural, 36 percent urban. 2002 census—11,634,663.|
|Chief products: Agriculture—cattle, coffee, corn, cotton, fruits, sugar, tea, tobacco, vegetables, wheat. Manufacturing and processing—chemicals, clothing and footwear, iron and steel, metal products, processed foods, textiles. Mining—asbestos, chromite, coal, copper, gems, gold, nickel.|
|National anthem: "Ngaikomborerwe Nyika yeZimbabwe" ("Blessed Be the Land of Zimbabwe").|
|Flag: Zimbabwe's flag has seven horizontal stripes of green, yellow, red, black, red, yellow, and green (top to bottom). A white triangle on the left contains a yellow Great Zimbabwe bird on a red star.|
|Money: Basic unit—Zimbabwe dollar. One hundred cents equal one dollar.|
The population of Zimbabwe in 2002 was 11,634,663. The largest cities are Harare, the capital, with 1,444,534 persons and Bulawayo, with 676,787.
Most of Zimbabwe's African peoples are Bantus of either the Shona or the Ndebele group. Zimbabwe's whites are mainly of British ancestry. English is the principal language of government, but Bantu tongues predominate.
More than 90 per cent of Zimbabwe's primary-school-age children attend school. Primary school lasts seven years; secondary school, six years. The literacy rate is about 90 per cent, one of the highest in Africa. A university is at Harare.
Under the constitution of 1980, Zimbabwe is a republic. The president is the head of state and is the president of the ruling party, Zimbabwe African National Union (ZANU). The legislature consists of a 150-member House of Assembly, partly appointed and partly elected.