emmerson mnangagwa zwThe Republic of Zimbabwe or "Zimbabwe" for short, is a landlocked southern African country surrounded almost entirely by the republics of South Africa, Zambia, Mozambique and Botswana. Zimbabwe borders the Republic of South Africa to the south, the Republic of Mozambique to the east, the Republic of Botswana to the southwest, the Republic of Zambia and a tip of the Republic of Namibia to the northwest.

The Republic of Zimbabwe covers a total land area of about 390,757 squared kilometers (about 1% of which is covered by water). Only about 10.9% of Zimbabwe's total land area remains arable (land good for farming).

Although Zimbabwe is landlocked, Zimbabwe is blessed with several water bodies including the famous Victoria Falls, one of the seven natural wonders of the world, located on the Zambezi river at the border between Zambia and Zimbabwe.

The Republic of Zimbabwe has a total population of about 17 million people with the population growth rate hovering around 2.3%. About 38% of the population lives in urban areas in major cities and towns such as Harare the capital. Harare the capital of Zimbabwe contains about 2 million people. Bulawayo (another major city in Zimbabwe today) contains about one million people. The greater part of Zimbabwe's population lives in rural areas mostly as subsistence farmers who grow crops and rear animals just the feed themselves and their families.

Although not as culturally diverse as most other African countries, there are several ethnic and racial groups living in Zimbabwe today. The Shona (indigenous African), the most populous ethnic group, form about 82% of the total population. The Ndebeles and other indigenous Africans make up about 16% of the total population. The mixed, Asian and whites form just about 2% of the total population.

The Syncretic religion which is part Christian and part indigenous beliefs, is the most dominant religion in Zimbabwe today forming about 50% of the total population. Christians make up about 25% of the total population. Indigenous beliefs make up 24% of the total population with Islam and other religious groups forming the remaining 1%.

The Republic of Zimbabwe just like its neighboring countries is blessed with abundance of natural resources such as gold, copper, nickel, platinum group metals, iron ore, vanadium, lithium, asbestos, chromium ore, coal, tin, etc. The beautiful Victoria falls which is the largest curtain of falling water in the world, is found in Zimbabwe.

Officially, Zimbabwe has one of the highest literacy rates on the continent with a literacy rate of 90.7% for the total population. Zimbabwe's female literacy rate hovers around 87.2%. In other words, officially, about 90.7% of Zimbabweans above the age 15 can at least read and write which is far better than in most other African countries. However, these are just "official" figures which differ a bit from reality in Zimbabwe today. Zimbabwe's true literacy rate today is around 75% for the entire population.

Despite the abundance of natural resources and the high literacy rate, Zimbabwe remains one of the poorest countries in Africa today with the unemployment and underemployment rate around 95%. In other words, just about 5% of Zimbabweans have permanent and high-paying jobs. Majority of Zimbabweans today live below the international poverty line of $1.90 a day. 

The Republic of Zimbabwe remains one of the HIV/AIDS killing zones in Africa today. Despite the numerous HIV/AIDS awareness campaigns and programs, close to a million people are living with HIV/AIDS in Zimbabwe today. About 1.2 million were living with HIV/AIDS in 2009 with about 83,000 deaths recorded within the same year. Zimbabwe's HIV/AIDS adult prevalence rate hovers around 14.3%. Malaria, bacterial and protozoal diarrhea, rabies, schistosomiasis, etc continue to threaten several lives in Zimbabwe today.

Despite the high literacy rate, quality education is something very hard to come by in today's Zimbabwe. So at the end of the day, people graduate from school with degrees upon degrees but unable to use those degrees to better their living conditions just like in most other African countries.

Poor leadership (and corruption) remains perhaps the biggest problem facing Zimbabwe today. Just like in most other African countries, corruption levels remain at all-time high in Zimbabwe today. 

Rampant deforestation, poaching, air and water pollution (especially from agricultural and industrial runoffs), soil erosion and land degradation (poor mining practices have led to toxic waste and heavy metal pollution), etc. remain some of the major environmental issues facing Zimbabwe today.

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Cyril Michino
It is quite unfortunate how this article places all blame on Mugabe thanks to the bias of Western Media on the author. We need to understand that economic failure started after the sanctions by Tony Blair and G.W.Bush on Zimbabwe as well as the credit freeze by the United Nations, all this since Mugabe started retrieving African land from the White settlers. Literally no country has survived this situation. Nevertheless, Mugabe has lived with situation and signed agreements with Russia and China to veto out any sanctions by USA and Britain which were almost passed in 2011.

Mugabe shows the will to resist Western Exploitation but then puppets like BBC influence articles as clueless as this. The best way to create an argument is by understanding the counter argument, and this is a perfect example of Counter Argument ignorance. You might argue that throwing white settlers off "their land", which prompted Western bias anti Mugabe, crippled agriculture but statistics show that majority of their produce ended up in South African markets. Therefore, relying on puppets like Tsvangarai who keep signing agreements with West will probably turn Zimbabwe to some sort of Guinea, a country whose resources have eroded France under De Gaulle. I would have hit 2000 words to support this argument and cite all sources but Not on a comment. What we need to know is Mugabe's clinging to power was a blessing in disguise.

@Cyril Michino ... Not sure that I agree, I’ve seen what the land grabs did first hand. Farms were destroyed, poaching is out of control, and Mugabe lived like a king (where did the money come from, the same evil western countries you cite above). Freedom of speech is suppressed, crime is on the rise, and tourist are afraid to visit the country. I agree that all blame cannot be placed on a single person but to blame the west for how poorly a country has been managed is just foolish!
Farm stealing was big mistake, that was wrong and illegal , the citizen s really needed the food farmers provided, and because they are white? They were beaten and killed, sick
eshcol goonter
farm stealing is totally unacceptable but the blame can't go to one person
@Johnson: Stealing Farms from who? Who came to who and took what? So, recovering what you own is stealing? Review the Pioneers and Early Settlers - Southern Rhodesia. Taking land from settler had no option but to be done. Check out South Africa is following.

Reflect on this: The development and settlement of firstly Southern Rhodesia, followed by Northern Rhodesia and Nyasaland, started long before the Moodie Trek of 1892. This project will concentrate mainly on the Europeans who settled in the area. The missionaries were the first to do this, followed by those who took part in the various treks from 1892 onwards