For more than 30 years, the American people, through USAID, have invested over $3 billion in Zimbabwe. Current projects include initiatives to increase food security, support economic resilience, improve health systems and services, and advance a more democratic system of governance.
The top three health threats facing the people of Zimbabwe are HIV/AIDS, tuberculosis (TB) and malaria (PDF 84 KB). According to the Zimbabwe Demographic Health Survey for 2010-11, adult HIV prevalence is currently at 15 percent, compared to 18 percent in 2005-06 and 25 percent in 1997. Despite the decline, HIV/AIDS continues to be the leading cause of death among Zimbabwean adults.
USAID investment in Zimbabwe supports a broad portfolio of health programs. USAID/Zimbabwe provides treatment for and prevention of diseases such as HIV, tuberculosis, and malaria and helps increase access to reproductive, maternal, and child health care services for families. Through the U.S. President’s Emergency Plan for AIDS Relief (PEPFAR), we help to reduce illness and deaths caused by the HIV epidemic, especially among women and children. In addition, the U.S. President’s Malaria Initiative supports Zimbabwe’s national malaria program by providing bed nets, spraying to eliminate mosquitoes, and assistance in diagnosis and treatment to combat malaria in 45 districts.
Agriculture and Food Security
USAID, through Food for Peace, is the largest donor of humanitarian assistance in Zimbabwe. This emergency support complements development assistance to vulnerable populations to help households build resilience to ongoing climatic shocks and economic stress and gradually reduce the need for seasonal food assistance. During the 2019-2020 lean season over one million Zimbabweans will benefit from U.S. Government emergency assistance.
Through Feed the Future, USAID has helped over 200,000 smallholder farmers since 2010 to increase agricultural productivity, rural employment, and household incomes through improved agricultural practices and strengthened commercial linkages to markets. USAID supports farmers and micro, small, and medium-sized enterprises with improved access to finance through private sector partnerships and risk-sharing agreements with Zimbabwean commercial lenders.
Democracy, Rights and Governance
USAID promotes democratic governance by supporting Zimbabwean efforts to improve government accountability and responsiveness to citizens’ needs. USAID strengthens accountability systems by assisting Parliament to increase their independence and effectiveness, improves inclusive electoral processes to better reflect citizen voices, expands access to information, and activates mechanisms for citizen advocacy and oversight. USAID builds social cohesion by equipping citizens and communities with skills and tools to prevent, mitigate, and manage conflicts and resulting negative impacts on individuals and society.
Through a regional environmental program, USAID works with communities in the Limpopo River Basin to improve natural resource management and increase access to safe drinking water and sanitation services. USAID seeks to reduce wildlife crime across Southern Africa by countering poaching and illegal wildlife trade in national parks and conservancies. These programs promote capacity building, improve accountability within conservation areas, and develop community incentives to support combating wildlife crime.
Gender Equality and Women’s Empowerment
USAID promotes gender equality and seeks to ensure that development programs have positive outcomes for both men and women. Programs emphasize creating space for women to be part of decision-making processes both in the activity and in their communities.
Sixty-one percent of Zimbabwe’s population is under the age of thirty-five. USAID recognises youth participation as vital to Zimbabwe’s prosperity and ending vicious cycles of poverty, unemployment, and pandemics. We partner with young people, the private sector, and civil society organizations to build the capacity of Zimbabwe’s future leaders, while contributing to economic growth and inclusive development.
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Knowledge of modern family planning methods (PDF 152 KB) is nearly universal in Zimbabwe. The 2010/2011 Zimbabwe Demographic and Health Service (ZDHS) survey found that 98 percent of women and 99 percent of men aged 15-49 know at least one modern method of family planning. The ZDHS also found that, while the overall contraceptive prevalence rate has remained largely unchanged at 59 percent from the previous 2005/2006 ZDHS, there has been a significant drop in contraceptive prevalence rates in urban areas from 70 percent to 62 percent. Additionally, the national unmet need for family planning services remains static at 13 percent, fluctuating from 26 percent in Matabeleland South Province to nine percent in Mashonaland Central Province. This indicates a need to amplify efforts to extend family planning services to populations in hard-to-reach areas of Zimbabwe.
Maternal, Newborn & Child Health
Currently, Zimbabwe experiences one of the highest maternal (PDF 156 KB) mortality rates in the region (960 per 100,000), with six women dying each day of pregnancy related complications. Three quarters of these deaths are preventable, with the most common causes being postpartum hemorrhage, infection, pregnancy related hypertension, and malaria. Zimbabwe’s Ministry of Health and Child Care estimated that forty five percent of women who died of pregnancy-related complications were HIV positive. About one in 11 children die before their fifth birthday and 60 percent of these deaths occur within the first year of life. Pneumonia, diarrhea, and HIV are the most common causes of under-five mortality, all of which are preventable. Zimbabwe also suffers from increasingly high rates of chronic malnutrition, with one in three children chronically stunted.
Updated: December 1 2017
Zimbabwe is the 17th highest tuberculosis (TB) burden country (PDF 156 KB) in the world, and TB is the second leading cause of severe illness and mortality in Zimbabwe. The most significant contributing factor to the TB burden is the HIV/AIDS epidemic. Approximately 80 percent of TB patients are co-infected with HIV. This co-infection remains a major factor propelling the high death rate among TB patients in Zimbabwe. Most cases of TB are found in the urban areas of Zimbabwe. Over the last five years, the number of TB cases detected annually has ranged between 40,000 and 48,000.