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Economy of Zimbabwe

Economy - overview: The government of Zimbabwe faces a wide variety of difficult economic problems as it struggles to consolidate earlier progress in developing a market-oriented economy. Its involvement in the war in the Democratic Republic of the Congo, for example, has already drained hundreds of millions of dollars from the economy. Badly needed support from the IMF suffers delays in part because of the country's failure to meet budgetary goals. Inflation rose from an annual rate of 32% in 1998 to 59% in 1999 and to 208% in February 2003, expected to reach 350% by the end of the year. The economy is being steadily weakened by AIDS; Zimbabwe has the highest rate of infection in the world.

The destruction of much of Zimbabwe's agricultural base through the seizing of mainly white-owned farms throughout 1999 and 2000 has decimated the Zimbabwean economy. The political situation makes it unlikely that the West will be inclined to do much more than provide sustenance assistance.

The lack of foreign currency, as well as the difference between the official exchange rate (officially 55 to the US$, while 1600 to the dollar is available on the black market) have resulted in fuel shortages and a lack of basic supplies. Libya supplied fuel, partially in exchange for land, but Zimbabwe could not meet the basic payments, and supplies have been stopped. Without fuel, the demise of the economy contines apace.

GDP: purchasing power parity - $26.5 billion (1999 est.)

GDP - real growth rate: 0% (1999 est.)

GDP - per capita: purchasing power parity - $2,400 (1999 est.)

GDP - composition by sector: agriculture: 28% industry: 32% services: 40% (1997 est.)

Population below poverty line: 60% (1999 est.)

Household income or consumption by percentage share: lowest 10%: 1.8% highest 10%: 46.9% (1990)

Inflation rate (consumer prices): 159% (2002 est.)

Labor force: 5 million (1997 est.)

Labor force - by occupation: agriculture 66%, services 24%, industry 10% (1996 est.)

Unemployment rate: 50% (1999 est.)

Budget: revenues: $2.5 billion expenditures: $2.9 billion, including capital expenditures of $279 million (FY96/97 est.)

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

Industrial production growth rate: NA%

Electricity - production: 6.97 TWh (1998)

Electricity - production by source: fossil fuel: 78.19% hydro: 21.81% nuclear: 0% other: 0% (1998)

Electricity - consumption: 8.403 TWh (1998)

Electricity - exports: 0 TWh (1998)

Electricity - imports: 1.921 TWh (1998)

Agriculture - products: maize, cotton, tobacco, wheat, coffee, sugarcane, peanuts; cattle, sheep, goats, pigs

Exports: $2 billion (f.o.b., 1999 est.)

Exports - commodities: tobacco 23%, gold 14%, ferroalloys 7%, cotton 6% (1997 est.)

Exports - partners: South Africa 12%, UK 11%, Germany 8%, Japan 6%, US 6% (1997 est.)

Imports: $2 billion (f.o.b., 1998 est.)

Imports - commodities: machinery and transport equipment 39%, other manufactures 18%, chemicals 15%, fuels 10% (1997 est.)

Imports - partners: South Africa 37%, UK 7%, US 6%, Japan 6%, Germany 5% (1997 est.)

Debt - external: $5 billion (1998)

Economic aid - recipient: $437.6 million (1995)

Currency: 1 Zimbabwean dollar (Z$) = 100 cents

Official exchange rates: Zimbabwean dollars (Z$) per US$1 - 55 (February 2003), 38.1679 (January 2000), 38.3142 (1999), 21.4133 (1998), 11.8906 (1997), 9.9206 (1996), 8.6580 (1995).

As of February 2003, the black market rate was 1600 to the dollar.

Fiscal year: 1 July - 30 June

See also : Zimbabwe



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