Zimbabwe currency crisis: No cash, no bread, no KFC
12 Oct 2018
A deepening unease is settling over Zimbabwe as the country's fragile local currency loses value at an alarming speed, prices soar, local and foreign businesses close their doors, and people wonder whether their savings are about to be wiped out once again, as they were during the economic collapse and spectacular hyperinflation that tore through the country a decade ago. Concern is rising - along with prices - following a series of unexpected government announcements regarding plans for a new 2% tax on money transfers, and for possible changes to a controversial local currency which had been pegged, one-to-one, to the US dollar.
Zimbabwe's Mnangagwa seeks end to Western sanctions
14 Dec 2017
Zimbabwe's new President Emmerson Mnangagwa is seeking the removal of sanctions imposed by Western countries. "We call for the unconditional lifting of the political and economic sanctions, which have crippled our national development," Mr Mnangagwa told party leaders. A United States travel and economic embargo remains in place. The Trump administration has said the sanctions will not be removed unless political reforms take place. The European Union continues an arms embargo as well as sanctions.
Zimbabwe budget woos foreign investors
07 Dec 2017
Zimbabwe has taken steps towards ending its economic isolation in its first budget since the end of Robert Mugabe's 37-year authoritarian rule. Finance Minister Patrick Chinamasa announced a package of measures aimed at wooing international investors, including new curbs on laws that require firms to be 51% locally owned by black Zimbabweans, brought in by Mr. Mugabe in 2009. The law would apply only to the platinum and diamond sectors from now on.
Mugabe in detention after military takes control of Zimbabwe
15 Nov 2017
Robert Mugabe remains in detention at his home in Zimbabwe more than 12 hours after the military declared on national television that it had temporarily taken control of the country to “target criminals” around the head of state. The move by the armed forces appears to have resolved a bitter battle to succeed the 93-year-old president, which had pitted his former vice-president, Emmerson Mnangagwa, against Mugabe’s wife, Grace. Grace Mugabe is deeply unpopular. Reports of extravagant purchases, including property in South Africa and a Rolls-Royce, have also angered many Zimbabweans. Pictures of one of the first lady’s sons pouring champagne over a luxury watch worth tens of thousands of dollars in a nightclub were shared widely on social media this week.
The crisis comes at a time when Zimbabwe faces severe economic problems. The country is struggling to pay for imports due to a shortage of dollars, which has also caused acute cash shortages. State employees, including some soldiers and policemen, have gone for months without payment of their salaries, deepening discontent with the government.
Zimbabwe note launch stokes currency fears
28 Nov 2016
Zimbabwe has launched its own money for the first time since the country's dollar was abandoned seven years ago amid rampant inflation. The bond note, which is worth one US dollar - the country's main currency since 2009 - is raising fears of a return to the ill-fated local dollar. In the run-up to the notes' release, Zimbabweans queued for hours to withdraw their US dollars amid fears the bond notes would not be able to keep parity. The economy is experiencing a chronic shortage of US dollars. Under a proposed law, anyone found guilty of defacing the notes could face up to seven years in prison.
Final demand: Zimbabwe's debt defaulters
12 Sep 2016
Zimbabwe is being hit by a tidal wave of debt - defaulters are on the rise as the ailing economy continues to hit ordinary citizens hard. Many are losing their properties to debt collectors or live in fear of having their homes given to creditors. Between 25,000 and 30,000 workers have lost their jobs since a July 2015 Supreme Court ruling which allowed employers to terminate contracts without giving any benefits or redundancy payments, as long as their workers were given three months' notice.
Zimbabwe 'shut down' over economic collapse
06 Jul 2016
The streets of Zimbabwe's main cities are deserted during a nationwide stay away to protest at the lack of jobs and unpaid wages. The internet was often unavailable on Wednesday morning but the government has denied blocking it. Many civil servants have not been paid in more than a month - they went on strike on Tuesday. On Monday, taxi drivers complaining about police extortion clashed with the security forces in parts of Harare. The economy has also been hit by currency shortages and a severe drought.
Zimbabwe to print own version of US dollar
05 May 2016
Zimbabwe is set to print its own version of the US dollar in order to ease a cash shortage in the country. Central bank governor John Mangudya said the cash, known as bond notes, will be backed by $200m (£140m) support from the Africa Export-Import Bank. The specially-designed two, five, 10 and 20 dollar notes will have the same value as their US dollar equivalents. Zimbabwe introduced the US dollar after ditching its own currency in 2009 following sustained hyperinflation. Since then Zimbabweans have been using the dollar as well as a number of other foreign currencies including the South African rand and the Chinese yuan.
