Zimbabwe, a landlocked country of 151,000 square miles, approximately the size of Montana, is located in southeastern Africa. Zimbabwe is the home of Victoria Falls, one of the world's natural wonders. The country was formerly considered "the bread basket" of the continent.
Previously known as Rhodesia and a former colony of the United Kingdom, Zimbabwe gained its independence in 1980. Robert Mugabe, in office initially as Prime Minister and since as President and Chairperson of ZANU - PF, led the people in their fight for freedom. Deepening economic hardships since then have led to increased social, political and civil conflicts including strikes by teachers, nurses and doctors, causing hospitals and schools to shut down.
A presidential election in 2008, led to a Power-Sharing agreement in January of 2009. President Mugabe and Prime Minister Morgan Tsvangirai share executive power. After inflation peaked to over 231 million percent during 2008, the Zimbabwean dollar was abandoned and multiple foreign currencies were allowed. Today the only currency in use is the US dollar. The country now measures its inflation based on the US dollar prices. Unemployment is estimated to be 95 %.
Severe shortages of food and medicines have caused a large migration of professionals. This "brain drain" is leaving the country with a deficit of teachers, doctors and nurses. The previous literacy rate of 90 % is in peril because many children cannot afford to attend school.