Zimbabwe is situated in Southern Africa, bordering Mozambique, South Africa, Botswana and Zambia to the east, south, west and north, respectively. The country is landlocked with a total area of approximately 390,757 square kilometres. It has a population of about 15 million and a GDP of UD$26.2bn. Agriculture is the backbone of Zimbabwe’s economy and is dependent on rainfall and susceptible to weather or climate variations that include droughts and floods. The agriculture sector is made up of agro-estates, a large-scale commercial sector, a medium-scale commercial farming sector and a smallholder farming sector. It is dominated by more than 1.3 million smallholder farmers, most of which are using traditional farming methods that lead to low production.
Tobacco is the largest foreign currency earner in the agricultural sector, with small- and medium-scale farmers accounting for between 60% and 70% of tobacco production. Flue cured, burley and oriental tobacco are produced, mostly under contract farming schemes for cigarette manufacturers. Sugar is the second-largest and is grown under irrigation by corporate estates and small- to medium-scale farmers. Around 80% of the country’s sugar cane is produced by Triangle Sugar Estate and Hippo Valley Estate, which also own
Zimbabwe’s two sugar mills. Seed cotton is produced by more than 300,000 smallholder farmers under rain-fed conditions and is an important cash crop.
Zimbabwe's second-largest sector is mining which includes gold, platinum group metals, chrome, coal, diamonds, and lithium. Tourism is the third-largest sector and has the potential to play a significant role in the country’s economic recovery. Zimbabwe has several national parks and natural attractions such as Hwange, Mana Pools, and Gonarezhou National Parks, Victoria Falls, Lake Kariba, and the Great Zimbabwe National Monument.
Economic activity slowed in 2022, constrained by worsening agricultural conditions and price instability. Real GDP growth is projected to slow to 3.4% in 2022 from 5.8% in 2021. Mining, trade, and tourism took advantage of high commodity prices and the relaxation of COVID-19 restrictions.
Historically Zimbabwe has had runaway inflation which is estimated to have averaged 213% in 2022 and expected to remain in triple digits in 2023. Real GDP growth is expected to be 3.6% in 2023 and 2024, supported by a better agricultural season, slowing inflation, and the relaxation of pandemic requirements.
Sources: Who Owns Whom sector reports, CIA Factbook, African Development Bank, World Bank, Trading Economics, African Statistical Yearbook and IMF.