Head of DFID Zimbabwe and DFID South Africa
Find out how the UK will respond to opportunities and challenges, what is being achieved for the UK and who we are working with.
The UK’s connections to Zimbabwe are strong, based on a shared history and economic ties including an estimated 23,000 British Nationals living in Zimbabwe and a Zimbabwean diaspora of over 112,000 living in the UK.
There is a high level of uncertainty in the country about the political outlook. At the same time the economic situation is worsening. 63% of households live below the national poverty line of US$2.56 a day. The 2012 census highlighted that 60% of the population are under 25, 25% of teenage girls are married, 25% of children are orphans, and over 33% of women have experienced sexual violence. Without fundamental political and economic reform, Zimbabwe will not achieve the Global Goals.
Formal employment is declining, forcing workers into informal work and employment outside the country. This particularly affects women and young people. There are already an estimated 2 to 3 million Zimbabweans in the diaspora, of which, 1 to 1.5 million are estimated to be living in South Africa.
A stable and growing Zimbabwe will increase regional stability and prosperity, as well as reduce migration, benefiting wider UK interests in the region. In spite of its problems, Zimbabwe still has high potential for growth and development given its natural resources, well developed infrastructure and institutions, and skilled human resources. Zimbabwe could experience good rates of growth, if it clears debt arrears to international financial institutions, and undertakes economic and political reforms. This would provide future trade and investment opportunities for the UK.
In the short term, improving basic services and economic opportunities will help reduce the risk of repeating the humanitarian crisis that occurred during the economic collapse of 2008. It will reduce crisis related outward migration to neighbouring countries and potentially the UK, and increase local and regional stability. In the medium term, development assistance provided now will assist Zimbabwe to achieve a stable and peaceful political transition, benefitting the UK and the wider region, improving the investment climate, opening up trading opportunities, and eventually ending the need for aid.
To find out how the UK will respond to the opportunities and challenges, what is being achieved for the UK and who we are working with please read the full country profile for Zimbabwe.
For detailed information on our programme and what the UK spends on development in Zimbabwe, see:
- Development Tracker to explore international development projects funded by the UK government by country and sector
- International Development Funding finder tool for funding opportunities by country, sector and organisation type
- Research for Development Outputs for outputs from DFID funded research projects and programmes
- Zimbabwe and the UK updates, news and events from the UK government in Zimbabwe
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