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The UK annexed Southern Rhodesia from the [British] South Africa Company in 1923. A 1961 constitution was formulated that favored whites in power. In 1965 the government unilaterally declared its independence, but the UK did not recognize the act and demanded more complete voting rights for the black African majority in the country (then called Rhodesia). UN sanctions and a guerrilla uprising finally led to free elections in 1979 and independence (as Zimbabwe) in 1980. Robert Mugabe, the nation's first prime minister, has been the country's only ruler (as president since 1987) and has dominated the country's political system since independence.

Population: 11,392,629
Age Structure:
0-14 years: 43.9% (male 2,523,119/female 2,473,928)
15-64 years: 52.2% (male 2,666,928/female 3,283,474)
65 years and over: 3.9% (male 194,360/female 250,820) (2009 est.)
Birth Rate: 31.49 births/1,000 population (2009 est.)
Death Rate: 16.19 deaths/1,000 population (July 2009 est.)
Infant mortality Rate:
total: 32.31 deaths/1,000 live births
country comparison to the world: 72
male: 34.9 deaths/1,000 live births
female: 29.64 deaths/1,000 live births (2009 est.)
Life Expectancy:
total population: 45.77 years
country comparison to the world: 217
male: 46.36 years
female: 45.16 years (2009 est.)
HIV/AIDS - adult prevalence rate: 15.3% (2007 est.)
HIV/AIDS - people living with HIV/AIDS: 1.3 million (2007 est.)
HIV/AIDS - deaths: 140,000 (2007 est.)
Ethnic groups:
African 98% (Shona 82%, Ndebele 14%, other 2%), mixed and Asian 1%, white less than 1%
Religions: syncretic (part Christian, part indigenous beliefs) 50%, Christian 25%, indigenous beliefs 24%, Muslim and other 1%
Languages: English (official), Shona, Sindebele (the language of the Ndebele, sometimes called Ndebele), numerous but minor tribal dialects
Literacy:
definition: age 15 and over can read and write English
total population: 90.7%
male: 94.2%
female: 87.2% (2003 est.)
Government Type: parliamentary democracy
Capital: Harare
Geographic coordinates: 17 50 S, 31 03 E
Time difference: UTC+2 (7 hours ahead of Washington, DC during Standard Time)
Independence: 18 April 1980 (from the UK)
Suffrage: 18 years of age; universal
Currency: Zimbabwean dollars (ZWD)
Population below poverty line: 68% (2004)
Transnational Issues:
Disputes - international:
Botswana built electric fences and South Africa has placed military along the border to stem the flow of thousands of Zimbabweans fleeing to find work and escape political persecution; Namibia has supported, and in 2004 Zimbabwe dropped objections to, plans between Botswana and Zambia to build a bridge over the Zambezi River, thereby de facto recognizing a short, but not clearly delimited, Botswana-Zambia boundary in the river


Refugees and internally displaced persons:
refugees (country of origin): 2,500 (Democratic Republic of Congo)
IDPs: 569,685 (MUGABE-led political violence, human rights violations, land reform, and economic collapse) (2007)


Trafficking in persons:
current situation: Zimbabwe is a source, transit, and destination country for men, women, and children trafficked for the purposes of forced labor and sexual exploitation; large scale migration of Zimbabweans to surrounding countries - as they flee a progressively more desperate situation at home - has increased; rural Zimbabwean men, women, and children are trafficked internally to farms for agricultural labor and domestic servitude and to cities for domestic labor and commercial sexual exploitation; NGOs believe internal trafficking increased during the year, largely due to the closure of schools, worsening political violence, and a faltering economy; young men and boys are trafficked to South Africa for farm work, often laboring for months in South Africa without pay before "employers" have them arrested and deported as illegal immigrants; young women and girls are lured abroad with false employment offers that result in involuntary domestic servitude or commercial sexual exploitation; men, women, and children from neighboring states are trafficked through Zimbabwe en route to South Africa
tier rating: Tier 3 - the Government of Zimbabwe does not fully comply with the minimum standards for the elimination of trafficking and is not making significant efforts to do so; the government made minimal progress in combating trafficking in 2008, and members of its military and the former ruling party's youth militias perpetrated acts of trafficking on local populations; anti-trafficking efforts were further weakened as it failed to address Zimbabwe's economic and social problems during the reporting period, thus increasing the population's vulnerability to trafficking within and outside of the country (2009)


Illicit drugs:
transit point for cannabis and South Asian heroin, mandrax, and methamphetamines en route to South Africa


**Information retreived from CIA - The World Factbook: www.csi.gov

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