Demographically, Zimbabwe (11. 377. 000 residents According to an estimate of 1998) still presents a situation evolving towards more balanced models: the growth rate remains fairly high and consistent is the trend to urbanization, which it affects most of the relatively overcrowded rural areas, on the one hand, and a few large cities, on the other. In the latter, by now, the expansion of the informal peripheries constitutes, as in most other African countries, a problem that the country was neither used nor equipped to face. However, the phenomenon has not yet assumed alarming proportions, and the urban population remains quite small.
Although the living conditions of the population are far from optimal, all socio-economic indicators show a better situation for Zimbabwe than in neighboring countries. The country enjoys a variety of agricultural production which allows it to achieve food self-sufficiency and to export corn and beef, as well as tobacco, cotton and tea, despite the smallness of the land under cultivation. The production of timber also retains a certain importance, but the depletion of the forest heritage has led to the implementation of rather ambitious reforestation programs.
According to topschoolsintheusa, the resources of the subsoil, the main wealth of the Zimbabwe (gold, asbestos, copper, nickel, ferrous alloys prevail among exports), are quite varied and, although not huge, help to save the country from the risks associated with fluctuations in the prices of individual products, while fueling an industrial sector that presents an unusual development for the region. Alongside the metallurgy of copper, iron and tin, which mostly processes products from surrounding countries, mechanical, chemical and textile industries have sprung up. As a consequence of these structural conditions, the performance of the production system remains satisfactorily higher than the population growth (with negative exceptions, as in 1995, due to a dry year). With all this, exports have a constant deficit (particularly serious in 1992, again as a result of a bad agricultural harvest), which only international credit can pay off. The modern sector of industry still appears too limited, while the availability of land for rural populations is reduced, not so much because of the permanence of large colonial-style companies, but because of the lack of service infrastructures in the more peripheral regions.
Overall, agriculture shows a worrying vulnerability to weather conditions, evidently aggravated by the failure to adopt more efficient farming systems. Finally, the very high public debt blocks any possibility of structural reforms.
In this context, the effects of the structural adjustment policies have been very heavy for the population and for the monetary system of the Zimbabwe, fueling protests and tensions, but above all a growing gap between those inserted in the advanced sector of the productive economy and those who are excluded (rural populations): the former appear to be less penalized than the latter by the negative and restrictive repercussions of adjustment policies (also because they see, at the same time, an increase in private foreign investments in the sectors in which they operate); however, urban populations are also those who are most directly affected by the constraints imposed by traditionalism in the political and economic fields and who least tolerate certain rigidities of the system.