Natural resources and energy
Zimbabwe is rich in minerals, especially in
the central parts. The mining industry accounts for over
a tenth of GDP and nearly half of export revenue. Gold,
platinum, nickel, asbestos, diamonds and coal are some
of the most important minerals extracted. The country
has good access to coal and hydropower but suffers from
a great lack of electricity and fuel.
Zimbabwe has a large share of the world's chromite,
and also mines copper, iron ore, chrome, silver, lithium
Major exports by Zimbabwe with a full list of the top products exported by the country. Includes trade value in U.S. dollars and the percentage for each product category.
The mining industry, which is dependent on foreign
investment, declined sharply in the context of the
political crisis and the economic collapse that followed
in the first decade of the 21st century. The mines
suffered a shortage of foreign currency and spare parts.
It also happened that the loyalist militia occupied
mines or exercised extortion against their leadership.
Greater stability meant that a substantial recovery
began in 2009. Several mines that had been closed were
reopened. The global financial crisis that collapsed at
the same time pushed down the prices of some base
metals, but the gold price plunged.
Regular discussions that the state mining sector
creates uncertainty in the industry: many multinational
mining companies have sold their operations to domestic
or South African companies. The decision that at least
51 percent of all businesses must be owned by Zimbabwe
also discourages investment (see Financial overview).
Constant electricity outages and capital shortages are
other obstacles for the mining industry.
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Another problem is that perhaps as many as one
million people try to squeeze out their income by
illegally washing metals out of mines and watercourses,
which means that the state loses significant revenue.
The law says that only state-owned companies may sell
Hydroelectric power accounts for three-quarters of
domestic electricity and coal power for the rest. One
third of the electricity consumed must be imported from
neighboring countries. All oil is imported. Firewood is
the most common heat source.
FACTS - ENERGY AND ENVIRONMENT
Energy use per person
758 kilos of oil equivalent (2013)
Electricity consumption per person
543 kWh, kWh (2014)
Carbon dioxide emissions in total
12 020 thousand tonnes (2014)
Carbon dioxide emissions per inhabitant
0.8 tonnes (2014)
The share of energy from renewable sources
81.8 percent (2015)
Foreigners' shareholding is further limited
The Government states that from 1 January 2014, foreigners will not be able
to own the majority of the shares in companies operating in a number of areas
reserved for domestic ownership. These include, for example, bakeries, brokerage
firms, beauty salons, transport companies and service professions. Foreign
companies are allowed up to five years to sell their shares to Zimbabwe.
Tsvangirai employees convicted
An aide to Tsvangirai is sentenced to 18 months imprisonment on condition.
The convict was believed to have violated the electoral law when, in connection
with the election, he had found a garbage can full of MDCs filled in for MDC
and, as evidence, handed over a bundle of the ballots to the Electoral
Penalties are lifted
The EU raises sanctions against the state diamond company ZMDC.
The new parliament is assembled.
Opposition politicians are released
Authorities release about 20 opposition activists who have been jailed for
two years. They are accused of killing a policeman in connection with the police
dissolving an opposition meeting but being released when the Supreme Court finds
that there is no sustainable evidence against them.
Mugabe sets up a new government made up of old allies.
Mugabe swears in
Mugabe is sworn in as president for a new five-year term. He promises to work
to improve the country's economy and confirms that foreign companies will be
forced to transfer 51 percent of ownership to black Zimbabweans (see
June 2007 and March 2010).
Continued disagreement on election results
After the election, Tsvangirai announces that MDC-T is suspending cooperation
with Zanu-PF and intends to boycott the work of the country's governing body.
MDC-T also appeals to the Constitutional Court and demands that the results of
the presidential election be annulled and a new election held within 60 days.
However, a few weeks after the election, MDC-T releases its claims on the
grounds that the matter should not be dealt with fairly by the court.
