Versions Compared


  • This line was added.
  • This line was removed.
  • Formatting was changed.


  • Beitbridge
  • Chirundu
  • Victoria Falls
  • Kazungula
  • Nyamapanda
  • Kariba, Forbes
  • Mt Selinda
  • Sango
  • Mphoengs
  • Maitengwe
  • Pandamatenga
  • Plumtree
  • Kanyemba 
  • Mukumbura Border Post


Telephone system

The telephone system was once one of the best in Africa, but now suffers from poor maintenance. The domestic system consists of microwave radio relay links, open-wire lines, radiotelephone communication stations, fixed wireless local loop installations, and a substantial mobile-cellular network; Internet connection is available in Harare and planned for all major towns and for some of the smaller ones. International: country code - 263; satellite earth stations - 2 Intelsat; 2 international digital gateway exchanges (in Harare and Gweru) (2014) (CIA World Fact Sheet) 

Broadcast Media

The government owns 4 radio stations, and 2 TV stations. There are 2 more independent radio stations. The government in 2014-5 opened up the airwaves for more radio stations. The country has seen more radio stations coming on board because of the liberalisation of the airwaves. Foreign shortwave broadcasts and satellite TV are available to those who can afford antennas and receivers; in rural areas, access to TV broadcasts is extremely limited

Energy and Electricity Resources
The availability of electric power is a basic requirement for all Zimbabweans. Power supplies underpin all other services, and there is undeniable evidence that the development of reliable, adequate, low priced power can contribute significantly to the efficient and effective functioning of the Zimbabwe economy and the maintenance of Zimbabweans’ standard of living, as well as to stimulating the expansion of existing businesses and the establishment of new ones. However, to operate efficiently businesses and factories need electricity supplies that are free of interruptions and shortages. In the past decade, domestic power generation capacity has fallen far below demand as a result of lack of maintenance of aging generation plants, and transmission and distribution facilities, as well as disruptions in the supply of coal for generation. Only 1,000 MW out of 2,000 MW of installed generation capacity is currently available, leading to unreliable power supplies and severe electricity shortages. The ongoing electricity supply interruptions in Zimbabwe continue to have serious repercussions for efforts to turn the economy around and achieve sustainable economic and social growth in the medium- and longer-term. An efficient and viable electricity sector will ensure economic stability and growth, given the forward and backward linkages with the rest of the economy.

Most of Zimbabwe's power is generated by a hydroelectric station at Kariba Dam on the Zambezi River. With considerable hydroelectric power potential and plentiful coal deposits for thermal power station, Zimbabwe is less dependent on oil as an energy source than most other comparably industrialized countries, but it still imports 40% of its electric power needs from the DRC, Mozambique and South Africa. Only about 15% of Zimbabwe's total energy consumption is accounted for by oil, all of which is imported. Zimbabwe imports about 1.2 billion litres of oil per year. Dependence on petroleum is managed through the price controls for vehicle fuels, the use of gasohol, and the substitution of diesel-electric locomotives on the railway system. Zimbabwe also has substantial coal reserves that are utilized for power generation, and recently discovered in Matabeleland province are coal bed methane deposits greater than any known natural gas field in Southern or Eastern Africa. In recent years, however, economic management challenges and low foreign currency reserves have led to fuel shortages. The electric power supply has become erratic and blackouts are common due to low generator availability at the Kariba hydroelectric power plant and unreliable or non-existent coal supplies to the country's large thermal plants.

