The economy of Zimbabwe is collapsing under the weight of economic mismanagement, resulting in 85% unemployment and spiraling hyperinflation. The economy poorly transitioned in recent years, deteriorating from one of Africa's strongest economies to the world's worst. Inflation has surpassed that of all other nations at over 80 Sextillion(1021)% (although it is impossible to calculate an accurate value), with the next highest in Burma at 39.5%. The government has attributed the economy's poor performance to ZDERA, a US congressional act hinging debt relief for Zimbabwe on democratic reform, and freezing the international assets of the ruling class. It currently has the lowest GDP real growth rate in an independent country and 3rd in total (behind Palestinian territories.)
The country has reserves of metallurgical-grade chromite. Other commercial mineral deposits include coal, asbestos, copper, nickel, gold, platinum and iron ore. However, its ongoing political turmoil and the world's highest rate of AIDS infection have greatly hampered its progress. Spiraling inflation, which many critics argue was caused by president Robert Mugabe's policies towards land reform, have led to internal upheaval and population displacement, and poverty
Infrastructure and resources
Zimbabwe has adequate internal transportation and electrical power networks. Paved roads link the major urban and industrial centres, and rail lines managed by the National Railways of Zimbabwe tie it into an extensive central African railroad network with all its neighbours. In non-drought years, it has adequate electrical power, mainly generated by the Kariba Dam on the Zambezi River but augmented since 1983 by large thermal plants adjacent to the Wankie coal field. As of 2006, crumbling infrastructure and lack of spare parts for generators and coal mining means that Zimbabwe imports 40% of its power - 100 megawatts from the Democratic Republic of Congo, 200 megawatts from Mozambique, up to 450 from South Africa, and 300 megawatts from Zambia.
Independent analysts put the inflation rate at +165,000%, a figure which critics claim is far less than the actual inflation rate. Parity rates of measurement point towards a figure of close to 500,000% but these cannot be cited for obvious reasons. The use of oppressive laws as manifested in the likes of the infamous National Price and Income Commission has seen the country at the bottom list of the World Bank Index. Recently the President of the republic signed the Empowerment bill whose effect is to transfer ownership from all foreigners into the hands of the local people, something that has already had its toll on the DI. The telephone service is problematic, and new lines are difficult to obtain.
Agriculture was once the backbone of the Zimbabwean economy. The result of large scale eviction of white farmers and the government's land reform efforts, means this is no longer the case. Reliable crop estimates are not available due to the Zimbabwe government's attempts to hide the realities following the evictions. The ruling party banned maize imports, stating record crops for the year of 2004.
The University of Zimbabwe estimates that between 2000 and 2007 agricultural production decreased by 51%.
Maize was the country's largest crop prior to the farm evictions. Tobacco was the largest export crop followed by cotton. Poor government management has exacerbated meagre harvests caused by drought and floods, resulting in significant food shortfalls beginning in 2001. The land redistribution has been generally condemned in the developed world. It has found considerable support in Africa and a few supporters among African-American activists, but Jesse Jackson commented during a visit to South Africa in June 2006, "Land redistribution has long been a noble goal to achieve but it has to be done in a way that minimises trauma. The process has to attract investors rather than scare them away. What is required in Zimbabwe is democratic rule, democracy is lacking in the country and that is the major cause of this economic melt down.