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Zimbabwe Country Report

Country Risk Level

High

Overview

Executive Summary

In May 2019, the International Monetary Fund (IMF) approved a staff-monitored programme for the country, involving no loans but rather the IMF playing an advisory role. The IMF continues to be concerned about the reduction of central bank financing of the fiscal deficit. It is also expected to monitor the privatisation of parastatals, including TelOne and NetOne. Continued drought conditions are likely to result in another poor harvest in 2020. This, combined with ongoing lockdown measures implemented to fight the spread of COVID-19, will likely result in severe food shortages and a contraction of the economy.Zimbabwe’s progress on re-engaging with the international community remains slow, contributing to constrained access to official external support. Continued arrest and detention of opposition MPs and journalists critical of government suggest that external engagement and support is unlikely in the next 12 months. Severe weather conditions, civil unrest, and rising prices have dampened economic growth. While the agricultural sector has seen a modest rebound in the first quarter of 2020, food shortages remain and shattered domestic macroeconomic conditions challenge a rebound in GDP in 2020, suggesting the economy will continue contracting in 2020, by 7.4%.

Operational Outlook

The ruling ZANU-PF party has shifted the focus of its policy outlook away from indigenisation, although it has 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 continues to deter major investments. Infrastructure development plans set out in ZANU-PF's ZimAsset economic blueprint and the 2020 budget are hampered by capital challenges.

Terrorism

There are no major organised non-state armed groups active against the government. Instead, Zimbabwe faces politically motivated violence, often in response to opposition protests calling for electoral reform, and crime driven by socio-economic hardships. 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.

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 these 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.

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 major cities such as Harare or Bulawayo, increasing the risk of injury to expatriates passing by, damage to high-street property, especially retail, and closure of roads.

Social Stability

Recurrent and spontaneous organised protests in response to food shortages and 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.

Health Risk

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.

Natural Risks

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

Transportation

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.

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:

Risk Level
Critical High Medium Low Minimal