Water Supply and Sanitation

Zimbabwe has limited water resources and generally depends on surface storage for its water needs. All of Zimbabwe’s major rivers are shared with other members of the Southern Africa Development Community (SADC). Zimbabwe cooperates actively with other members of SADC on the shared management of the region’s river systems, and it is a signatory to the Shared Water Course Systems Protocol, which provides the basis for management of the international rivers in the SADC countries. It is also an active member of the Limpopo and Zambezi basin communities which oversee joint management of these international rivers. The largest user of water in Zimbabwe is the agricultural sector which accounts for about three-quarters of total consumption, followed by the domestic sector which accounts for about 15 percent and industry the remaining 7 percent. It is a major national resource and, up until the economic crisis of the previous decade, it was a crucial factor in Zimbabwe’s agricultural and industrial competitive advantage in the region. Access to improved water and sanitation has a direct positive impact on health in Zimbabwe, particularly among children. It also tends to raise school attendance rates, particularly for girls, and the ability of children to learn. Improvements in such areas in turn may have a high payoff in the long term in terms of productivity. In the past decade, the water supply and sanitation systems in many urban and rural areas in Zimbabwe have deteriorated and water dependent businesses have been adversely affected by shortages. Sewerage systems have experienced large-scale blockages, water treatment plants are dysfunctional and lack chemicals; and many distribution systems have fallen into disrepair. The failure of the electric power system to provide a regular and reliable supply of electricity has compounded the problem of operating the water supply and sewerage systems of urban areas and has contributed to collapse of the system.

Ports and harbours

Zimbabwe is a landlocked country and relies on Mozambican (Beira port), South African and to a lesser extend Namibian ports and Dar El Salaam port for its overseas imports that come by sea.


The adoption of the multi-currency regime had a significant positive impact on the country’s telecom industry: Network operators have access to funding for network expansions. Hundreds of millions of US dollars are now being invested into the three mobile networks – Econet Wireless Zimbabwe Limited (“Econet), NetOne Cellular (Private) Limited (“NetOne”) and Telecel Zimbabwe (Private) Limited (“Telecel”). Mobile penetration has increased more than fivefold within three years to reach around 97% in early 2013. TelOne (Private) Limited (formerly Postal and Telecommunications Corporation of Zimbabwe) still holds a de-facto monopoly on fixed-line services in the country. The government is planning to privatise up to 60% of TelOne and NetOne, either through an IPO or a strategic partnership with a foreign investor.  A second national fixed telephone operator, TeleAccess was licensed in 2002 but had its licence withdrawn in 2005 due to non-performance resulting from difficulties to raise funding. Another licensed Operator Afritell (a public-private partnership) also failed in bringing competition to the fixed-line sector.

Despite the limited fixed-line infrastructure, Internet usage in Zimbabwe has continued to rise a penetration rate 31% in early 2013. However, limitations of international bandwidth have affected development of the sector. To that end, new fibre optic links are currently being deployed to improve international connectivity via neighbouring countries with access to international submarine fibre optic cables. The ISP market is reasonably competitive with six major players. Eight companies have been licensed to provide VoIP telephony services. Several data carriers have been licensed and are rolling out national fibre backbone networks. ISPs have begun rolling out wireless broadband access networks, and the first 3G mobile broadband service in the country was overwhelmed by demand within weeks after launch.

Equitable and adequate access to ICT is essential for growth of the Zimbabwe economy. Globally, ICT has become an important technological focus and its accessibility and affordability has increased exponentially in the past quarter century. With greater access to technology, workers are able to perform many everyday jobs much more swiftly and extra tasks away from the office. This, in turn, tends to increase productivity and enhance growth. For businesses, reliable and widely available ITC facilitates the rapid and free flow of information, impacts positively on efficiency by helping to expedite communication and decision making by economic actors on the basis of readily available relevant information. However, in the past decade Zimbabwe has lagged behind its regional counterparts in terms of ICT service penetration, and the rate at which new technology is adopted. This is mainly due to lack of resources for maintenance and significant new investment. As a result, there are a number of challenges in both the data and voice arenas, which are manifested by congestion and slow connections due to inadequate infrastructure.

Bilateral investment agreements

Zimbabwe has investment treaties with 21 countries; only six of these treaties (with the Netherlands, Denmark, Germany, South Korea, South Africa, and Switzerland) have been ratified. Three other investment agreements with Botswana, India, and Iran are awaiting ratification before they become effective. 


