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To which language should you translate to localize in Zimbabwe?



Official language
English, Shona 70%, Ndebele 20%, Chewa (third most spoken language), Chibarwe, Kalanga, Koisan, Nambya, Ndau, Shangani, sign language, Sotho, Tonga, Tswana, Venda and Xhosa

Most studied language


Capital: Harare
Currency:  United States Dollar, RTGS dollar
Population: 15,99 m
Population density: 41/km2


GDP: 28.37 billion USD (2021)
GDP per capita: 1,773.9 USD ‎(2021) ‎
Exports: $4.34 billion (2020)


Unemployment rate: 7.4% (2020)
Urbanisation: 32.21% (2019)
Literacy: 90% (2020)
Internet users: 30.6% penetration, 4.65 million

By 2025 more than 50% of SubSaharan Africa will have a mobile connection, of which 65% will have a smartphone. This will result in more than 475 million mobile internet users; the top three markets for smartphone users are projected to be Nigeria, South Africa, and Kenya.


Numbering system
Arabic numbering system and dot as decimal separator

Date format: yyyy-mm-dd / dd-mm-yyyy 
Time: 24h time system
Country code:  00263

Language data sources: Worldatlas/Britannica//EF/Wikipedia; Demography data sources: IMF/Worldometers; Conventions data source: Wikipedia; Economy data sources: WTO/OEC/CIA/Esomar/Datareportal; Statistics data sources: Datareportal/WorldBank/UN/UNESCO/CEIC/IMF/Culturalatlas/Commisceoglobal

Facts and data


Imports $5.1 billion (2020).  Refined Petroleum ($574M), Corn ($232M), Electricity ($152M), Delivery Trucks ($150M), and Packaged Medicaments ($122M), importing mostly from South Africa ($2.31B), China ($547M), Singapore ($505M), India ($172M), and Mauritius ($148M).

Financial inclusion factors (over 15 years of  age)
• 56% have an account with a financial institution
• 5.7% have a credit card
• 73% have a mobile money account
• 9.5% make online purchases

Ease of doing business
It is easy to conduct business (rated 54.5 out of 100) ranked 21st out of 48 Sub-Saharian African countries, 141st out of 190 countries worldwide (2020, World Bank)

$4.34 billion (2020).  Gold ($2.14B), Raw Tobacco ($329M), Nickel Ore ($252M), Diamonds ($245M), and Ferroalloys ($232M), exporting mostly to United Arab Emirates ($1.92B), South Africa ($574M), Mozambique ($369M), Uganda ($331M), and China ($193M).

Economic freedom
‘Mostly not free’ (rated 52.6 out of 100) Ranked 46th out of 47 African countries Ranked 173rd worldwide out of 177 countries (2022, Heritage Foundation and Wall Street Journal)

Global Innovation Index
Ranked 11th out of 48 Sub-Saharan African countries, 107th out of 132 worldwide.

The Global Innovation Index captures the innovation
ecosystem performance of 132 economies and tracks the most recent global innovation trends.

Economy data sources: WTO/OEC/CIA/Esomar/Datareportal

Service imports (2015)

Source: OEC

Service exports (2015)

Source: OEC

Most complex products by PCI Index

Product Complexity Index measures the knowledge intensity of a product by considering the knowledge intensity of its exporters

Source: OEC

Most specialised products by RCA Index

Specialisation is measured using Revealed Comparative Advantage, an index that takes the ratio between Zimbabwe observed and expected exports in each product

Source: OEC

Export Opportunities by Relatedness

Relatedness measures the distance between a country's current exports and each product, the barchart show only products that Zimbabwe is not specialized in

Source: OEC



Reach most of the online purchasing power

T-Index ranks countries according to their potential for online sales. It estimates the market share of each country in relation to global e-commerce.

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Media language English

Information channels

All broadcasters transmitting from Zimbabwean soil, and many of the main newspapers, toe the government line. The main pro-government dailies, the Harare-based Herald and the Bulawayo-based Chronicle, are tightly controlled by the Information Ministry. The private press, which is relatively vigorous in its criticism of the government, has come under severe pressure. Newspaper cover prices are beyond the reach of many readers and publishers have been hit by escalating costs.

Draconian laws

Draconian laws and institutions, along with prison sentences for “publishing false news”, are used to clamp down on critical comments. Journalists who fail to register with a government body risk imprisonment.

Radio is the main source of information. State-owned Zimbabwe Broadcasting Corporation (ZBC) operates two TV networks and four radio stations. Two national private FM radio stations are licensed.

