Zimbabwe Environment - 2023


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Environment - current issues

deforestation; soil erosion; land degradation; air and water pollution; the black rhinoceros herd - once the largest concentration of the species in the world - has been significantly reduced by poaching; poor mining practices have led to toxic waste and heavy metal pollution

Environment - international agreements

party to: Biodiversity, Climate Change, Climate Change-Kyoto Protocol, Climate Change-Paris Agreement, Comprehensive Nuclear Test Ban, Desertification, Endangered Species, Hazardous Wastes, Law of the Sea, Ozone Layer Protection, Wetlands

signed, but not ratified: none of the selected agreements


tropical; moderated by altitude; rainy season (November to March)

Land use

agricultural land: 42.5% (2018 est.)

arable land: 10.9% (2018 est.)

permanent crops: 0.3% (2018 est.)

permanent pasture: 31.3% (2018 est.)

forest: 39.5% (2018 est.)

other: 18% (2018 est.)


urban population: 32.5% of total population (2023)

rate of urbanization: 2.41% annual rate of change (2020-25 est.)

total population growth rate v. urban population growth rate, 2000-2030

Food insecurity

widespread lack of access: due to high food prices - based on a government assessment, an estimated 3.8 million people are expected to be in need of humanitarian assistance between January and March 2023; this number is higher than the level estimated in the first quarter of 2022; the downturn in food security conditions is largely on account of poor food access resulting from prevailing high food prices and reduced incomes owing to the effects of an economic downturn; a decline in cereal production in 2022 has also aggravated conditions (2023)

Revenue from forest resources

1.61% of GDP (2018 est.)

Revenue from coal

0.4% of GDP (2018 est.)

Air pollutants

particulate matter emissions: 19.35 micrograms per cubic meter (2016 est.)

carbon dioxide emissions: 10.98 megatons (2016 est.)

methane emissions: 12.1 megatons (2020 est.)

Waste and recycling

municipal solid waste generated annually: 1,449,752 tons (2015 est.)

municipal solid waste recycled annually: 231,960 tons (2005 est.)

percent of municipal solid waste recycled: 16% (2005 est.)

Major rivers (by length in km)

Zambezi (shared with Zambia [s]), Angola, Namibia, Botswana, and Mozambique [m]) - 2,740 km; Limpopo (shared with South Africa [s], Botswana, and Mozambique [m]) - 1,800 km
note – [s] after country name indicates river source; [m] after country name indicates river mouth

Major watersheds (area sq km)

Indian Ocean drainage: Zambezi (1,332,412 sq km)
Internal (endorheic basin) drainage: Okavango Basin (863,866 sq km)

Major aquifers

Upper Kalahari-Cuvelai-Upper Zambezi Basin

Total water withdrawal

municipal: 650 million cubic meters (2020 est.)

industrial: 80 million cubic meters (2020 est.)

agricultural: 3.04 billion cubic meters (2020 est.)

Total renewable water resources

20 billion cubic meters (2020 est.)

NOTE: The information regarding Zimbabwe on this page is re-published from the 2023 World Fact Book of the United States Central Intelligence Agency and other sources. No claims are made regarding the accuracy of Zimbabwe 2023 information contained here. All suggestions for corrections of any errors about Zimbabwe 2023 should be addressed to the CIA or the source cited on each page.

This page was last modified 06 Dec 23, Copyright © 2023 ITA all rights reserved.