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Key Facts About Zimbabwe

Zimbabwe is strategically located at the heart of Southern Africa, making it land linked through the North-South Corridor which connects the Southern African Countries. This has made the country a regional logistics hub supported by railways, roads, power and telecommunications.

Through bilateral, regional and multilateral arrangements the country enjoys preferential market access to regional and international community. Zimbabwe is a member to regional and international organisations such as the Southern African Development Community (SADC) with over 190 million people, Common Market for Eastern and Southern Africa (COMESA) with over 500 million people, African Caribbean and Pacific Nations (ACP), and World Trade Organisations (WTO).


Table 1: Zimbabwe Fact Profile

Total Area 390 757 square kilometers
Land 386 670 square kilometers
Water 4 087 square kilometers
Border Countries Botswana (West), Mozambique (East), South Africa (South), Zambia (North)
Capital City Harare
Official Language English
Climate Tropical low temperatures from April to July. It is warm to hot From August to October. The rainy season begins in November and ends in March.
Population +/- 13 million (2012)
Annual Population Growth 1.1%
Literacy Level 90%
Major Economic Sectors Agriculture, (18.5% of GDP – backbone of the country), Mining (4% of GDP, over 60 minerals, largely untapped), Manufacturing (15.5% of GDP, diverse), Tourism (6% of GDP) [2016 statistics]
Financial Sector Well established and sophisticated
Infrastructure and Energy Good road, rail and air transport network, modern communications systems, hydro & thermal power
Access to markets Membership to SADC, COMESA, ACP,  GSP, WTO


Source: Zimstats& Reserve Bank                 


President Mnangagwa addresses delegates attending the ZITF Business International Conference in Bulawayo.

In an effort to fully establish Zimbabwe on the Global trade map, The President spearheaded a campaigned aimed at bringing in investors to come and invest in Special Economic Zones. Not only is the floor open to foreign investors but as well as to the local residents.

Living and Working In Zimbabwe

Procedures for entry into Zimbabwe by Foreigners

The Immigration Department facilitates the issuance of visas, investor and work permits for potential foreign investors and their families. Information on visa, investor and work permits can be obtained from the following;

  1. Immigration Department Head office
  2. Nearest immigration office
  3. Zimbabwe Foreign mission in the respective countries
  4. The Ministry of Foreign Affairs and International Trade

Government Policy Thrust

  1. Zimbabwe’s economy to be based on sound market principles with emphasis on legal protection for private property
  2. Implementing a reform agenda to build a competitive private sector that will maximize linkages, deliver high quality jobs and support long-term growth
  3. Compensating farmers whose land was seized in terms of the laws of the land
  4. Corrupt activities to be discouraged and dealt with severely whenever they emerge
  5. Skilled Zimbabweans who left the country over the years to be encouraged to come back home to re-build the nation
  6. Government to service its domestic and external debt
  7. Respect international obligations including Bilateral Investment Protection and Promotion Agreements (BIPPAs)
  8. Re-engagement programme with all the nations of the world

Macroeconomic Policy Developments

Zimbabwe’s economy is on the rebound buoyed by sound policies that the Government has put in place together with the re-engagement of the international community.


