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Reports identify ways to develop Zim climate-smart economy

leveraging the private sector to build a climate-smart resilient economy could reap dividends for the country that has significant opportunities in several key value chains such as agribusiness, tourism, and green minerals mining



The Zimbabwe Country Climate and Development Report (CCDR) and the Country Private Sector Diagnostic Report (CPSD) reports launched recently by the World Bank point to Zimbabwe’s abundant natural capital (mineral and renewable) as key to driving the country’s growth potential.

Furthermore, leveraging the private sector to build a climate-smart resilient economy could reap dividends for the country that has significant opportunities in several key value chains such as agribusiness, tourism, and green minerals mining.

The CCDR reveals that while Zimbabwe is rich in mineral and renewable natural capital, existing public sector resources to address climate change challenges are limited by inadequate access to development finance and weak domestic revenue mobilization.

 According to the CCDR, Zimbabwe’s current macroeconomic constraints pose a double bind in which the inability to finance development, climate adaptation, and mitigation leads to increased land degradation, higher net emissions, and less climate resilience.

The CCDR defines a higher growth, greener, and more resilient path out of this double bind by linking demand from global value chains to Zimbabwe’s significant reserves of energy transition minerals.

This valuable source of foreign exchange from mining could catalyze investment in renewable energy and fund other climate actions, such as expanding social protection, conservation agriculture, and land restoration.

The report proposes a set of “no-regrets” climate actions that are low-cost and could help shift Zimbabwe to an Upper-Middle Income (UMIC) level.

“Zimbabwe is at a crossroads, and the path that it takes now will have consequences for both its development and climate action, requiring further adaptation measures to limit climate change impacts on GDP growth alongside tough and robust governance systems of the mining sector,” says Victoria Kwakwa, World Bank Vice President for Eastern and Southern Africa.

The government aims to transform Zimbabwe into an upper-middle-income country by 2030.

According to the CPSD, the private sector has retained its resilience across many value chains.

 Sectors such as agriculture and agribusiness, tourism and mining hold significant potential.

 Zimbabwe has significant growth potential in the short term.

Despite these areas of comparative advantage, Zimbabwe’s economic performance remains frail due to entrenched macroeconomic instability, low investment, and limited structural transformation.

The CPSD notes that the primary constraint to development is the chronic macroeconomic instability, historically caused by loose monetary and fiscal policy, foreign exchange rationing, and structural challenges.

Therefore, sustaining economic growth will require Zimbabwe to tackle its macroeconomic and structural challenges, tighten fiscal policy and to rein in local-currency liquidity are critical to boosting growth.

“This CPSD for Zimbabwe gives us valuable insights into the challenges faced by Zimbabwe’s private sector,” says IFC Acting Country Manager for Zimbabwe, Vasco Nunes. “By leveraging the recommendations in the report, the government can boost investment, and unlock the latent potential in sectors ranging from agriculture to tourism and mining.”

This CCDR and CPSD are the first such reports in Zimbabwe and aim to support the country’s efforts to achieve its development goals within a changing climate by quantifying its impacts on the economy and laying out a path to robust, climate-resilient growth.

About Country Climate and Development Reports (CCDRs)

The World Bank Group’s Country Climate and Development Reports (CCDRs) are new core diagnostic reports that integrate climate change and development considerations. They will help countries prioritize the most impactful actions that can reduce greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions and boost adaptation, while delivering on broader development goals. CCDRs build on data and rigorous research and identify main pathways to reduce GHG emissions and climate vulnerabilities, including the costs and challenges as well as benefits and opportunities from doing so. The reports suggest concrete, priority actions to support the low-carbon, resilient transition. As public documents, CCDRs aim to inform governments, citizens, the private sector and development partners and enable engagements with the development and climate agenda. CCDRs will feed into other core Bank Group diagnostics, country engagements and operations, and help attract funding and direct financing for high-impact climate action.

About Country Private Sector Diagnostic (CPSD)

The World Bank Group’s Country Private Sector Diagnostic (CPSD) is a core diagnostic report that assesses opportunities for and constraints to private sector-led growth. Each CPSD includes an assessment of the state of the private sector, identification of near-term opportunities for private sector engagement, and recommendations of reforms and policy actions to mobilize private investment and drive solutions to key development challenges. By combining both economy-wide and sector-specific analysis of constraints, the CPSD helps to create a common analytical basis to shape policy dialogue and guide transformational private investment.

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Mnangagwa declares drought national disaster

Dear Zimbabweans; The foregoing situation of the climate change induced drought requires measures and interventions as provided for in our laws. To that end, I do hereby declare a nationwide State of Disaster, due to the El Nino- induced drought




President Emmerson Mnangagwa has declared the drought which is ravaging the country a state of disaster.

A post by Mnangagwa on the Ministry of Information Publicity and Broacasting Services X account reads:

“Dear Zimbabweans; The foregoing situation of the climate change induced drought requires measures and interventions as provided for in our laws. To that end, I do hereby declare a nationwide State of Disaster, due to the El Nino- induced drought. Accordingly, I now invoke Section 27, Subsection 1 of the Civil Protection Act ( Chapter10:6), which provides that: “if any time it appears to the President that any disaster of such a nature and extent that extra ordinary measures are necessary to assist and protect the persons affected or likely to be affected by the disaster in any area of the country, the Presidency may, in such a manner as he considers fit, declare that, with effect from a date specified by him , a state of disaster exists within an area or areas specified by him in the Declaration” President

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Climate-smart agriculture bridges gender divides

In the past, she says, she could not own land or sell farm produce at the market. These were liberties enjoyed only by men male counterparts.




CAREFULLY watering her crops, Elizabeth Dube, a 73-year-old smallholder farmer from Matabeleland South, is reflective.

