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Zimbabwe

Zimbabwe

Political and economic situation

The years between 2009 and 2012 were marked by an economic rebound following the introduction of a multiple currency system, with GDP increasing at an average of 6% per annum over the past five years. GDP growth decelerated from 10.6% in 2012 to an estimated 1.5% in 2015. Investments in agriculture, mining, communications and other infrastructure projects, including in the water and energy sectors, are expected in the coming years.

The country’s recent economic recovery has been underpinned by the mining and agriculture sectors, which accounted for 93.5% of export revenues between 2009 and 2013. Mining has weak linkages to the rest of the economy however generates over 60% of the country’s export earnings. It is also capital intensive with limited employment creation opportunities. The manufacturing sector saw decreased activity between 2011 and 2014. On top of this, more than 80.0% of workers are employed in the informal sector.

Against a background of weak domestic demand, tight liquidity conditions and the appreciation of the US dollar against the South African rand, inflation is estimated at 1.6% in 2016. According to a Conference of Zimbabwe Industries (CZI) survey, industrial capacity utilization increased by 18% to 47.4% in 2016, although there are concerns of poor data quality and non-operational or under-utilized companies. In January 2015, to boost trade and attract foreign investment, the Reserve Bank of Zimbabwe (RBZ) announced that the Chinese renminbi, Indian rupee, Australian dollar, and Japanese yen would be accepted as legal tender in Zimbabwe – in addition to the use of the South African rand, Botswana pula, and US dollar. Later that year, in June 2015, the Central Bank formally phased out the Zimbabwe Dollar, formalizing the multi-currency system to counteract hyper-inflation. Suffering from a lack of liquidity, the Government of Zimbabwe introduced $2- and $1-denominated bond notes that were theoretically equivalent to 2 and 1 USD respectively, in November 2016. With a lack of public trust in the parallel currency, the notes were quickly (i.e. within one week) trading at USD 0.70 on the black market. In February 2017, a $5-denominated bond note was introduced, bringing the total amount of bond notes in circulation to USD 88 million.

The fortunes of Zimbabwe have for almost three decades been tied to President Robert Mugabe, the pro-independence campaigner who became the country’s first black leader. Until the parliamentary elections in 2008, Zimbabwe was effectively a one-party state, ruled by Mr. Mugabe’s Zanu-PF. A power-sharing deal agreed after the polls raised hopes that power might be distributed. However, following Mr. Mugabe’s re-election as president in 2013 and Zanu-PF’s gaining of a two-thirds majority in the parliamentary poll, the power-sharing coalition was forgotten. In February 2017, Mr. Mugabe reaffirmed his intention to run for office in 2018, at the age of 94.

Official national currency is the US-Dollar (1 Euro = 1.05 USD; Feb 25th 2017).

 

Key figures

Available statistics:
Capital
Harare
Official language
English
Population (2016 est.)
14,546,961
Population growth (2016 est.), %
2.2
Median age (2016 est.), years
20.6
Urbanization rate (2010 - 2016), % p.a.
2.3
Urban population (2015), % of total
32.4
Rural population (2015), % of total
67.6
Population density (2015), per km2
33
HDI (2014), rank of 188
155
National Currency
US Dollar
Exchange rate (February 2017), USD
1.0
GDP (2015), USD million current
14,419
GDP growth (2015), %
0.5
GDP annual growth rate forecast (2020), %
4.88
GNI per capita (2015), current int’l USD
1,710
Avg. Inflation (2009 – 2017), %
0.87
Inflation Rate Forecast (2020), %
0.7
Foreign Direct Investment, net inflows (2015), BOP current USD billions
0.39
Net official development assistance (2014), current USD millions
757.85
Budget deficit (2016), % of GDP
-3.5
Ease of Doing Business (2016), rank of 190
161
TI Corruption Index (2016), rank of 168
150
Installed Generation Capacity (2016), MW
2,040
Installed Fossil Fuel Capacity (2016), % of total installed capacity
56
Hydro Capacity (2016), % of total installed capacity
38
Other RE Capacity (2016), % of total installed capacity
6
Renewable electricity output as % of total electricity output excl. hydro (2013)
0.5
Avg. distribution and transmission losses as % of output (2013)
28
Net electricity imports (2014), kWh
1,100,000,000
Electrification rate, total (2014) %
52
Electrification rate, urban (2014) %
78
Electrification rate, rural (2014) %
40
Peak demand (2015), MW
2,200
Per capita electricity consumption (2013), kWh
532
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