Zimbabwe economic crises prior to 2009, led to many of the country's most skilled and well educated citizens to emigrate, leading to widespread labour shortages for managerial and technical jobs. At the same time, the decade long severe contraction of the economy caused formal sector employment to drop significantly.

State enterprises and parastatals (“SEPs”)

Zimbabwe has 78 SEPs. Many SEPs support vital infrastructure e.g. energy and transportation, so that competition within the sectors where parastatals operate tends to be limited. Most parastatals have performed poorly in recent years due to debt overhang, lack of maintenance, and inadequate investment due to lack of funding thereby imposing significant costs on the rest of the economy. However, the Government is now inviting private investors to participate in infrastructural projects through public-private partnerships after having done an extensive exercise of all SEPS and categorising them as targets for commercialisation, restructuring or privatisation.


The abandonment of the use of the Zimbabwe dollar (in favour of the US dollar) has led to a substantial improvement in currency stability, but risks remain, should the Zimbabwe dollar be reintroduced; but The reserve bank has said that there are no plans to introduce the ZIM dollar in the immediate and near future. Recently the Reserve Bank of Zimbabwe has issued a press statement demonetizing the Zimbabwean Dollar as the act of removing the legal status of the currency unit by the end of September 2015. Commercial agriculture has been seriously weakened by the land redistribution exercise and policies, and mining-sector investment continues to be threatened by lack of foreign direct investment in the country.

The Key Challenges

• The sustained deterioration in the quality of infrastructure assets stemmed from inadequate levels of public expenditures for routine and periodic maintenance of the infrastructure networks, especially in power, water and sanitation, and transport.

• Infrastructure services in road transport and communications that are provided by the private sector are now more expensive than in neighbouring countries, reflecting in part the economic costs of the deterioration.

• In other sectors such as power, rail transport, and fixed line communications, where services are provided by parastatals, prices have been kept low, and as a result, the economic costs of the deterioration have emerged in the form of large and, in some cases, unsustainable operating losses for these parastatals.

• The deterioration in the physical infrastructure has been accompanied by lack of progress in building institutional capacities for management and regulation of the basic services associated with these networks. Problems in this area stem from a disjoined approach to regulation and oversight among the ministries responsible for these sectors, compounded by a substantial loss of skills in the public workforce.

• The deterioration in Zimbabwe’s basic infrastructure in the past decade has, in turn, had a serious impact on other productive sectors of the economy and on the level and quality of services to the public at large.

• It has also resulted in minimal amounts of investment by the private sector in basic infrastructure, despite periodic efforts to attract such investment, for example, in the transport and communications sectors.

Decline in Infrastructure Quality and Capacity

Aspects of the deterioration in infrastructure over the past decade and the resulting decline in levels of service. Highlights that emerge from these trends are as follows:

• The share of the total road network of almost 100,000 km in fair to good condition declined from 73 percent in 1995 to about 60 percent for much of the past decade. The additional 12,800 km of road network that was reclassified to poor condition requires complete rehabilitation, the cost of which is about $1.1 billion at 2009 prices.

• The economic challenges of the past decade also led to very large declines in rail and aviation services. In the case of the railways, for example, freight carried in the mid-1990s was about 14 million tons, equivalent to almost 80 percent of the network capacity. By 2009, the amount of freight carried was 2.7 million tons, equivalent to 15 percent of the original design capacity of the network. Demand for rail freight services was substantially larger than the 2.7 million tons that was actually carried. The problem was that the available locomotive and rolling stock capacity was not sufficient to meet this demand.

• Electricity consumption per capita in Zimbabwe was 738 kWh in 1995, when the average for low income countries around the world was 414 kWh per capita and the average for Sub-Saharan Africa was 437 kWh. By 2008 per capita consumption in Zimbabwe had declined to about 600kWh per capita, only marginally higher than the average for all of Sub-Saharan Africa.

