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News release

Zimbabweans report worsening droughts, favour climate action by the government

5 Apr 2024
Press release
Key findings
  • A majority (60%) of Zimbabweans say droughts have become “somewhat more severe” or “much more severe” over the past 10 years. o Compared to 2017, the proportion of Zimbabweans who say droughts have gotten more severe has increased by 27 percentage points. o Rural residents are more likely than urbanites to report increasingly severe droughts (64% vs. 54%) (Figure 2). o Geographically, at least three-fourths of citizens in Midlands (78%), Bulawayo/Matabeleland North/Matabeleland South (78%), and Mashonaland Central (75%) report worsening drought, compared to just 41% in Harare.
  • Fewer than half (45%) of Zimbabweans say they have heard of climate change. Among those who are aware of climate change: o Eight in 10 (80%) say it is making life in Zimbabwe worse. o Almost two-thirds (64%) believe that ordinary citizens can help curb climate change, and even more (71%) want the government to take immediate action to limit climate change, even if it is expensive, causes job losses, or takes a toll on the economy. o Only small minorities are satisfied with efforts to date by the government (2%), business and industry (3%), developed countries (4%), and ordinary citizens (11%) to fight climate change (Figure 4). Large majorities believe more needs to be done, including 78% who say the government needs to do “a lot more.”

Six in 10 Zimbabweans say they are experiencing worsening droughts, setting the stage for urgent climate action by the government, according to the most recent Afrobarometer survey.

Zimbabwean President Emmerson Mnangagwa has declared a national disaster in response to droughts impacting farming activities in the country. With millions facing hunger, he has stressed the urgent need for more than $2 billion in aid to ensure sufficient food supplies. The latest Afrobarometer survey in Zimbabwe, conducted in 2022, shows that the proportion of citizens experiencing more severe droughts has almost doubled since 2017.

While climate change is still an unknown concept to more than half of Zimbabweans, those who are aware of it overwhelmingly say that climate change is making their lives worse. Citizens expect far more climate action from the government – even at considerable cost to the economy – as well as from developed countries, the private sector, and their co-citizens.