Harare is the capital and most populous city of Zimbabwe. The city proper has an area of 960.6 km2 and an estimated population of 1,606,000 in 2009, with 2,800,000 in its metropolitan area in 2006. Situated in north-eastern Zimbabwe in the country's Mashonaland region, Harare is a metropolitan province, which also incorporates the municipalities of Chitungwiza and Epworth. The city sits on a plateau at an elevation of 1,483 metres above sea level and its climate falls into the subtropical highland category.
The city was founded in 1890 at the spot where the British South Africa Company’s Pioneer Column halted its march into Mashonaland; it was named for Lord Salisbury, then British prime minister. The name Harare is derived from that of the outcast Chief Neharawe, who, with his people, occupied the kopje at the time the Pioneer Column arrived and seized the land. The city was created a municipality in 1897 and developed after the arrival of the railway from the port of Beira, Mozambique, becoming a market and mining centre. It was chartered as a city in 1935. Industrialization during and after World War II led to an influx of population.
The city was founded in 1890 by the Pioneer Column, a small military force of the British South Africa Company, and named Fort Salisbury after the UK Prime Minister Lord Salisbury. Company administrators demarcated the city and ran it until Southern Rhodesia achieved responsible government in 1923. Salisbury was thereafter the seat of the Southern Rhodesian government and, between 1953–63, the capital of the Central African Federation. It retained the name Salisbury until 1982, when it was renamed Harare on the second anniversary of Zimbabwean independence from the United Kingdom.
Data and Facts
- For 2016, Harare ranks as the 157th costliest city up 11 places from 2015 when Mercer recognized Harare as the world’s 168th most expensive city for newly relocated citizens
- Harare’s built-up area including nearby towns and villages encompasses 320 square miles (829 square kilometers). In 2015, there were an estimated 2.2 million people living in the city of Harare plus the surrounding built-up area
- Population density is higher within the built-up area including the capital city Harare, combining for an average 6,900 residents per square mile (2,700 per square kilometer)
- Harareans enjoy a subtropical highland climate with three main seasons (warm & wet, cool & dry and hot & dry) and an average annual temperature of 17.95°C
- Zimbabwe actually has 16 official languages, but Shona, Sindebele and English are most commonly spoken in Harare
- Zimbabwe has 8 different currencies in circulation, but the US Dollar is most commonly used in this city
Under the 2013 constitution, Zimbabwe is a unitary republic. The head of state and government is the president, who is elected to a five-year term; the president can serve no more than two terms. The president is assisted by two vice presidents. The parliament consists of the National Assembly and the Senate. The National Assembly normally has 210 members, all of whom are directly elected. For the first two parliaments elected after the promulgation of the 2013 constitution, however, the National Assembly has 270 seats, with the 60 additional seats reserved for women—6 from each of the 8 provinces and the 2 cities with provincial status—elected through a system of proportional representation. The Senate comprises 80 members: 60 elected by a party-list system of proportional representation, with men and women being listed alternately on every list; 16 traditional chiefs elected by the provincial assemblies of chiefs in the 8 provinces; 2 seats for the president and deputy president of the National Council of Chiefs ; and 2 representatives of people with disabilities. The provinces and metropolitan provinces are further divided into districts. Provinces are administered by provincial councils; they are headed by a chairperson, who is elected by the council. Bulawayo and Harare are administered by metropolitan councils; the mayor of each city serves as a council chairperson.Zimbabwe’s judicial system includes the Constitutional Court, which is the highest court in matters pertaining to the constitution; the Supreme Court, which is the highest court of appeal in all other matters; and the High Court, which has original jurisdiction in all civil and criminal matters and supervises the magistrates courts and other subordinate courts. There are also a Labour Court and an Administrative Court, as well as customary law courts, which adjudicate on matters of traditional law and custom.