• By the latter part of the 1990s, the levels of service coverage for water and sanitation were among the highest in Sub-Saharan Africa. The country was widely seen, within Africa and internationally, as a leader in innovation, policy reform and service provision in the water sector. However, the fortunes of the sector were reversed in the past decade as a result of very limited new investment and maintenance for services and inadequate revenues of the institutions responsible for service provision. In 2000, 85 percent of the population had access to safe water and 68 percent had access to improved sanitation. By 2008, access to safe water had declined to 74 percent of the population, and access to improved sanitation stood at 41 percent. This deterioration culminated in a serious cholera epidemic in 2008 that affected more than 100,000 people and killed more than 4,000.

Low Levels of Maintenance

Low levels of periodic and routine maintenance over the past 10-15 years have been the main cause of the deterioration in the quality of the basic infrastructure of the country. This decline is well illustrated by the experience of the transport sector. The current replacement cost of the transport infrastructure and facilities is estimated to be in the range of $12 billion. The current estimated cost of rehabilitating these transport sector assets is about $4 billion at 2009 constant prices. Lack of routine maintenance of the transport infrastructure over the past decade also contributed substantially to the deterioration in these assets and the current very large backlog of capital outlays required for rehabilitation. Subject to the availability of adequate levels of funding, the proposed rehabilitation program for the decade ahead would restore these assets to full working condition. The challenge will be to ensure that there is adequate provision for maintenance of these rehabilitated assets. This will require a major reassessment of the manner in which maintenance requirements for the transport sector are funded.

Costs of Infrastructure Services

The direct and indirect costs of these infrastructure services are high. In the case of road freight services provided by the private sector, responses from private companies suggest that the average cost of road freight within Zimbabwe is in the range of 10 US cents per ton kilometre. These rates are substantially higher than those that apply on the regional road corridors in Southern Africa, which are typically in the range of 3 to 6 US cents per ton km. However, the indirect costs of transportation can be substantial; for example, there is scope for reducing transit freight rates between South Africa, Zimbabwe, and Lusaka in Zambia. These costs arise in a variety of ways, including, for example, from supply problems, such as frequent electrical power outages, dependence on high cost power from private generators, and failure to supply water to firms and households on a regular basis. Systematic data on these types of costs are not readily available, but anecdotal evidence confirms the impact of these failures on costs for firms take as much as nine days for freight traffic, half of which is spent at border crossings at Beitbridge and Chirundu. Clearance by customs and other border agencies can be burdensome, costly, and time consuming. One of the major challenges facing the country in the decade ahead is the rehabilitation of the existing economic infrastructure and the addition of new capacity to meet existing and future demand in both urban and rural areas.

Service Levels in Zimbabwe

In the early 1990s, the coverage and quality of the basic infrastructure of Zimbabwe was among the best in the region. In the past decade, the quality of these infrastructure assets has deteriorated. As things now stand, the amount and quality of the country’s infrastructure is roughly in line with that of other Southern African countries, but as with many other Sub-Saharan countries, Zimbabwe now lags behind most other regional groupings in the world in infrastructure service coverage and quality. Zimbabwe does have one of the largest road and rail networks in the Southern Africa region. Although airport density is low and the related infrastructure dilapidated, railways, roads, and access to ports are somewhat better relative to conditions in other countries in the region. Access to power, water, and sanitation services is roughly comparable with other countries in the region. In the case of communications, mobile phone densities were among the lowest in the region in 2006, but access has improved sharply in the past few years. Use of the internet per 100 people, on the other hand, was the highest in the region in 2006, perhaps in reaction to inadequate access to mobile voice services. Warehouses and handling services for hire, purchase and/or lease are readily available to commercial users and well as humanitarian organisations. In addition the government through relevant ministries, the UN community, NGOs and multinational organisations have databases for various service providers that can be shared upon request. However the tobacco buying season brings in competition for space between March and August when farmers and buyers are transacting.

Additional information on Zimbabwe logistics infrastructure can be found in the following attachment: Additional Zimbabwe Infrastructure Information