The central bank in Zimbabwe has launched a new, devalued currency to combat a cash shortage. Sam Holder reports.
Zimbabweans awoke to a new currency Friday.
HARARE AND KWEKWE, ZIMBABWE (Reuters) – An attempt by the Central Bank to ease a crippling lack of cash in the country.
It’s led to more confusion and fear for residents, who faced years of economic problems under old President Robert Mugabe.
HARARE RESIDENT, TERERAI SITHOLE,
“In 2008, we had a crisis. So many people lost their monies and today again we have a similar case, whereby things have just been said, without any clarity, on what is going to be the way forward.”
Some fear basic items will disappear from shelves.
Zimbabwe adopted the dollar in 2009 — but faced a currency shortage.
So a parallel system was introduced. Bond notes — not actual money — pegged one-to-one to the dollar.
This new currency — the RTGS — combines those bonds and the electronic dollars people had been unable to use from their accounts — due to the cash shortage.
But now the rate is 2.5 to 1 dollar. A 60 percent devaulation.
Economists cautiously welcomed the news — hoping it will limit demand for black-market dollars.
Its success could be key for new President Emmerson Mnangagwa regaining public trust.