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Country analysis

Zimbabwe


Since 2008, Zimbabwe has been experiencing an economic crisis characterised by hyperinflation, increased poverty levels, and political instability. Since September 2023, the inflation trend in Zimbabwe has seen a further increase, from 1% to 6.6% in January 2024. This upward trend is attributed to various factors, including the increase in the prices of food, services, and housing and the depreciation of the domestic currency.

Frequent droughts are a major climate risk for the country, with a significant impact on livelihoods and food security. About 70% of the population depends on rain-fed agriculture, and most farmers are smallholders with low yields. Low harvests, high food prices, the impact of COVID-19, and the war in Ukraine have worsened food insecurity. In the 2023 Global Hunger Index, Zimbabwe ranked 107th out of 125 countries.

An estimated 3.4 million people in Zimbabwe were projected to be food-insecure between October–December 2023. This number is expected to reach 2.7 million in the first quarter of 2024 because of factors such as the early exhaustion of local food stocks, high food prices as a result of weather shocks, and poor macroeconomic conditions contributing to increased food assistance needs.

(WFP 06/02/2024, FEWS NET 01/11/2023, RBZ accessed 08/02/2024, Concern/WHH 12/10/2023, Bloomberg 29/01/2024)

Since 2008, Zimbabwe has been experiencing an economic crisis characterised by hyperinflation, increased poverty levels, and political instability. Since September 2023, the inflation trend in Zimbabwe has seen a further increase, from 1% to 6.6% in January 2024. This upward trend is attributed to various factors, including the increase in the prices of food, services, and housing and the depreciation of the domestic currency.

Frequent droughts are a major climate risk for the country, with a significant impact on livelihoods and food security. About 70% of the population depends on rain-fed agriculture, and most farmers are smallholders with low yields. Low harvests, high food prices, the impact of COVID-19, and the war in Ukraine have worsened food insecurity. In the 2023 Global Hunger Index, Zimbabwe ranked 107th out of 125 countries.

An estimated 3.4 million people in Zimbabwe were projected to be food-insecure between October–December 2023. This number is expected to reach 2.7 million in the first quarter of 2024 because of factors such as the early exhaustion of local food stocks, high food prices as a result of weather shocks, and poor macroeconomic conditions contributing to increased food assistance needs.

(WFP 06/02/2024, FEWS NET 01/11/2023, RBZ accessed 08/02/2024, Concern/WHH 12/10/2023, Bloomberg 29/01/2024)

Latest updates on country situation

30 January 2024

From December 2023 to January 2024, Zimbabwe’s inflation rose from an annual rate of 26.5% to 34.8%, while consumer prices rose by 6.6% from 4.7%. Since September 2023, consumer prices have been rising steadily, and the Zimbabwean dollar has lost about 40% of its value as at January 2024. (RZB accessed 01/02/2024, Bloomberg 29/01/2024, BT 01/02/2024)

24 October 2023

The annual consumer inflation rate in Zimbabwe fell to 18.4% in September 2023 from 77.2% in August given a change in the methodology used by the statistics agency to reflect the increased use of the US dollar in the economy, which as at August 2023 accounted for 80% of all transactions. In September, consumer prices rose by 1% compared to the previous month, and food inflation increased from 17.9% to 23.1%. (WFP 30/09/2023, TE accessed 22/10/2023)

20 September 2023

In Zimbabwe, concerns about food insecurity stemming from environmental conditions are leading more people to adopt crop diversification, water harvesting, the use of drought-tolerant crops, and consumption-based coping as the lean season approaches. The El Niño phenomenon is expected to reduce rainfall throughout the country, particularly in western areas, from October–December 2023. (WFP 31/08/2023, C3S accessed 27/09/2023)

17 July 2023

The initial effects of El Niño are leading to drier-than-normal conditions in Zimbabwe, most likely affecting food security in the coming months. The November 2023 to March 2024 period is expected to be drier than average and will coincide with the agricultural season, which might significantly affect crop planting, growth, and harvest. In 2023, an estimated three million people will be in need of humanitarian assistance, including two million children, as a result of the combined impact of climate change and the protracted economic crisis in the country. Since February 2023, a cholera outbreak has also been affecting most regions. Main needs include nutrition, health, protection, education, and WASH services. (FAO 17/07/2023, UNICEF 05/06/2023)

current crises
in Zimbabwe


These crises have been identified through the INFORM Severity Index, a tool for measuring and comparing the severity of humanitarian crises globally.

Read more about the Index

REG012 - Southern Africa Regional Food Security Crisis

Last updated 31/01/2024


Drivers


Crisis level

Regional

Severity level

3.9 High

Access constraints

4.0

ZWE001 - Complex crisis

Last updated 31/01/2024


Drivers

Socio-political
Drought

Crisis level

Country

Severity level

3.5 High

Access constraints

2.0

Analysis products
on Zimbabwe

Ripple effects of the conflict in Ukraine: truths and myths

22 December 2022

Ripple effects of the conflict in Ukraine: truths and myths

DOCUMENT / PDF / 4 MB

This report provides a commentary on relevant datasets as it examines trends related to the economic effects of the 2022 Russian invasion of Ukraine on selected countries in the Middle East, Africa, and Asia. 

Conflict and violenceEconomy
Zimbabwe: Tropical Cyclone Idai, Update I

29 March 2019

Zimbabwe: Tropical Cyclone Idai, Update I

DOCUMENT / PDF / 406 KB

Since 19 March, severe flooding continues to affect eastern Zimbabwe. In total, it is estimated that 270,000 people have been affected in nine districts, mainly in Chimanimani and Chipinge districts, Manicaland province. This marks a significant increase of more than 250,000 people since our last report.

Natural hazards
Zimbabwe: Tropical Cyclone Idai

19 March 2019

Zimbabwe: Tropical Cyclone Idai

DOCUMENT / PDF / 503 KB

Tropical Cyclone Idai hit eastern Zimbabwe with heavy rains and strong winds on 15-16 March. Manicaland and Masvingo provinces are mostly impacted, facing massive destructing caused by floods and landslides. An estimated number of 12,500 to 15,000 people have been affected overall, with at least 9,600 people in the hardest hit districts.

Natural hazards
Zimbabwe: Cholera outbreak

18 September 2018

Zimbabwe: Cholera outbreak

DOCUMENT / PDF / 424 KB

An outbreak of cholera declared on 6 September has killed at least 30 people and infected at least 5,460. The most severely affected areas are the two epicentres of the outbreaks in the suburbs of Glenview and Budiriro in western Harare. The outbreak has spread from Harare to Chitungwiza, and west to Gokwe and Bulawayo. 

Health
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