In the past, she says, she could not own land or sell farm produce at the market. These were liberties enjoyed only by men male counterparts.

With limited opportunities and without financial independence, life was challenging. It became even more so when her children moved to neighbouring South Africa in search of greener pastures. At an age when many might consider retirement, Elizabeth had become the cornerstone of her family, raising eight grandchildren and searching for a means to support them.

“My four children moved out of my home and left with me with eight grandchildren to care for. The oldest is 15 and the youngest is three years old.” – Elizabeth

Today, however, Elizabeth owns a small piece of land. As of last year, she also has access to a solar-powered irrigation scheme – a crucial asset in a drought-prone region becoming increasingly dry due to climate change.

Today, with income from the sale of cabbages, onions, maize, and wheat that she grows on her land, she now has the means to send her grandchildren to school. And to put food on the table.

Women at the forefront of the national economy

In Zimbabwe, where agriculture employs almost three-quarters of the population, women are the backbone of the sector constituting around 70 percent of household labour in rural communities. They are also the linchpin of homes, heading more than 40 percent of households in rural areas.

Despite this, women across Zimbabwe remain marginalized in both social and economic spheres. Particularly in rural areas, women’s access to land is almost entirely determined by men. Patriarchal norms prevent women from accumulating assets and productive resources, limiting their ability to offer assets as collateral, and so limiting access to credit and loans.

Gender differences in property rights, access to information, and cultural, social, and economic roles make women particularly vulnerable to the impacts of climate change.

For example, recurring drought and low rainfall negatively impact water supplies and fuel wood accessibility, which increases the distances women need to go to secure such resources.

Women also remain marginalized in terms of adaptation strategies to cope with climate change impacts, especially limited access to irrigation systems.

Challenging the gender divide with inclusive, climate-smart agriculture

The leading role of women on farms and in rural communities is reflected in a transformative government-led project in southern Zimbabwe now underway with the backing of the Green Climate Fund and UN Development Programme.

At the heart of the project – aimed at helping farmers move from basic farming for survival to farming that can withstand climate challenges and sell products in markets – is the recognition that women are more than just a vulnerable group in need of support but are in fact agents of change.

With this wisdom, the project has been equipping women farmers with the tools they need to prosper.

One component is infrastructure, specifically, solar-powered irrigation systems. These systems, 21 of which are being installed under the project, are key to ensuring a sufficient, reliable source of water for crops but also for household use.

“I don’t have to walk long distances to look for water after school anymore,” says Samantha Dube from Masholomoshe, where an irrigation system was installed in September 2023.

“Now I can focus on my homework and wash my uniform at home instead of the river.”

Since her husband fled to South Africa nearly two years ago, Banele Ncube, 37, has been taking care of their three children alone. Like Elizabeth, whose land is opposite, she depends on the new irrigation scheme.

Banele notes, “Before the irrigation scheme was installed, our major challenge was lack of water. I would wake up very early to water my crops, but sometimes the taps and hosepipes would not be enough for all of us. At times I ended up going home without and would have to come back even earlier the following day.”

She hopes its capacity will be increased.

Another component is knowledge – of climate-smart water management and conservation agriculture, as well as how to adapt production practices to cope with increasing rainfall variability and dry spells.

The training of extension officers – employed by the government to communicate information to farmers – is having a multiplier effect.

As a result of the officers taking their new knowledge back to the field, more than 45,000 women farmers are now practicing conservation agriculture through a combination of “minimum tillage” – a practice that involves reducing the extent of soil disturbance during planting – and mulching.

The trainings are also intended to help farmers transition from subsistence to commercial agriculture.

Change afoot

While women in rural Zimbabwe face many challenges – among them patriarchal land ownership, lack of adequate agriculture training, and limited access to finance – progress is underway.

Elizabeth’s story is emblematic of a larger narrative unfolding across the country and Africa.

Women, who have traditionally been marginalized in agriculture, are now at the forefront of its transformation.

They are not only adapting to climate challenges but are also driving economic empowerment and resilience.

This shift is not incidental but the result of targeted efforts to address gender disparities in land ownership, access to resources, and decision-making processes.

Promoting women in leadership

The project has been deliberate about influencing not just the participation, but the leadership of women in Irrigation Management Committees set up in association with each system installed.

A diversity of women in the community have stepped forward to take an active part on the committees and almost half (46 percent) of the committees” members are women holding strategic positions, including that of Chairperson, Treasurer, and Secretary, a 20 percent increase from baseline.

“Since I became a part of my community’s Irrigation Management Committee, my husband and children respect me so much. I am now included in the decisions of my family, including being consulted by my husband’s family before making major decisions,” says Florence Ncingo, Vice Secretary of the Masholomoshe Irrigation Scheme.

“My organisation and planning skills have also improved through the trainings I have attended.”

Secretary of the Irrigation Scheme in Midlo, Ipithule Ndlovu echoes this experience, saying men now come to her with inquiries concerning the scheme, a shift from how things were handled in the past.

Beyond the farm

Back on her farm, Elizabeth is optimistic for the future, positive her yields will only continue to increase – resulting in strengthened capacity to fend for her family.

The benefits of empowering women, however, extend beyond the personal. When afforded equal opportunities, women are able to play a leading role in increasing the productivity and climate resilience of the agricultural sector, enhancing access to water resources and its sustainable use, ensuring greater food security for communities, and driving economic growth.

Building Climate Resilience of Vulnerable Agricultural Livelihoods in Southern Zimbabwe is a government-led project with finance from the Green Climate Fund, implemented with the UN Development Programme (UNDP). It is one of more than 80 UNDP-supported climate change adaptation projects worldwide, under implementation as of February 2024.


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