Financial Data
Updated 25 Apr 2017


Zimbabwe

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Overview

Zimbabwe shares its borders with Botswana, Mozambique, South Africa and Zambia.

Growth in Zimbabwe is likely to remain below levels envisaged in the government’s five-year economic programme:Zimbabwe Agenda for Sustainable Socio-economic Transformation.

The agenda, announced in late 2013, envisages growth ramping up to 9.9% by 2019, however, experts believe that Zimbabwe will continue to find it difficult to attract financing for the programme due to its indigenisation programme and general policy environment.

Performance in the construction and manufacturing sectors could improve if government successfully addresses structural bottlenecks, such as infrastructure deficiencies and an underperforming business climate. If a new government administration adopts a more business-friendly approach to policymaking, solid expansion of Zimbabwe’s economy may be expected in 2020.

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Social overview

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The population of Zimbabwe was reported to be 14.2 million in 2015 and has since been reflecting slower growth rates of 2.2% per annum, when compared to other African countries.

According to the United Nations World Health Organisation, the life expectancy for men in Zimbabwe is 56 years and the life expectancy for women is 60 years of age. An association of doctors in Zimbabwe has urged President Mugabe to make moves to assist the country’s ailing health services sector.

15% of Zimbabwean adults are reported to be living with HIV/AIDS (2014 statistic). Despite the challenges facing its healthcare sector, this is a strong decrease from infection rates seen in the 1990s (as high as 28%). The decrease HIV/AIDS infections is attributed to the impact of prevention programmes aimed at behaviour change.

Approximately 85% of Zimbabweans are Christian; 62% of the population attends religious services regularly. The largest Christian churches include Anglican, Roman Catholic, Seventh-day Adventist and Methodist. As in other African countries, Christianity may be mixed with enduring traditional beliefs.

Bantu-speaking ethnic groups make up 98% of the population and the majority, the Shona, comprise 70% of this. The Ndebele are the second most populous people covering 20% of the population. Minority ethnic groups include white Zimbabweans, who make up less than 1% of the total population. White Zimbabweans are mostly of British origin, but there are also Afrikaner, Greek, Portuguese, French and Dutch communities.

Here are a few more social factors to consider in your Zimbabwe business expansion:

  • The country boasts one of the highest literacy rates amongst African countries at almost 90% of the population
  • The urban population is approximately 33% of the total population, with expected growth rates of 2.5% per annum. It is estimated that just over 70% of the population live below the national poverty line.
  • 72% of the employed population are currently working within the agricultural sector;
  • The World Travel and Tourism Council (WTTC) estimates that 181 000 direct and 245 000 indirect jobs in Zimbabwe are supported by tourist activities
  • Zimbabwe’s interconnected economic and political crisis from 1998 through 2008 prompted many of the country’s skilled and well-educated citizens to emigrate. This has led to widespread skilled-labour shortages.
  • Child labour in agriculture and mining sectors remain a concern.

 

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Zimbabwe’s people
  • Population: 14.2 million (2015)
  • Zimbabwe boasts one of the highest literacy rates amongst the African countries at almost 90% of the population.
  • Zimbabwe’s interconnected economic and political crisis from 1998 through 2008 prompted many of the country’s most skilled and well-educated citizens to emigrate, leading to widespread labour shortages.
Environmental overview

Most of Zimbabwe is above sea level, consisting of a central plateau stretching from the southwest towards the north, with altitudes ranging between 1 000 and 1 600 metres. The eastern parts of the country are mountainous and renowned for its natural beauty.

Approximately 20% of the country consists of low-lying areas. Victoria Falls, one of the world's biggest and most spectacular waterfalls, is located in the country's northwest and forms part of the Zambezi River.

The country offers a tropical climate; its southern regions are known for heat and aridity, while parts of its central plateau receive frost in winter. The Zambezi valley is also known for its extreme heat and the mountainous highlands, which usually experience cool temperatures and the highest rainfall in the country. Zimbabwe’s rainy season generally runs from late October to March and its generally hot climate is moderated by increasing altitude. The country does, however, experience droughts, with the latest one commencing early in 2015. Severe storms are rare within the country’s borders.

Here are a few more environmental factors you should consider before venturing into Zimbabwe:

  • Current environmental issues, affecting both commercial and subsistence agriculture, include soil erosion, deforestation, land degradation, water pollution, poaching of wildlife, and poor mining practices
  • Zimbabwe is vulnerable to recurring droughts that directly impact economic growth. This is due to the country’s reliance on the success of the agricultural sector.
  • Zimbabwe’s black rhinoceros herd, once the largest concentration of the species in the world, has been significantly reduced through poaching, largely for the export market to China.
The environment
  • Current environmental issues affecting both commercial and subsistence agriculture include soil erosion, deforestation, land degradation, water pollution, poaching of wildlife and poor mining practices.
  • Zimbabwe is vulnerable to recurring droughts.
Technology overview

Public sector investment in information, communication and technology (ICT) infrastructure in Zimbabwe is lagging behind its African counterparts. One of the chief reasons for the shortage of government-led infrastructure development in the technology sector is access to funding. Zimbabwe’s government is relying on the private sector, particularly when it comes to building and implementing backbone communications infrastructure.

Since 2010, hundreds of millions of dollars have been invested by three mobile operators; Econet, NetOne and Telecel Zimbabwe. These investments went toward upgrading infrastructure to keep up with the country’s high call volumes. Zimbabwe is reported to have one of the highest call volumes in the world.

The Reserve Bank of Zimbabwe recorded USD3.5 billion worth of mobile money transfers during 2014 and USD2.2 billion during the first half of 2015. Mobile money users have outnumbered individuals with bank accounts since mid-2014, according to WorldRemit.

Econet Wireless, the first private entity to enter into Zimbabwe’s mobile sector, facilitated 98% of mobile payments during 2014. During June 2015, Econet Wireless announced that the South African Reserve Bank (SARB) had given it permission for remittances from SA; to be allowed via the company’s EcoCash mobile money platform.

Here are a few more technology factors you should consider in your Zimbabwe business plan:

  • Growth in mobile and fixed-line markets have been captured by private companies
  • Mobile cellular subscription rates have grown substantially from just over 330 000 users in 2009 to almost 9.9 million users in 2012
  • Internet penetration is estimated at around 48%
  • Limitations on international bandwidth have hampered development of the Internet and broadband sectors.
Tech outlook
  • Mobile cellular subscription rates have grown substantially from just over 330 000 users in 2009 to almost 9.9 million users in 2012.
  • Internet penetration is estimated at around 48%. Limitations on international bandwidth have hampered development of the internet and broadband sectors.
  • Fixed-line services reach only 2.8% of the population.
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