Zimbabwe Military - 2023


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Military and security forces

Zimbabwe Defense Forces (ZDF): Zimbabwe National Army (ZNA), Air Force of Zimbabwe (AFZ); Ministry of Home Affairs: Zimbabwe Republic Police (2023)

Military expenditures

2.6% of GDP (2019 est.)

1.7% of GDP (2018 est.)

1.5% of GDP (2017 est.)

1.8% of GDP (2016 est.)

1.9% of GDP (2015 est.)

Military and security service personnel strengths

information varies; approximately 30,000 active duty troops, including about 4,000 Air Force personnel (2022)

Military equipment inventories and acquisitions

the ZDF inventory is comprised mostly of Soviet-era and older Chinese equipment; since the early 2000s, Zimbabwe has been under an arms embargo from the EU, as well as targeted sanctions from Australia, Canada, New Zealand, the UK, and the US (2022)

Military service age and obligation

18-22 years of age for voluntary military service (18-24 for officer cadets; 18-30 for technical/specialist personnel); no conscription; women are eligible to serve (2022)

Military - note

ZDF’s primary responsibilities are protecting the country’s sovereignty and territory and securing its borders; it also has a considerable role in domestic security and has continued to be active in the country’s politics since the 2017 military-assisted political transition; the ZDF is part of the Southern Africa Development Community (SADC) Standby Force and has provided troops to the SADC deployment to Mozambique; Zimbabwe has defense ties with China and Russia; the Army has approximately 5 light infantry brigades, plus brigades of mechanized infantry, presidential guards, special operations, and artillery; the Air Force has a few dozen operational Chinese- and Russian-made combat aircraft and helicopters 

the ZDF was formed after independence from the former Rhodesian Army and the two guerrilla forces that opposed it during the Rhodesian Civil War (aka "Bush War") of the 1970s, the Zimbabwe African National Liberation Army (ZANLA) and the Zimbabwe People's Revolutionary Army (ZIPRA); the ZDF intervened in the Mozambique Civil War (1983-1992), the Democratic Republic of Congo during the Second Congo War (1998-2003), and the Angolan Civil War (1975-2002) during the late 1990s (2023)

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.