🇿🇼 Harare is the capital and most populous city of Zimbabwe. Situated in north-eastern Zimbabwe in the country's Mashonaland region, Harare is a metropolitan province, which also incorporates the municipalities of Chitungwiza and Epworth. The city sits on a plateau at an elevation of 1,483 metres (4,865 feet) above sea level and its climate falls into the subtropical highland category. The city was founded in 1890 by the Pioneer Column, a small military force of the British South Africa Company, and named Fort Salisbury after the UK Prime Minister Lord Salisbury. It retained the name Salisbury until 1982, when it was renamed Harare on the second anniversary of Zimbabwean independence from the United Kingdom.
Long the commercial capital of Zimbabwe, Harare has seen economic ups and downs since the 2000s. It remains an important centre of commerce, government, finance, real estate, manufacturing, healthcare, design, education, art, culture, tourism, agriculture, mining and regional affairs. Harare has the second-highest number of embassies in Southern Africa and serves as the location of the African headquarters of the World Health Organization, which it shares with Brazzaville.
Harare has hosted multiple international conferences and events, including the 1995 All-Africa Games and the 2003 Cricket World Cup. The city's marquee festival is the Harare International Festival of the Arts, modelled on the Edinburgh Festival and one of the largest arts festivals in the southern hemisphere. It is also home to Dynamos F.C., the club with the most titles in Zimbabwean football.
Economy Harare is Zimbabwe's leading financial, commercial, and communications centre, as well as an international trade centre for tobacco, maize, cotton, and citrus fruits. Manufacturing, including textiles, steel, and chemicals, are also economically significant, as is the trade of precious minerals such as gold, diamonds, chrome and platinum. It has also experienced a real estate boom recently, particularly in the wealthy Northern suburbs, with prices rising dramatically over the last decade, despite challenges in other sectors of the economy. This boom has largely been fuelled by members of the Zimbabwean Diaspora and speculation, with investors hedging against the local currency. However the once booming market has begun to cool off due to a 2019 hike in interest rates and the economic fallout from the COVID-19 pandemic, leaving a number of projects unfinished.
While it may have seemed the economy was finally making a recovery, early investor optimism following the inauguration of the Mnangagwa government has largely subsided due to the slow pace of reforms to improve the business environment. The economy suffered high inflation and frequent power outages in 2019, which further hampered investment. A lack of implementation of adequate monetary reforms to complement the government's efforts to reduce the budget deficit also undermined investor confidence in the financial sector. Although the government has repeatedly stressed its focus on improving transparency, the ease of doing business, and fighting corruption, progress remains limited under the Mnangagwa administration.
Another challenge to Harare's economy is the persistent emigration of highly educated and skilled residents to the United Kingdom, Australia, Canada, the Republic of Ireland and New Zealand, largely due to the economic downturn and political unrest. The city's brain drain, almost unprecedented compared to other emerging markets, has led to the decline of a local entrepreneurial class, an over-stretched and declining middle class and a dearth of employment opportunities outside the informal and public sector. In addition, the city's working class residents are increasingly moving to nearby South Africa and Botswana, though they are readily replaced by less well off rural migrants. However, despite over a decade of neglect, the city's infrastructure and human capital still compares favourably with cities in other parts of Africa, and Latin America. It remains to be seen whether the current government can entice its young, diverse and well educated Zimbabwean Diaspora numbering some 4 to 7 million people, to invest in the economy, let alone consider returning.
Shopping and retail Locally produced art, handicrafts and souvenirs can be purchased at Doon Estate, Uwminsdale, Avondale Market and Mbare Musika. Msasa Park and Umwinsdale in particular, host a number of galleries that produce, high-quality Shona soapstone sculptures and textiles such as Patrick Mavros studios, which has another gallery in Knightsbridge, London. International brands are generally less common in Harare than in European cities, however conventional and luxury shopping can be found on Fife Avenue, Sam Nujoma (Union) Avenue, Arundel Village, Avondale, Borrowdale, Eastgate and Westgate. Virtually all luxury shopping is concentrated in the wealthier Northern suburbs, particularly Borrowdale with stores that command higher prices than most visitors would expect. The Borrowdale and Borrowdale Brooke neighbourhoods are regarded among the most sophisticated places in town, with upscale shopping, restaurants and amenities.
Harare also has a good choice of supermarkets including Le Bon Marche, Pick n Pay, TM and Spar. Greater variety and independent stores tend to be concentrated in the North, Northeast and Northwest suburbs along with, surprisingly, Newlands and Greendale Avenue in Greendale.
Harare is rated Gamma - by the Globalization and World Cities Research Network (GaWC) which evaluates and ranks the relationships between world cities in the context of globalisation. Gamma level cities are cities that link smaller economic regions into the world economy.
Harare was ranked #308 by the Nomad List which evaluates and ranks remote work hubs by cost, internet, fun and safety. Harare has a population of over 1,485,231 people. Harare also forms the centre of the wider Harare metropolitan area which has a population of over 2,800,000 people. Harare is ranked #934 for startups with a score of 0.123.
Twin Towns – Sister Cities Harare has co-operation agreements and partnerships with the following towns: 🇺🇸 Cincinnati, United States; 🇨🇳 Guangzhou, China; 🇷🇺 Kazan, Russia; 🇮🇹 Lago, Italy; 🇲🇿 Maputo, Mozambique; 🇩🇪 Munich, Germany; 🇹🇭 Nakhon Ratchasima, Thailand; 🏴 Nottingham, England, UK; 🇮🇹 Prato, Italy; 🇳🇦 Windhoek, Namibia.