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Zimbabwe - At a glance
Zimbabwe at a glance
Location Landlocked and immediately north of South Africa
Bordering countries South Africa, Botswana, Namibia, Zambia and Mozambique
Climate November–March hot and wet, April–August moderate and dry, September–October dry and increasingly hot
Independence 18 April 1980 (from Britain)
Other major towns Bulawayo, Masvingo, Mutare, Gweru and Victoria Falls
Type of government Democratic Presidential Republic
Head of state President Robert Mugabe
Main political parties ZANU-PF (Zimbabwe African National Union – Patriotic Front) and MDC (Movement for Democratic Change of which there are two factions: the MDC(T) and smaller MDC(N). The main parties are in a tentative power-sharing agreement – the Government of National Unity.
Main national parks Hwange, Victoria Falls, Zambezi, Matobo, Chizarira, Matusadona, Mana Pools, Nyanga, Bvumba, Chimanimani and Gonarezhou
Currency The Zimbabwe dollar (ZIM$) was withdrawn in 2009 and finally demonetised in 2015; various hard currencies are now allowed but the US dollar (US$) is the universally accepted official currency and the country uses US dollar notes although not US coins. Since 2014 five denominations of Zimbabwe Bond coins (on par with the US$) were introduced to deal with the small change situation.
Economy Agriculture, tourism, mining and forestry. All of these have much greater potential than is currently being realised.
Population 10–13 million (estimate following 2012 census)
Main ethnic groups Shona 80%, Ndebele 14%, white 0.5%, others 3%
Languages Shona and Ndebele (or Sindebele) are first languages for most, although English is the official language.
Religion Syncretic (mixture of Christian and traditional) 50%, Christian 25%, traditional 24%, Muslim and others 1%
Electricity supply 220/240V AC; sockets are frequently UK-style 3 square pin, but increasingly changing to South Africa-style 3 round pin and 2 pin. Newer and upmarket tourism outlets use South African-style sockets.
Newspapers Media restrictions have been significantly lifted by the Unity government so most papers are now independent with the Daily News and Newsday recent additions. The Herald and Chronicle are state controlled. There are a growing number of independent online papers.
International dialling code +263. When calling from outside Zimbabwe, drop the initial zero from the local area code or from the cell number. Numbers starting 07 are mobile.
Flag Seven horizontal bands with central black, then red, yellow and green top and bottom. White triangle inset on left containing stylised yellow Zimbabwe Bird national symbol on a red five-pointed star in the centre of the triangle.
National holidays 1 January (New Year’s Day), variable (Easter), 18 April (Independence Day), 1 May (Workers’ Day), 25 May (Africa Day), 11 August or nearest Monday (Heroes Day), 12 August or nearest Tuesday (Defence Forces Day), 22 December (National Unity Day), 25 December (Christmas Day), 26 December (Boxing Day)