In the early twenty-first century, Harare has been adversely affected by the political and economic crisis that is currently plaguing Zimbabwe, after the contested 2002 presidential election and 2005 parliamentary elections. The elected council was replaced by a government-appointed commission for alleged inefficiency, but essential services such as rubbish collection and street repairs have rapidly worsened, and are now virtually non-existent. In May 2006, the Zimbabwean newspaper the Financial Gazette, described the city in an editorial as a «sunshine city-turned-sewage farm».In 2009, Harare was voted to be the toughest city to live in according to the Economist Intelligence Unit's livability poll. The situation was unchanged in 2011, according to the same poll, which is based on stability, healthcare, culture and environment, education, and infrastructure.In May 2005, the Zimbabwean government demolished shanties and backyard cottages in Harare, Epworth and the other cities in the country in Operation Murambatsvina. The government claimed it was necessitated by a rise of criminality and disease. This was followed by Operation Garikayi/Hlalani Kuhle a year later which consisted of building concrete housing of poor quality. In late-March 2010, Harare's Joina City Tower was finally opened after fourteen years of delayed construction, marketed as Harare's new Pride. Initially, uptake of space in the tower was low, with office occupancy at only 3% in October 2011. By May 2013, office occupancy had risen to around half, with all the retail space occupied.The Economist Intelligence Unit rated Harare as the world's least liveable city out of 140 surveyed in February 2011, rising to 137th out of 140 in August 2012. In 2018, the Harare was ranked 137 out of the 140 surveyed cities by The Economist Intelligence Unit's Global Liveability Ranking, making it the World's sixth least liveable city.During late-2012, plans to build a new capital district in Mt. Hampden, about twenty kilometres north-west of Harare's central business district, were announced and illustrations shown in Harare's daily newspapers. The location of this new district would imply an expansion into Zvimba District.
Harare is Zimbabwe's leading financial, commercial, and communications centre, as well as a trade centre for tobacco, maize, cotton, and citrus fruits. Manufacturing, including textiles, steel, and chemicals, are also economically significant, as is local gold mining. Zimbabwe has the second biggest informal economy as a share of its economy which has a score of 60.6%. Agriculture and mining largely contribute to exports. The economy of Zimbabwe grew at average of 12% from 2009 to 2013 making it one of the fastest growing economies in the world recovering from negative growth from 1998 to 2008 before it slowed to 0.7% growth in 2016.
Since 2000, Zimbabwe has seized and forcibly redistributed most of the country's white-owned, commercial farms. The new occupants, mainly consisting of indigenous citizens and several prominent members of the ruling ZANU-PF administration, were usually inept, inexperienced, or uninterested in farming – thereby failing to retain the labour-intensive, highly efficient management of previous landowners. Idle land is now being utilised by rural communities practising subsistence farming. Production of staple foodstuffs, such as maize, has recovered accordingly – unlike typical export crops including tobacco and coffee. Zimbabwe has also sustained the 30th occurrence of recorded hyperinflation in world history.Government spending is 29.7% of GDP. State enterprises are strongly subsidized. Taxes and tariffs are high. State regulation is costly to companies. Starting or closing a business is slow and costly. Labour market is highly regulated, hiring a worker is cumbersome and firing a worker is difficult. By 2008 unemployment had risen to 94%.A 2014 report by the Africa Progress Panel found that, of all the African countries looked at when working out how many years it would take to double per capita GDP, Zimbabwe fared the worst, and that at its current rate of development it would take 190 years for the country to double its per capita GDP. Uncertainty around the indigenisation programme, the perceived lack of a free press, the possibility of abandoning the US dollar as official currency, and political uncertainty following the end of the government of national unity with the MDC as well as power struggles within ZANU-PF have increased concerns that the country's economic situation could further deteriorate.In September 2016 the finance minister identified «low levels of production and the attendant trade gap, insignificant foreign direct investment and lack of access to international finance due to huge arrears» as significant causes for the poor performance of the economy.
Poverty and unemployment are both endemic in Zimbabwe, driven by the shrinking economy and hyper-inflation. Poverty rates in 2007 were nearly 80%, while the unemployment rate in 2009 was ranked as the world's largest, at 95%. As of January 2006, the official poverty line was ZWD 17,200 per month . However, as of July 2008 this had risen to ZWD 13 per month . Most general labourers are paid under ZWD 200 Billion per month. A nurse's salary in September was Z$12,542 , less than the cost of a soft drink. The lowest 10% of Zimbabwe's population represent 1.97% of the economy, while the highest 10% make 40.42%. .
IN recent years Chinese companies have made inroads into Zimbabwe. Today, there are 80 state-owned Chinese companies operating in the country under the Chamber of Chinese Enterprises in Zimbabwe. Zimbabwe Independent senior reporter Tinashe Kairiza this week spoke to Chamber of Chinese Enterprises chairman and Tian Ze Tobacco Company general manager Ye Hai about Chinese company operations in the country, opportunities and challenges as well as allegations of flouting labour laws and working conditions. The organisation is called the Chamber of Chinese Enterprises in Zimbabwe and it was formed in June 2006 under the leadership of the Chinese embassy and the business consular office. Its membership is constituted by all Chinese state-owned enterprises which are legally operating in Zimbabwe. Secondly, under the leadership of the embassy we are trying to work together with the local government and departments to enhance business cooperation between the two countries.
