The UK annexed Southern Rhodesia from the (British) South Africa Company in 1923. A 1961 Constitution was formulated favouring whites in power. In 1965 the Government unilaterally declared its independence; however the UK never recognised the act. UN sanctions and a guerrilla uprising finally led to free elections in 1979 and independence (as Zimbabwe) in 1980. Robert Mugabe, the country's first prime minister, and later president, has been the country's only ruler, dominating the political system ever since.

Zimbabwe is land locked with the Zambezi forming a natural riverine boundary with Zambia. In full flood (February - April) the massive Victoria Falls on the river forms the world's largest curtain of falling water. Lake Kariba on the Zambian/Zimbabwean border forms the world's largest reservoir by volume (180 cu km; 43 cu mi).

The country is blessed with a tropical climate, moderated by altitude, with the rainy season from November to March. Harare is the capital city, which boasts " the best climate in the world".

Zimbabwe's economy is growing despite continued political uncertainty. Following a decade of contraction from 1998 to 2008, Zimbabwe's economy recorded real growth of 6 % in 2011. However, the Zimbabwe government still faces a number of difficult economic problems, including infrastructure and regulatory deficiencies, on going indigenisation pressure, policy uncertainty, and large external debt burden and insufficient formal employment. Dollarization in early 2009, which allowed currencies such as the Botswana pula, the South African rand, and the US Dollar to be used locally - ended hyperinflation, and restored price stability but exposed structural weaknesses that continue to inhibit broad-based growth.

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