• Total value of UN-Habitat investments (2008-2013): US$ 508,422
  • Total number of UN-Habitat projects (2008-2013): 2 projects
  • Main donors: European Union, UNDP Zimbabwe & United Kingdom
  • Implementing partners: UNDP, Urban Councils Association of Zimbabwe (UCAZ)

General information

Capital: Harare

Major cities: Harare, Bulawayo, Chitungwiza, Mutare, Gweru, Epworth, Kwekwe,  Kadoma, Masvingo, Chinhoyi.

  • Population: 13.72 Million
  • GDP: US$ 9.802 Billion
  • GDP growth: 4.4%
  • Urban population (annual %): 39%
  • Population growth rate (average annual %): 2.7%
  • Urban population growth rate (average annual %): 4.0%
  • Rural population growth rate (average annual %): 1.9%

Source: World Bank 2012

UN-Habitat projects in Zimbabwe

Strengthening Citizenship Participation in Urban Local Governance   

  • Duration: September 2010 - December 2013    
  • Value: US$ 408,952    
  • Donor: European Union   
  • Implementing partners: UNDP, Urban Councils Association of Zimbabwe (UCAZ)     
  • Location: Bulawayo, Gweru, Kwekwe, Masvingo, Kadoma

Support to Zimbabwe Local Government Association and strengthening citizen participation in urban local governance    

Building capacity of UCAZ Core Team and delivery of a Training of Trainers Session.   

  • Duration: July 2008 - December 2012    
  • Value: US$ 99,470    
  • Donor: UNDP Zimbabwe & United Kingdom  
  • Implementing partners: Urban Councils Association of Zimbabwe (UCAZ)  


A woman and her children stands in front of a tent after being evicted in Muranbatsvin, Zimbabwe. © UN-Habitat


Zimbabwe like most African countries has been experiencing increased urbanization which has resulted in urban local authorities finding it difficult to cope with the rapid increase in demand for services such as water and housing. Consequently, Zimbabwe has begun to experience an increase in informal settlements in all urban settings, a situation that was unimaginable 15 years ago. The increase in informal settlements as well as new settlements has resulted in a huge demand for water which most cities and towns are unable to provide given the dire economic situation Zimbabwe has been for the past 20 years.

Zimbabwean cities have therefore been affected by water borne diseases in recent years and are always under constant threat from cholera, typhoid etc. Zimbabwean cities have also been prone natural disasters such as floods, cyclones.

UN-Habitat focus in Zimbabwe since the establishment of the office in 2006 has been on supported urban governance, housing regulations and policies, capacities in urban planning, water and sanitation in peri urban settlements and city resilience strategies.

Population (2018)
Total value of projects
US$ 200,000
No. of projects (2015 - 2019)
Total: 1

There is a rapid increase in informal settlements in urban settings over the past 10 years, according to the UNDP Country Report of 2014 at 60 % of the urban dwellers were living in informal settlements with the majority living in extremely poor conditions. Zimbabwe is facing serious water and sanitation challenges and has in recent years seen death of over 6000 from cholera and other water borne diseases in urban areas. The country is also afflicted by urban poverty, unemployment and insecurity for the vulnerable.

UN-Habitat supported the Government of Zimbabwe to come up with the 2012 National Housing Policy
Over 15000 Epworth residents including the youth, women and the elderly benefitted from the water and Sanitation project implemented by UN-Habitat in 2018-19.
UN-Habitat supported the Government of Zimbabwe come up with the new Human Settlements Policy which is set to impact on over 3 million Zimbabweans.
Urban numbers
Urban Population (2018): 32.2%
Urban Growth Rate (2015-2020): 2.19%
The urban population annual growth rate is 2.14%

Leaving no one and no place behind

Hover over or click the icons to learn about UN-Habitat's work on social inclusion here.

The prioritisation of human rights addresses the structural causes of inequalities and discrimination in an integrated manner. Urbanisation can only be sustainable if it is human rights based, and living conditions can only be improved for all if everyone’s human rights are comprehensively promoted and protected. UN-Habitat applies the Human-Rights Based Approach to address inequalities and discrimination, reaching the furthest behind first by placing power relationships in human settlements at the heart of its analysis and action.

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Men and women, boys and girls experience cities in very different ways, and face various challenges and needs that cities have to address. UN-Habitat promotes the stronger commitment of national and local governments as well as other relevant stakeholders to work towards the realization of a world in which men and women are recognized as equal partners in development and enjoy equal human rights so that economically productive, socially inclusive and environmentally sustainable cities and other human settlements can be achieved more rapidly, completely and sustainably.

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Youth, children and older persons, especially those in situations of particular risk of marginalization, such as girl child and female-headed households, are often excluded from access to housing, urban basic services, public spaces and infrastructure, and the overall benefits of urbanization. Young women and men have been a key focus of UN-Habitat’s work. The agency has successfully advocated for the role of youth as leaders in sustainable urban development, recognizing the guiding principle of the SDGs of “leaving no one behind,” and the New Urban Agenda vision of cities for all. 

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Sustainable urban development can only be achieved if persons with disabilities are included meaningfully in decision-making and are able to access their rights. UN-Habitat partners with representative groups and individual rights holders, as well as national and local governments, relevant UN bodies and civil society to maximize impact and to meaningfully ensure that the rights including accessibility and universal design of persons with disabilities are promoted, respected and protected. 

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