Nevertheless, the Court commented that Mugabe's re-election was "free, fair and
Disputed election process
The African Union election observers, who have often been accused of turning
a blind eye to misconduct, believe that the election was largely correct. South
Africa congratulates Mugabe for the victory, while the United States said in a
statement that the election process included so many irregularities that the
result could hardly be seen as an expression of the Zimbabwean free will. The
United Kingdom also criticizes the election.
The credibility of the election is questioned
The Western countries have not been allowed to monitor the election, but the
national observers' organization ZESN says that the credibility of the election
can be "seriously questioned" because around one million people in the cities,
where MDC-T has their strongest support, have not been able to exercise their
voting rights, while very few are rejected in rural areas where Zanu-PF has its
strongest attachments. According to MDC-T, a large number of voters have also
been bribed to vote for Mugabe and Zanu-PF. Mugabe's victory margin equals
Tsvangirai describes the election as "a father's" and accuses Zanu-PF of
Mugabe wins criticized election
The election is carried out as planned. The electoral movement will be calm
and peaceful, but even before the voting begins, the MDC accuses the government
of having manipulated the voting lengths which are reported to contain many
duplicates and names of deceased persons. Criticism grows when the election
commission announces that Mugabe won the presidential election with 61 percent
of the vote, against 34 percent for Tsvangirai and 2.7 percent for Ncube. In the
parliamentary elections, Zanu-PF is stated to have received 197 seats (160
elected in majority plus 37 proportionally appointed seats for women, see
Political system), while MDC-T received 70 (49 + 21), MDC 2 (0 + 2) and an
independent candidate 1 mandate (1 + 0).
Criticism of failed reforms
The MDC-T calls on the SADC Regional Cooperation Organization to try to
persuade President Mugabe not to conduct the July 31 elections, as the required
reforms have not been implemented. Amnesty International appeals to the SADC and
the AU to ensure that the "state-staged violence" that characterized previous
elections in Zimbabwe is not repeated.
New party partnerships
Morgan Tsvangirai's MDC-T enters into an agreement on technical election
cooperation with the small parties Mavambo-Kusile-Dawn and Zanu-Ndonga, both
formed by former close associates of President Mugabe. The MDC faction led by
Ncube and now called only MDC (see January 2011) concludes a
corresponding cooperation agreement with the previously influential party Zapu.
In both cases, the parties promise to support each other's candidates in the
parliamentary and local elections so as not to divide the opposition's votes.
The Constitutional Court determines the election date
The Constitutional Court rejects the appeals of the election date and states
that the election must be conducted on July 31.
Selection is postponed
The Constitutional Court states that general elections must be held before
August 1st. President Mugabe then announces elections until July 31, but
opposition leader MorganTsvangirai requests deferral, citing preparation time is
far too short. Mugabe then also suggests that the election be postponed for some
Mugabe signs the proposal for the new constitution, which thus comes into
force (see March and January above).
The EU facilitates sanctions
Following the referendum, the EU abolishes its sanctions for a further number
of people and companies in the circle of President Mugabe (see also February
2012). The sanctions then include ten people, including President Mugabe, and
The Prime Minister's staff arrested
The day after the referendum, the police raid Prime Minister Tsvangirai's
office and seize some of his co-workers, including one of his lawyers.
Yes in the referendum
On March 16, the referendum, which was preceded by some violence against
political activists, will be carried out. Nearly 95 percent of those who
participate vote in favor of the proposal. A little more than half of those
entitled to vote participate in the election, which is more than political
No to election observers
The government announces that no observers from EU countries or the US will
be invited to this year's referendum and parliamentary elections. According to
the government, Western observers are not objective.
Radio sets are confiscated
The police are reported to have banned the possession of shortwave radios and
confiscated them during raids against voluntary organizations. The ban is
justified by the fact that independent radio stations transmit revolting
propaganda via shortwave.
Parliament approves the new constitution.
Consensus on Constitution
Prime Minister Tsvangirai and President Mugabe agree on the draft
constitution (see July and August 2012). Mugabe states that a
referendum will be held on the proposal and that elections will then be arranged
if the proposal is approved.