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The official confirming the intelligence described the Salehi visit as part of an international Iranian effort that stretches across Africa, Asia and South America and may involve more than a dozen countries.
Zimbabwe's wide range of natural resources makes agriculture and mining the main pillars of the economy. In 2009 agriculture and industry accounted for about 19% and 24% of gross domestic product (GDP), respectively. Zimbabwe has an important percentage of the world's known reserves of metallurgical-grade chromite. Other commercial mineral deposits include coal, platinum, asbestos, copper, nickel, gold, and iron ore. In order to develop these mineral deposits, Zimbabwe relies on foreign investment.
Only about 15% of Zimbabwe's total energy consumption is accounted for by oil, all of which is imported.
Today, the ZNA is beset by shortages of supplies, including food. It is mostly under-trained and its equipment is aged, not particularly reliable, and largely immobile.