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Country Reports

Zimbabwe Country Report

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Risk Level

Low
Moderate
Elevated
High
Very High
Severe
Extreme

Overview

Executive Summary

President Mnangagwa has gradually consolidated power within the ruling party and government since the ousting of the late Robert Mugabe at the end of 2017. The recent retirement and redeployment to diplomatic service of four senior generals is an effort to avoid coup risk, particularly as the military has been more under the influence of Vice-President General Constantino Chiwenga than Mnangagwa. Chiwenga's prolonged stay in China for medical treatment has allowed Mnangagwa to further bring the military under his control. Zimbabwe has abandoned indigenisation legislation that required 51% minimum local ownership, and has embarked on a programme of compensating white farmers who lost land in 2000. Indigenisation policy still applies within the mining sector, however.On 31 May 2019, the International Monetary fund (IMF) approved a staff monitored programme for the country, which does not involve loans but will see the IMF play an advisory role. Among the key concerns for the IMF is the reduction of central bank financing of the fiscal deficit. It is also expected to monitor the privatisation of parastatals, including TelOne and NetOne. Zimbabwe's GDP growth is forecasted to be 3.1% in 2019, given an expected improvement in exports. In December 2018, inflation reached 42.1%, and the Reserve Bank of Zimbabwe stated that the current-account deficit widened to USD1,029 million in 2018, compared with USD286.2 million in 2017. Finance Minister Mthuli Ncube has been heavily criticised for implementation of a 2% tax on all electronic financial transactions introduced on 1 October 2018, to raise USD2 billion in revenues and reduce the budget deficit which sat at USD2.5 billion in November 2018. The cancellation of the US dollar and the rand as legal tender in June 2019 was intended to reduce pressure for the government to pay civil servants in dollars, but raises the risk of further increasing inflation, already at 600%.
Last update: October 29, 2019

Operational Outlook

The ruling ZANU-PF party has focused its policy outlook on indigenisation and announced measures to stimulate local beneficiation in the agricultural and mining sectors. Potential for incremental policy moderation has been raised by ongoing economic challenges and as the authorities seek greater international re-engagement, including with the International Monetary Fund. Nevertheless, policy uncertainty under the new administration is likely to continue to deter significant investment. Infrastructure development plans outlined in ZANU-PF's ZimAsset economic blueprint and the 2018 budget are likely to be impacted by capital challenges.

Last update: June 18, 2019

Terrorism

Moderate

There are no major organised non-state armed groups are active against the government. Instead, Zimbabwe faces politically motivated violence often in response to opposition protests demanding electoral reform, and crime driven by socio-economic hardships. Key hotspots for politically motivated violence and unrest include urban centres such as Harare and Bulawayo and rural regions in Manicaland, Masvingo, and Mashonaland East provinces. Large numbers of refugees at international border posts would increase the risk of delays and insecurity along major cross-border routes, such as the Beitbridge border post with South Africa.

Last update: October 18, 2019

Crime

Although the crime rate is lower than in some neighbouring countries such as South Africa, it has increased in Zimbabwe in recent years. Crimes include armed robbery, often involving the use of firearms. Petty crimes include, muggings and pick-pocketing in urban centres such as Harare and Bulawayo, while carjacking and robbery are also risks in major cities. In the capital city of Harare, for example, robberies have been reported in recent years along Seke Road, as well as near the Beitbridge junctions and the road between Harare and Masvingo. Wildlife poaching, drug and human trafficking, and, for example, smuggling of minerals and cigarettes are other crime threats.

Last update: October 18, 2019

War Risks

Violent inter-state confrontations between Zimbabwe and its neighbours are unlikely. Political campaign rallies held by the ZANU-PF, as well as the opposition Movement for Democratic Change (MDC), increases the risk of fighting between opposing party members, or between citizens and security forces. Confrontations are likely to take place in the main cities such as Harare or Bulawayo, increasing the risk of injury to passing-by expatriates, damage to high street property, especially retail, and closure of roads.

Last update: October 18, 2019

Social Stability

Very high

Recurrent and spontaneous organised protests in response to price rises are likely to continue in the one-year outlook. Violent confrontations with security police are likely to increase the risk of injury to passer-by expatriates, damage to commercial property in high streets, and disruption to road networks in the major cities.

Last update: October 18, 2019

Health Risk

Severe

Vaccinations required to enter the country

Proof of vaccination against yellow fever is required for all individuals traveling from a country with risk of yellow fever transmission.

Routine Vaccinations

Hepatitis A: A vaccine is available for anyone over one year of age. The vaccine may not be effective for certain people, e.g. those born before 1945 and who lived as a child in a developing country and/or have a past history of jaundice (icterus). These people can instead get a shot of immune globulin (IG) to boost their immunity against the disease.

Hepatitis B: A vaccine is available for children at least two months old.

Diphtheria-Tetanus-Polio: A booster shot should be administered if necessary (once every ten years).

Other Vaccinations

Typhoid Fever: If your travels take you to regions with poor sanitary conditions (for children two years old and up).

Rabies: For prolonged stays in an isolated region (for children from when they can walk).

Malaria: Recommended preventive medication - mefloquine (sometimes marketed as Lariam) or doxycycline (sometimes marketed as Vibramycin).

For Children: All standard childhood immunizations should be up-to-date. In the case of a long stay, the BCG vaccine is recommended for children over one month and the MMR (measles-mumps-rubella) vaccine for children over nine months.

Last update: April 5, 2019

Natural Risks

Very high

Flash flooding during the rainy season (November to February) can impact travel and leave certain roads impassable.

Last update: April 5, 2019

Transportation

Elevated

Road accidents in Zimbabwe present a serious danger to travelers. Vehicles are often overcrowded, highways are narrow, and large potholes can cause drivers to swerve at high speeds. Due to poor maintenance and frequent power outages, some traffic lights are not functional. Local drivers often use hazard lights in intersections with malfunctioning traffic lights. Zimbabwean police are mostly funded through fines collected at roadblocks and often pull people over to levy spot fines for traffic infractions.

Of note, it is an offense to continue driving when the president's motorcade drives by, no matter which side of the road you are on. Pull over to the side of the road and wait until it passes; a number of instances have been reported of security forces assaulting individuals for not stopping soon enough.

Last update: April 5, 2019

Infrastructure

Finally, shortages of food, fuel, water, and medication regularly affect hundreds of thousands of people in the country, especially in rural areas. During the dry season (May-October), lengthy power outages are common due to the low level of the Zambezi River; most of the country's electricity comes from hydroelectric sources. Mobile and landline phone networks are largely unreliable.

Last update: April 5, 2019

Practical Information

Climate

Zimbabwe's climate is tempered by its high elevation; the entire country is essentially located on a plateau. The winter (May to October) is hot and sunny during the day but cool at night; conditions are warmer and more humid in the Lowveld and Zambezi Valley. The summer (November to April) is rainy and violent but brief storms are common; humidity levels are very high and often stifling.

Useful Numbers

Country Code: +263
Police: 995
Emergency Services: 999
Ambulance: 994 (only Harare)

Electricity

Voltage: 220 V ~ 50 Hz

Outlets:

Last update: April 5, 2019