Currently, Zimbabwe is in a complex period and is facing a number of challenges in the economy. Zimbabwe is Africa’s largest tobacco producer and this year’s marketing season for the golden leaf, which was set to begin on April 22, was expected to bring some relief to an economy already struggling with electricity and fuel shortages. On March 30, the country imposed a 21-day lockdown to stop the spread of the disease that has infected over a million people globally and killed tens of thousands. This week the government was, however, forced to relax the lockdown regulations to allow citizens to access remittances from the diaspora as foreign currency inflows started drying up. Experts said with the tobacco marketing season hanging in the balance, the economy would take a further battering as shortages of foreign currency become more pronounced. The opening of the auction floors had already been delayed by a month due to the late onset of the 2019/20 farming season as well as disagreements between tobacco farmers and the Reserve Bank of Zimbabwe over payment methods.
Projected tobacco output for this year has been put at 225 million kilogrammes, down from last year’s 250 million kilogrammes.Average prices for last year’s crop also ranked among the lowest in a number of years with fears that the situation could get worse this year. By Wednesday, Zimbabwe had recorded 11 coronavirus cases, with two fatalities, forcing the country into making a chain of decisions to contain the spread. Raymond Sixpence from the Progressive Agriculture and Allied Industries Workers Union, which represents tobacco farm workers, said they expected serious disruptions in the tobacco sector because of the outbreak of the Covid-19.
The public transport system within the city includes both public and private sector operations. The former consist of ZUPCO buses and National Railways of Zimbabwe commuter trains. Privately owned public transport comprised licensed station wagons, nicknamed emergency taxis until 1993, when the government began to replace them with licensed buses and minibuses, referred to officially as commuter omnibuses.The National Railways of Zimbabwe operates a daily overnight passenger train service that runs from Harare to Mutare and another one from Harare to Bulawayo, using the Beira–Bulawayo railway. Harare is linked by long-distance bus services to most parts of Zimbabwe. The city is crossed by Transafican Highway 9 , which connects it to the cities of Lusaka and Beira. In reference to the mobile phone network, there is instability, with the government taking over Telecel, one of the three phone companies in Zimbabwe. To add, the socio-political infrastructure is unstable, as citizen engagement with the government is at its lowest level in over a decade.
Zimbabwe has tried to change things for the better but the country is still in a crisis. The economy is struggling and the politics pertaining to the future of the country are uncertain.
The infrastructure in the Harare showcases the instability in the infrastructure of Zimbabwe. The main issue is problems with the country’s water. As of 2010, only 50 percent of the people in Harare had water service all day, every day, while 55 percent of the residents had water that was poor quality. Zimbabwe made plans to redo water piping and began the process in 2009; by 2013, only 150 kilometers of the 6,000 had been replaced. By March 2016, only 40 percent of the work had been completed.
Even though infrastructure in Zimbabwe is struggling and facing issues, there is a plan to improve it. The main goals of the country are to rehabilitate and upgrade the bulk of the basic infrastructure assets and reinforce the existing integration of Zimbabwe’s network with other countries in the southern region of Africa.
The plan is to rehabilitate the national power grid, rehabilitate the national road network, the railway network, upgrade the status of air traffic communications, invest in storage to transport water resources, rehabilitate the existing water supply, develop national communications on a fiber-optic network and bring in a program of institutional reform and strengthening that measures to streamline the regulation of basic infrastructure services.
Zimbabwe's Second Science and Technology Policy (2012) cites sectorial policies with a focus on biotechnology, information and communication technologies (ICTs), space sciences, nanotechnology, indigenous knowledge systems, technologies yet to emerge and scientific solutions to emergent environmental challenges. The policy makes provisions for establishing a National Nanotechnology Programme.Zimbabwe has a National Biotechnology Policy which dates from 2005. Despite poor infrastructure and a lack of both human and financial resources, biotechnology research is better established in Zimbabwe than in most sub-Saharan countries, even if it tends to use primarily traditional techniques.The Second Science and Technology Policy asserts the government commitment to allocating at least 1% of GDP to research and development, focusing at least 60% of university education on developing skills in science and technology and ensuring that school pupils devote at least 30% of their time to studying science subjects.
