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Zimbabwe Economy Profile 2017

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Economy - overviewZimbabwe'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 4% in 2014 due to poor harvests, low diamond revenues, and decreased investment. Growth turned negative in 2016. 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. Adoption of a multi-currency basket in early 2009 - which allowed currencies such as the Botswana pula, the South Africa rand, and the US dollar to be used locally - reduced inflation below 10% per year. 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, though transactions were predominantly carried out in US dollars and South African rand until 2016, when the rand’s devaluation and instability led to near-exclusive use of the US dollar. The government in November 2016 began releasing bond notes, a parallel currency legal only in Zimbabwe which the government claims will have a one-to-one exchange ratio with the US dollar, to ease cash shortages. Bond notes began trading at a discount of up to 10% in the black market by the end of 2016.

Zimbabwe’s government entered a second Staff Monitored Program with the IMF in 2014 and undertook other measures to reengage with international financial institutions. Zimbabwe repaid roughly $108 million in arrears to the IMF in October 2016, but financial observers note that Zimbabwe is unlikely to gain new financing because the government has not disclosed how it plans to repay more than $1.7 billion in arrears to the World Bank and African Development Bank. International financial institutions want Zimbabwe to implement significant fiscal and structural reforms before granting new loans. Foreign and domestic investment continues to be hindered by the lack of land tenure and titling, the inability to repatriate dividends to investors overseas, and the lack of clarity regarding the government’s Indigenization and Economic Empowerment Act.
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 (2016 est.)
GDP - real growth rate-0.3% (2016 est.)
1.1% (2015 est.)
3.9% (2014 est.)
GDP - per capita (PPP)$1,700 (2016 est.)
$1,800 (2015 est.)
$1,800 (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 sectoragriculture: 12.2%
industry: 28.4%
services: 59.4% (2016 est.)
Population below poverty line72.3% (2012 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
Unemployment, youth ages 15-24total: 8.7%
male: 7.7%
female: 9.8% (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.)
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 have been the most frequently used currencies; there are no reliable estimates of the amount of foreign currency circulating in Zimbabwe
Stock of broad money$101.1 billion (31 December 2014 est.)
$47.64 billion (31 December 2013 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.)
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.)
Current Account Balance-$234 million (2016 est.)
-$1.17 billion (2015 est.)
Exports$3.257 billion (2016 est.)
$3.551 billion (2015 est.)
Exports - commoditiesplatinum, cotton, tobacco, gold, ferroalloys, textiles/clothing
Exports - partnersChina 26.6%, Democratic Republic of the Congo 13.4%, South Africa 12.4%, Botswana 12% (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 45.4%, China 12.4%, Zambia 6.1%, India 5.3% (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.)
$3.084 billion (31 December 2015 est.)
Stock of direct foreign investment - abroad$252.1 million (31 December 2016 est.)
$234 million (31 December 2015 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
Fiscal yearcalendar year

Source: CIA World Factbook
This page was last updated on July 9, 2017

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