There were around 6.7 million internet users by 2017 ( US-based Freedom House says the internet is nominally free from government interference. However, the medium is relatively expensive and prone to disruption because of power cuts.

The press

The Herald – government-owned daily
The Chronicle – Bulawayo-based, government-owned daily
The Sunday Mail – government-owned weekly
NewsDay – private daily
The Financial Gazette – private, business weekly
The Standard – private, weekly
Zimbabwe Independent – private weekly
The Zimbabwean – private weekly, published from UK and South Africa


Zimbabwe Broadcasting Corporation (ZBC) – state-run


Zimbabwe Broadcasting Corporation (ZBC) – state-run, operates National FM, Power FM, Radio Zimbabwe and S-FM
Star FM – operated by Zimpapers, publisher of government-owned The Herald
ZiFM – operated by AB Communications

News agency

Daily News – privately-owned, based in Harare
New Zimbabwe – privately-owned, London-based
Studio 7 – run by US government-backed Voice of America

Media data source: BBC

Internet Data

Internet users
30.6% penetration, 4.65 million

Share of web traffic by device
54.78% mobile phones, 43.46% computers (laptops and desktops), 1.75% tablet devices, others 0.01%

Median speed of mobile Internet connection
12.57  Mbps

Median speed of fixed Internet connection
6.38 Mbps

Mobile connection as a percentage of total population: 89.7%

Percentage of mobile connections that are broadband (3G-5G): 72.7%

Most popular web search engines
Google (94.63%), Bing (4.74%), Yahoo (0.31%), Duckduckgo (0.09%), Petal Search (0.09%), Sogou (0.05%) 

Most used social media
Facebook (39.48%), Twitter (27%), Pinterest (15.13 %), YouTube (7.68%), Instagram (7.23%), Linkedin (2.11%)

Internet Data

Internet users
42% penetration, 23.35 million

Share of web traffic by device
69.43% mobile phones, 29.62% computers (laptops and desktops), 0.94% tablet devices, others 0.01%

Median speed of mobile Internet connection
13.19  Mbps

Median speed of fixed Internet connection
8.58 Mbps

Mobile connection as a percentage of total population: 114.2%

Percentage of mobile connections that are broadband (3G-5G): 65.3%

Most popular web search engines
Google (97.32%), Bing (2.25%),Yahoo (0.21%), Duckduckgo (0.13%), Petal Search(0.02%), Ecosia (0.02%) 

Most used social media
Facebook (60.89%), Twitter (16.7%), YouTube (9.2%), Instagram (6.69%), Pinterest (5.33 %), Linkedin (0.58%)

Internet data sources: Datareportal/Statcounter

Social statistics

Life expectancy
61 yrs (2020)

Healthcare Expenditure
7.7%of GDP (2019)

Zimbabwe has inherited a measure of class consciousness from its British colonial heritage. People’s behavior differs among different classes (low-skilled workers, middle class, and upper class); e.g. interaction differs. Social classes manifest themselves in workplaces in that people of the same class respect each other but not to a lesser extent towards their subordinates.

This is based on historical tribal lines and languages (dialects). Language diversity includes English (official), Shona, Karanga, Manyika, Ndebele, and numerous minor tribal dialects. Although evident and important, ethnicity is noticeable in political spheres and not in workplaces.

Average age of the population
18.7 years

Religion (Christian (25%), indigenous beliefs (24%), Muslim and other (1%). There is freedom of association. Belief in superstition and witchcraft is common among Zimbabweans of all religions.

Religion has no role in work places.

Women have an active role in raising families and they also work in the fields in rural areas. In urban centers, they have an active role in the government, politics, and economy and bring a family perspective to the national level. Since independence in 1980, the government has taken a deliberate stance to promote the equality of sexes through affirmative action and equal rights, with women being encouraged to be active participants in workplaces.

Social statistics sources: WorldBank/UN/UNESCO/CEIC/IMF

The Data Factbook is a work in progress project. Our community is helping us to fill it up always with new and updated data. Your contribution is precious. If you want to help us, please write your advices at

Language research

Languages in Zimbabwe


  • Lozi

  • Tonga

  • Kunda

  • Nsenga

  • Shona

  • Manyika

  • Ndau and Shona

  • Tswa

  • Venda

  • Northem Ndebele

  • Kalanga

  • Tsoa

  • National Park

  • Nambya

The geographical distribution of languages that you will find in the maps published in this section is a work in progress. Our community is helping us to fill it up with always new and updated data. Your contribution is precious. If you want to help us, please write to

Photo credit: Tatenda Mapigoti, Unsplash