Much of Zimbabwe's research effort is directed at improvements in agriculture. The government's budget for agricultural research is administered by the Agricultural Research Council which is headquartered in Harare and operates seven research institutes, eight research and experiment stations, and the National Herbarium and Botanic Garden. In Harare, at the Blair Research Laboratory, simple, innovative technologies are being developed to improve Zimbabwe's water supply and sewage disposal. Other research organizations, all in Harare, include the Geological Survey of Zimbabwe, the Institute of Mining and Metallurgy, and the Public Health Laboratory. The National University of Science and Technology, founded in 1990 at Bulawayo, has faculties of industrial technology and applied sciences. The University of Zimbabwe, founded in 1955 at Harare, has faculties of agriculture, engineering, medicine, science, and veterinary science. Degrees in agriculture and polytechnic studies are offered by seven colleges. In 1987–97, science and engineering students accounted for 24% of college and university enrollments.
Social Wellness and Human Resources
The population of Zimbabwe has grown during the 20th century in accordance with the model of a developing country with high birth rates and falling death rates, resulting in relatively high population growth rate . After a spurt in the period 1980-1983 following independence, a decline in birth rates set in. Since 1991, however, there has been a jump in death rates from a low of 10 per 1000 in 1985 to a high of 25 per 1000 in 2002/2003. It has since subsided to just under 22 per 1000 a little below the birth rate of around 27 per 1000.The high death rate is a result of poor medical facilities. This leads to a small natural increase of around 0.5%. Deaths due to HIV/AIDS have reduced due to improved methods of protection. However, outward migration rates of around 1.5% or more have been experienced for over a decade, therefore actual population changes are uncertain. Because of the high number of unaccounted emigrants, the recent increase of emigration and the death toll from AIDS, the total population might be declining to as low as 8 million according to some estimates.Based on the 2019 revision of the World Population Prospects, the population of Zimbabwe was estimated by the United Nations at 14,438,802 in 2018. Of the rest of the population, the great bulk—perhaps 30,000 personsare white Zimbabweans of European ancestry, a minority which had diminished in size prior to independence.The vast black majority has grown at a projected annual rate of 4.3% since 1980. Although present figures are difficult to ascertain, the white community once reproduced itself at an annual rate similar to that of most totals in developed nations. Of the two major ethnolinguistic categories, Shona speakers formed a decisive plurality and occupied the eastern two-thirds of Zimbabwe. Ndebele speakers constitute about 16%, and none of the other indigenous ethnic groups came to as much as 2% in recent decades. African speakers of non-indigenous languages included migrant workers from Malawi, Zambia, and Mozambique.Three-quarters of white Zimbabweans are of British or British diasporan origin; at various times many emigrated from South Africa and elsewhere. After World War II, Zimbabwe received a substantial influx of emigrants from the United Kingdom—a handful previously resided in other colonies such as Pakistan and Kenya. Also represented on a much smaller scale were individuals of Afrikaner, Greek, and Portuguese origin. After Rhodesia's Unilateral Declaration of Independence in 1965, Ian Smith's administration removed technical obstacles to immigration from southern Europe.
A heavily urbanised Coloured population is descended, partially, from early unions between White Rhodesian settlers and local Black African females. An educated class, they have traditionally engaged in retail trade or manufacturing. Zimbabwe has 16 official languages: Chewa, Tonga, Chibarwe, English, Kalanga, Koisan, Nambya, Ndau, Ndebele, Shangani, Shona, sign language, Sotho, Tonga, Tswana, Venda, Xhosa. English is widely used in administration, law and schools, though less than 2.5%, mainly the white and Coloured minorities, consider it their native language. The rest of the population speak Shona and Ndebele , Kalanga , etc. Shona has a rich oral tradition, which was incorporated into the first Shona novel, Feso by Solomon Mutswairo, published in 1956. English is spoken primarily in the cities, but less so in rural areas. Television news is broadcast in English, Shona and Ndebele though the local languages time slot falls out of prime viewing time, but radio broadcasts in English, Ndebele, Shona, Kalanga, Nambya, Venda, Suthu and Tonga. English, Ndebele and Shona are given far more airtime. 85 percent of Zimbabweans are Christian, and of that number, 61 percent regularly attend Christian churches. The largest Christian churches are Anglican, Roman Catholic, Seventh Day Adventist and Methodist.