Zimbabwe, is a landlocked country located in southern Africa situated between 15°35’ and 22°30’ latitude south of the equator and between 25° and 33° east of the Greenwich Meridian. It is situated in south Central Africa between the Limpopo river in the south and the Zambezi river in the north. Zimbabwe is bounded by Zambia to the north and north-west, by South Africa to the south, by Mozambique to the east and north-east and by Botswana to the south-west. Zimbabwe lies wholly to the north of the Tropic of Capricorn. It is part of the great plateau which is a major feature of the geography of the southern African region. The capital and largest city is Harare.
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Zimbabwe is a low-income, food-deficit country, ranked 172 out of 186 countries according to the 2013 UNDP Human Development Index. According to the Zimbabwe National Statistics Agency (ZIMSTAT) some 62.6 percent of the population live below the national poverty line (on less than US$ 1.25 per day). Some 30 percent of the rural poor are considered to be ‘food poor' or ‘extremely poor'. Although the prevalence of HIV has been reduced, it still remains high with nearly 13.7 percent of adults (approximately 1.5 million) living with HIV. Of these, less than half (670,000) received anti-retroviral treatment (ART) as of December 2013. Furthermore, 68 percent of tuberculosis (TB) carriers test positive for HIV – and many of these also suffer from malnutrition due to food insecurity. Meanwhile, rural poverty has increased from 63 percent in 2003 to 76 percent in 2014. Most households in the rural areas are net food buyers: they do not (for a number of reasons) produce enough food to meet their needs through to the next harvest season. Consequently, they rely on markets and other non-farm sources such as casual labour to bridge the food gap to the next season. As such, a number of people in rural areas will struggle to meet their daily food needs.
Zimbabwe's economy depends heavily on its mining and agriculture sectors. Following a decade of contraction from 1998 to 2008, the economy recorded real growth of more than 10% per year in 2010-13, before slowing to roughly 3% in 2014 due to poor harvests, low diamond revenues, and decreased investment. Infrastructure and regulatory deficiencies, a poor investment climate, a large public and external debt burden, and extremely high government wage expenses impede the country’s economic performance. Until early 2009, the Reserve Bank of Zimbabwe (RBZ) routinely printed money to fund the budget deficit, causing hyperinflation. Dollarization in early 2009 - which allowed currencies such as the Botswana pula, the South Africa rand, and the US dollar to be used locally - ended hyperinflation and reduced inflation below 10% per year, but exposed structural weaknesses that inhibit broad-based growth. The RBZ reintroduced coins denominated in local currency in December 2014, more than five years after the Zimbabwe dollar was taken out of circulation. In January 2015, as part of the government’s effort to boost trade and attract foreign investment, the RBZ announced that the Chinese yen, Indian rupee, Australian dollar, and Japanese yen would be accepted as legal tender in Zimbabwe.
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