|Official Name: Republic of Zimbabwe|
Capital: Harare (also the largest city)
Official Language(s): English, Shona, Ndebele
Total area: 390,580 sq km
Climate: Sub-tropical with a rainy season from November to March
Terrain: Mostly high plateau with a higher central plateau and mountains in the east.
Even Robert Mugabe has been unable to completely eliminate Zimbabwe’s robust manufacturing potential. Zimbabwe provides a vast array of capabilities in food and beverage processing, steel production, textiles, and tobacco curing. The past success of Zimbabwe’s manufacturing industry is most easily identified by the presence of several multi-national corporations—many with Zimbabwe-based plants and facilities.
The potential for investment here is real and significant, given the right political conditions. Consider the numerous raw materials that are produced in Zimbabwe’s agricultural and mining sectors, including: sugar cane, gold, tobacco, cotton, timber, wheat, diamonds, and platinum group minerals.
At one time, Zimbabwe possessed an infrastructure (i.e. electricity production, telecommunications, and transportation systems) that was the envy of much of the continent. But neglect, regime incompetence, and market-hostile policies have taken their toll. Still, a healthy framework remains.
Like the once proud, well-educated, and multi-skilled workforce that now sits largely unemployed, Zimbabwe’s manufacturing sector yearns for the free-market investment and stability that will flourish under competent, corruption-free, political leadership (which in turn flows from free and fair elections, and the absence of regime-violence and terror).
Before Robert Mugabe nearly destroyed it, Zimbabwe was widely hailed as the “bread basket of Southern Africa”—and with good reason.
Zimbabwe claims more than 8.3 million acres of cultivatable farming land. Crops like corn, tobacco, cotton, sugar cane, and wheat thrive on these lands and at one time, Zimbabwe was one of the chief exporters of agricultural products in the region.
The largest exporter of tobacco in Africa, Zimbabwe generated nearly $550 million in tobacco revenues alone each year. Zimbabwe was once the second largest exporter of tobacco in the world.
Although Mugabe’s wide-scale land redistribution program had a devastating effect on Zimbabwe’s once fruitful agricultural sector, the fertile land—as well as the agricultural vein running deep within the country’s populace—remains intact.
Before the Mugabe-wrecked economy and the ZANU-PF thugs rendered Zimbabwe a dangerous place, the country’s tourism and recreation sector generated (during its peak in the 1990's) over $200 million a year in revenue.
“Great Zimbabwe,” is awash in natural beauty. Home to the world famous Victoria Falls, Great Zimbabwe ruins, and the Hwange National Park, Zimbabwe used to draw millions of tourists from across the world.
Zimbabwe’s Hwange National Park is one of the largest national parks in Southern Africa and is often been described as providing an experience most akin to the “interior of Africa 150 years ago.” More than 130 different mammalian species including elephants, giraffes, zebras, and lions roam freely here. Situated on 5,600 square miles of undisturbed land, the park satisfies the adventurous tourist looking for a true African safari experience. Commercial lodges, located throughout the park, offer guided tours on horseback as well as cars and many walking trails as well.
When Zimbabwe can once again claim a stable government and a healthy economy, a robust tourism sector capable of more than $1 billion in annual revenues will soon follow.
Zimbabwe is one of the most mineral-rich countries in the world, with a mining sector capable of generating billions of dollars in annual revenue.
It is proven that Zimbabwe holds large reserves of platinum—production has the potential to rival that of SA, the largest producer in the world.
Zimbabwe’s mining investment opportunities are not limited just to platinum, however. It is also endowed with gold, diamonds, nickel, chromite, copper and coal. Zimbabwe’s current extraction rate for all minerals is less than half a percentage point relative to the deposits that have been discovered.
Today, only three platinum mines operate in Zimbabwe.
There are vast expanses rich in platinum group minerals—boasting the second largest reserves in the world. Production has been artificially low due to the poor investment environment and has only risen as mines have been expanded in the last few years. Output is expected to reach 12,000kg in 2011. However, further increases are threatened by ZANU-PF's demands for the 'indigenization' of the sub-sector.
The Great Dyke in Zimbabwe is a perfect example of unrealized potential. This range of narrow ridges and hills is rich in platinum and chromite deposits. Yet, to date, this mineral-rich band remains under-exploited.
Zimbabwe is host to large deposits of diamonds. Diamonds have been discovered in the Beitbridge area of southern Zimbabwe, but the most significant and recent finds have been in Marange in the eastern part of the country. Marange has since become a major source of revenue for the regime and a honey-pot for corrupt and opaque Chinese and South African companies, among others. Massive human rights abuses have also occurred. In 2008, 200 panners were shot dead from helicopter gunships by Mugabe's forces.
As with all of Zimbabwe’s impressive natural resources, gold has been vastly underutilized. Zimbabwe was once the third largest producer of gold in Africa and in 1999 output 27 tonnes of gold. This dropped to 3.5 tonnes by 2008 as a result of government policies. Whilst in 2010 and 2011 gold output reached 5.5 tonnes (under the impetus of deregulation), the sub-sector continues to battle a serious re-capitalization deficit.
Zimbabwe has significant reserves of important minerals that are under-expolited or yet to be mined including uranium, iron ore, coking coal, and, nickel.
Inadequate supplies of electricity have been a real problem in Zimbabwe. Although the current demand is upwards of 2,000 megawatts, merely 1,000 megawatts of electricity are currently generated.
Zimbabwe relies primarily on the hydroelectric station in Kariba and the thermal power station in Hwange. Estimated costs to update the two power stations are close to $1 billion.
Of course, Zimbabwe has some of the largest reserves of coal in Africa, so building more coal-based power stations would seem a viable investment.
Additionally, another 20 trillion cubic feet of Coal Bed Methane (CBM) has been discovered in the Zambezi basin, and could potentially be a major source of domestic energy. Yet, no steps have been taken to take advantage of this resource. CBM extraction in Zimbabwe has the potential to generate hundreds of millions of dollars in annual revenue.