Table 2: Zimbabwe’s Macroeconomic Indicators

  2013 2014 2015 2016 2017
Real GDP at Market prices (US$m)   13,572.80   13,861.50   14,095.71   14,182.50     14,551.44
Nominal GDP at Market Prices (US$m)   15,451.77   15,891.05   16,304.67   16,619.96     18,129.97
GDP at Market Prices % changes           5.53           2.13           1.69           0.62             3.69
Per Capita GDP     1,155.82     1,163.98     1,169.36     1,165.31       1,246.71
Selected Sectoral GDP growth Rates %
Agriculture, Hunting and Fishing -2.57 23.00 -5.21 -3.62 14.57
Mining and quarrying 11.71 -3.40 0.42 8.23 8.48
Manufacturing -0.60 -5.09 0.20 -3.98 1.00
Finance and Insurance 14.18 -21.93 5.48 10.23 0.21
Distribution and Tourism 3.93 2.50 3.80 7.63 1.12
Consumer price Inflation (end period) % 0.33 -0.80 -2.47 -0.93 2.97
Consumer price Inflation (period average) % 1.63 -0.21 -2.41 -1.57 0.70
Export Growth (%) -3.55 -3.74 -2.77 2.41 6.06
Import Growth (%) 1.47 -7.38 -3.87 -13.63 4.09
Current a/c Balance (US$M) -2,559.25 -2,289.43 -1,557.38 -591.32 -618.15
Current a/c  Balance (% of GDP) -16.56 -14.41 -9.55 -3.56 -3.41
Capital a/c Balance (US$M) 251.00 369.40 398.40 242.30 250.00
Direct Investment (net) US$M -373.05 -472.80 -399.20 -343.01 -235.46
Portfolio Investment (net) US$M -114.20 -130.30 -122.80 80.06 41.00
Total External Debt (US$M) 8,934.03 10,838.43 10,684.04 10,959.84 11,248.65
Debt Service Ratio (%) 25.33 24.86 26.90 26.27 26.27
Gross Official Reserves (US$M) - at 100% 331.40 349.47 429.83 384.36 405.88
Import Cover (months) at 100% 0.59 0.67 0.87 0.95 0.70
Total External Payments Arrears (US$M) 5,410.00 5,563.00 5,706.00 5,710.70 5,852.00
Broad Money M3 (US$'000)    3,887,978    4,377,131    4,736,139    5,638,281     8,020,028
Domestic Credit (US$'000)    5,205,602    5,423,007    6,448,367    7,669,496   10,637,228
Credit to Other Sectors (US$'000)    3,714,186    3,867,839    3,975,531    3,921,777     4,366,210
        Other Financial Corporations          38,904          24,194        114,997        119,157          107,454
        State and Local Government            18,619          12,198          45,258          34,237            38,417
        Parastatals (Public Non Financial Corporations)          80,529          86,262        156,989        240,007          514,831
       Private Sector    3,576,135    3,745,186    3,658,288    3,528,375      3,705,508
Credit to Government net (US$'000)    1,491,415    1,555,168    2,472,836    3,747,720     6,271,019
       Claims on Central Government    1,583,493    1,652,978    2,582,659    3,908,493      6,346,320
       Less Liabilities to the Central Government        (92,078)        (97,810)     (109,823)     (160,774)          (75,301)
Long Term Deposits (US$'000)    1,327,430    1,532,982    1,632,980    1,471,657     1,450,191
Transferable Deposits (US$'000)    2,477,939    2,723,992    3,051,376    4,033,559     6,184,269
Bond Notes and Coins (US$'000)            299          7,127        70,171        319,084
Nominal Minimum Lending Rate (%)           6.00           6.00           6.00           4.00             4.00
Nominal Maximum Lending Rate (%)         35.00         35.00         16.00         18.00           18.00
Individual Weighted 360-day Lending Rate (%)         14.00         14.16         12.17         10.59             9.39
Corporate Weighted 360-day Lending Rate (%)           9.35           9.66           7.82           6.87             7.00
Industrial Index (Points) 202.1 162.8 114.9 144.5 333.0
Mining Index (Points) 45.8 71.7 23.7 58.5 142.4
Grand Market Capitalisation (US$m) 5,203.1 4,327.0 3,073.4 4,008.0 9,580.6
Population (million) 13.37 13.65 13.94 14.26 14.54
(i) 2017 national accounts figures as per 2018 National Budget Statement
(ii) Consumer price index as at November 2017
iii) External Sector statistics as per RBZ BOP projections
(iv) Debt Service Ratio (%) as a proportion of exports
(v) 2017 monetary numbers are as at November 2017
(vi) Broad money redefined using IMF's Monetary and Financial Statistics Manual of 2000. Major changes include exclusion of Government deposits held by banks from broad money.
(vii) Transferable deposits made up of demand and savings deposits.
(viii) NCDs are also referred to as securities included in broad money.
(ix) All classes of time deposits, short and long term are classified as time deposits, which are also termed other deposits.
(x) Credit to the private sector now excludes claims on other financial corporations, as well as claims on state and local government (local authorities)

Source: Economic Research Division, Reserve Bank of Zimbabwe


Existing Multicurrency System

  1. Zimbabwe uses a basket of multicurrencies for its trade and investment transactions. The multicurrency system was introduced in 2009. These currencies include the United States Dollar (US$), Great Britain Pound (GBP), South African Rand (ZAR), Botswana Pula (BWP), the Euro, Japanese Yen (JPY), Australian Dollar (AUD), Chinese Yuan (CNY) and the Indian Rupee (INR).
  2. Authorised Dealers (banks) can open accounts for both individuals and corporates, in any of the nine (9) currencies in the multicurrency basket. Any of the currencies in the multicurrency basket can be used for settlement of both local and international transactions. Furthermore, Authorised Dealers can receive export proceeds on behalf of account holders in any of the currencies in the multicurrency basket.


Full Liberalisation of the Current Account

  1. The Reserve Bank liberalised the Current Account which deals with international trade in goods and services in 2009, and undertook a partial liberalisation of the Capital Account. As a result of the liberalisation of the current account, corporates and individuals wishing to undertake cross border payments can do so freely without seeking prior Exchange Control approval.
  2. Due to the liberalisation of trade and investment transactions, foreign investors can now freely remit investment income such as dividends and profits realised from their investments to various destinations without seeking prior Reserve Bank approval. Requests to remit investment income to external destinations are handled at Authorised Dealer (bank) without coming to the Reserve Bank.
  3. In terms of existing foreign investment regulations, foreign investors with bona fide investments can freely disinvest from the country. Foreign investors divesting from Zimbabwe are permitted to remit their initial capital plus appreciation proceeds.
  4. Regarding exports, Zimbabwe encourages export of products and services by resident companies to offshore markets to increase foreign currency earnings. Exporters can easily access exports documents from Authorised Dealers (banks), as well as online in order to speed up the export process and reduce costs of doing business.
  5. The export of goods excluding minerals such as gold and diamonds is administered at bank level and Reserve Bank accounts, monitors and administers the country’s exports through a robust web based system called Computerised Exchange Control Exports Payments Systems (CEPECS) for the convenience of exporters.

Foreign Trade Guidelines

Imports Formalities

  1. Zimbabwe liberalised current account in 2009 to facilitate free international trade and investments. In this regard, corporates and individuals can freely make import payments for goods and services through normal banking channels.

Exports Formalities

  1. All new exporters should register with Authorised Dealers (banks) for recognition and to have access to the Reserve Bank of Zimbabwe’s CEPECS.
  2. All exports except for the Diamond, Gold, Ammunition, bulk cash (above $2,000), do not require Central Bank approval. The Banks or exporters may process their declaration without first applying to the Central bank for approval for all the other exports in pursuance of contract of sale, gifts up to a maximum of $10,000, second hand vehicles, scrap metal, livestock, live wild animals, second hand industrial equipment, emigrant effects, household effects, returns outwards, goods sent out for repairs, goods sent out for replacement, samples excluding soils/mineral samples and goods for toll manufacturing.