Zimbabwe: Economy#

Zimbabwe's economy depends heavily on its mining and agriculture sectors. Following a decade of contraction from 1998 to 2008, the economy recorded real growth of more than 10% per year in the period 2010-13, before slowing to roughly 3% in 2014 due to poor harvests, low diamond revenues, and decreased investment. Lower mineral prices, infrastructure and regulatory deficiencies, a poor investment climate, a large public and external debt burden, and extremely high government wage expenses impede the country’s economic performance.

Until early 2009, the Reserve Bank of Zimbabwe (RBZ) routinely printed money to fund the budget deficit, causing hyperinflation. Dollarization in early 2009 - which allowed currencies such as the Botswana pula, the South Africa rand, and the US dollar to be used locally - ended hyperinflation and reduced inflation below 10% per year. The RBZ introduced bond coins denominated in 1, 5, 10, and 25 cent increments on a par with the US dollar in December 2014, more than five years after the Zimbabwe dollar was taken out of circulation. In January 2015, as part of the government’s effort to boost trade and attract foreign investment, the RBZ announced that the Chinese renmimbi, Indian rupee, Australian dollar, and Japanese yen would be accepted as legal tender in Zimbabwe.

Zimbabwe’s government entered a second Staff Monitored Program with the IMF in 2014 and undertook other measures to reengage with international financial institutions. Foreign and domestic investment continues to be hindered by the lack of clarity regarding the government’s Indigenization and Economic Empowerment Act. In 2015 the depreciation of the South African rand against the US dollar has led to deflation in Zimbabwe as prices for South African imports decline while the costs of domestic production in US dollars remains stable.

Economic Facts#

GDP (purchasing power parity)$28.33 billion (2016 est.)
$28.41 billion (2015 est.)
$28.11 billion (2014 est.)
note: data are in 2016 dollars
GDP (official exchange rate)$14.19 billion (2015 est.)
GDP - real growth rate-0.3% (2016 est.)
1.1% (2015 est.)
3.9% (2014 est.)
GDP - per capita (PPP)$2,000 (2016 est.)
$2,000 (2015 est.)
$2,000 (2014 est.)
note: data are in 2016 dollars
Gross national saving7.3% of GDP (2016 est.)
1.3% of GDP (2015 est.)
-2.3% of GDP (2014 est.)
GDP - composition, by end usehousehold consumption: 83.7%
government consumption: 25.4%
investment in fixed capital: 13.2%
investment in inventories: -0.1%
exports of goods and services: 24.4%
imports of goods and services: -46.6% (2016 est.)
GDP - composition, by sector of originagriculture: 12.2%
industry: 28.4%
services: 59.4% (2016 est.)
Agriculture - productstobacco, corn, cotton, wheat, coffee, sugarcane, peanuts; sheep, goats, pigs
Industriesmining (coal, gold, platinum, copper, nickel, tin, diamonds, clay, numerous metallic and nonmetallic ores), steel; wood products, cement, chemicals, fertilizer, clothing and footwear, foodstuffs, beverages
Industrial production growth rate-3% (2016 est.)
Labor force8.098 million (2016 est.)
Labor force - by occupationagriculture: 66%
industry: 10%
services: 24% (1996)
Unemployment rate95% (2009 est.)
80% (2005 est.)
note: figures include unemployment and underemployment; true unemployment is unknown and, under current economic conditions, unknowable
Population below poverty line72.3% (2012 est.)
Household income or consumption by percentage sharelowest 10%: 2%
highest 10%: 40.4% (1995)
Distribution of family income - Gini index50.1 (2006)
50.1 (1995)
Budgetrevenues: $3.4 billion
expenditures: $3.9 billion (2016 est.)
Taxes and other revenues24% of GDP (2016 est.)
Budget surplus (+) or deficit (-)-3.5% of GDP (2016 est.)
Public debt45.4% of GDP (2016 est.)
44.7% of GDP (2015 est.)
Fiscal yearcalendar year
Inflation rate (consumer prices)1.6% (2016 est.)
-2.4% (2015 est.)
Central bank discount rate7.17% (31 December 2010)
975% (31 December 2007)
Commercial bank prime lending rate20% (31 December 2016 est.)
18% (31 December 2015 est.)
Stock of narrow money$2.13 billion (31 December 2016 est.)
$2.112 billion (31 December 2015 est.)
note: Zimbabwe's central bank no longer publishes data on monetary aggregates, except for bank deposits, which amounted to $2.1 billion in November 2010; the Zimbabwe dollar stopped circulating in early 2009; since then, the US dollar and South African rand hav
Stock of broad money$47.64 billion (31 December 2013 est.)
$101.1 billion (31 December 2014 est.)
Stock of domestic credit$5.055 billion (31 December 2016 est.)
$5.013 billion (31 December 2015 est.)
Market value of publicly traded shares$4.073 billion (13 April 2015 est.)
$11.82 billion (31 December 2012 est.)
$10.9 billion (31 December 2011 est.)
Current account balance-$1.069 billion (2016 est.)
-$1.52 billion (2015 est.)
Exports$3.257 billion (2016 est.)
$3.551 billion (2015 est.)
Exports - commoditiesplatinum, cotton, tobacco, gold, ferroalloys, textiles/clothing
Exports - partnersChina 27.8%, Democratic Republic of the Congo 14%, Botswana 12.5%, South Africa 7.6% (2015)
Imports$5.738 billion (2016 est.)
$6.016 billion (2015 est.)
Imports - commoditiesmachinery and transport equipment, other manufactures, chemicals, fuels, food products
Imports - partnersSouth Africa 48.1%, China 12.1%, India 5.2%, Zambia 4.6% (2015)
Reserves of foreign exchange and gold$326.3 million (31 December 2016 est.)
$339.1 million (31 December 2015 est.)
Debt - external$10.9 billion (31 December 2016 est.)
$10.56 billion (31 December 2015 est.)
Stock of direct foreign investment - at home$3.413 billion (31 December 2016 est.)
Stock of direct foreign investment - abroad$252.1 million (31 December 2016 est.)
Exchange ratesZimbabwean dollars (ZWD) per US dollar -
1 (2016 est.)
NA (2013)
234.25 (2010)

note: the dollar was adopted as a legal currency in 2009; since then the Zimbabwean dollar has experienced hyperinflation and is essentially worthless