Climate Risk Country Profile - Zimbabwe



Located between latitudes 15°–23°S and longitudes 25°–34°E, Zimbabwe is a landlocked country neighboring Botswana, Zambia, Mozambique, and South Africa. It is endowed with abundant natural resources with total land area of 390,757 square kilometers,1 and a population of over 14.6 million in 2019.2 According to the World Bank estimations, the Gross Domestic Product (GDP) of the country reached $21.4 billion in 2019. The annual GDP growth peaked at 11.9% in 2011 and has been decreasing since: in 2019 the annual GDP growth rate was at −8.1%, well below the average annual GDP growth of low-income countries (4.4%). Zimbabwe is subject to a complex physical and climatic structure. According to Köppen-Geiger Climate Classification, northern Zimbabwe experiences subtropical climate with dry winter and hot summer; and southern area faces hot arid and steppe climate.

The country’s economy is largely dependent on services (61.3% of GDP, 2018), followed by industry (20.6% of GDP, 2018), agriculture (8.3% GDP, 2018), and manufacturing (10.6% of GDP, 2018). As indicated in its first Nationally Determined Contribution (NDC), the key sectors to boosting Zimbabwe’s economy – including agriculture, water, energy, forestry, tourism, and industry, among others – are also susceptible to abrupt climate variability. Climate change is likely to adversely impact Zimbabwe’s key economic sectors as well as its livelihoods. With climatic variability increasing, natural disasters will occur more frequently and have the potential to hit the most vulnerable parts of the population, the poor, in a disproportionate way since poor people are often overexposed to these hazards. In other words, natural disasters can push people into poverty as a result of their impacts.

The adaptation priorities identified in the first NDC consist of promoting climate resilient crop and livestock development and climate smart agricultural practices; building resilience in managing climate related disaster risks such as droughts and floods; strengthening management of water resources and irrigation in the face of climate change; promoting practices that reduce risk of losses in crops, livestock and agricultural incomes; and cross sectoral adaptation efforts such as capacity building through research and development, education and awareness, and training in climate change related issues and mainstreaming gender responsive climate policies.