Zimbabwe dollars phased out
12 Jun 2015
Zimbabwe is phasing out its local currency formalizing a multi-currency system introduced during hyper-inflation. Foreign currencies like the US dollar and South African rand have been used for most transactions since 2009. Local dollars are not used except high-denomination notes sold as souvenirs. Zimbabweans can exchange bank accounts of up to 175 quadrillion (175,000,000,000,000,000) Zimbabwean dollars for five US dollars. Zimbabweans have until the end of September to exchange their local dollars. Zimbabwe's economy has struggled since a government program seized most white-owned farms in 2000, causing exports to tumble. Hyper-inflation saw prices in shops change several times a day, severe shortages of basic goods and Zimbabweans taking their money to market in wheelbarrows. Mr. Mugabe has always blamed the economic problems on a Western plot to oust him.
The IMF is resisting calls to offer Zimbabwe new loans
26 Sep 2014
The International Monetary Fund has said it will not lend more money to Zimbabwe, because the country is in arrears on repaying previous loans. Zimbabwe remains frozen out of the international lending markets because it has fallen behind with repayments to institutions like the IMF. The country is still recovering from the collapse of its economy. Hyperinflation made the Zimbabwean dollar virtually worthless and led the nation to adopt the US dollar as its unofficial currency. On Thursday, addressing the United Nations in New York, President Mugabe criticized the EU and US. "Because Zimbabwe has thus been pre-occupied with the empowerment of its people economically, she has become a victim of the evil machinations of Western countries, namely the United States of America and the European Union, who continue to apply unilateral and illegal sanctions as a foreign policy tool to achieve short-term political objectives, particularly regime change," he said.
Zimbabwe’s multi-currency confusion
05 Feb 2014
Once known for its billion dollar notes and hyper-inflation, Zimbabwe must be the only place in the world to have eight currencies as legal tender - none of them its own. For the last five years most people have been using US dollars or South African rand, but pula from Botswana and British pound sterling have also been changing hands. Now the central bank is also allowing the use of Australian dollars, Chinese yuan, Indian rupees and Japanese yen. Given the complexities of the multiple currency system, there are now fears that forgery will be easier with unfamiliar notes.
19 Jul 2012
The UK backs EU moves to lift more sanctions on Zimbabwe to encourage free and fair elections, a foreign office minister has told the BBC. EU ministers meet on Monday to decide whether to lift bans on direct cash aid for the Zimbabwe government, as well as visa and asset curbs. The EU has already lifted some of its sanctions against top Zimbabwean officials, to support what it said was the power-sharing government's "significant progress" on tackling the country's economic crisis. President Robert Mugabe and more than 100 key members of his inner circle remain the subject of restrictions, which include asset freezes and bans on travelling to European countries.
Zimbabwe's plans to import US cents to help shops
28 Jul 2011
Zimbabwe hopes to import US currency coins because shops are often unable to give customers change, the finance minister says. Zimbabwe allowed trade in the US currency in 2009 after hyperinflation made its money worthless. US dollar notes are easily available, but there is an acute shortage of cents. Shops often barter sweets for change, he says. Finance Minister Tendai Biti said Zimbabwe's bankers were in talks with US authorities to "import" coins.
Zimbabwe panic as ATM spits out old dollar bills
20 Apr 2011
An ATM in Zimbabwe's capital Harare has been issuing the old national currency, sparking rumors that the defunct bills are back in circulation. For the last two years, Zimbabwe has used US dollars and South African rand after its world record inflation rates rendered its dollars worthless. Zimbabweans have no wish to see the return of million-dollar notes. Inflation in Zimbabwe peaked in 2009 at 13.2bn%, a world record. Since the unity government came to power and the local currency was abandoned, inflation has gone down and basic food commodities are readily available in shops, our correspondent says.
Zimbabwe's budget predicts growth and low inflation
02 Dec 2009
Zimbabwe's first budget since its unity government began sharing power 10 months ago predicts a healthy economic future for the country. Finance minister Tendai Biti said the economy would grow by 7% next year, after 10 years of sharp contraction. He said growth would come from key sectors such as agriculture and mining. Zimbabwe's biggest economic problem, stratospheric inflation, has been all but halted since hard currencies, such as the US dollar, were allowed. Finance Minister Mr Biti said there was no return in sight for the Zimbawean dollar. Inflation, which was out of control at the start of the year, is forecast to be in single figures this year and next. Last year, it was barely possible to find anything in the shops, let alone have the millions of Zimbabwean dollars needed to pay for any basic goods.
Zimbabwe to get $500m IMF loans
04 Sep 2009
The International Monetary Fund is making loans available to Zimbabwe for the first time in a decade, the BBC has learnt. The $500m (£305m) will be used to replenish Zimbabwe's dwindling foreign currency reserves. The loans send a clear signal the US dollar will remain the official currency.
IMF refuses new aid for Zimbabwe
02 Jul 2009
The International Monetary Fund has told Zimbabwe that it will not provide the country with more funds until its existing $1bn debts are settled. Zimbabwe's government estimates it will need $10bn (£6bn) of foreign aid to help rebuild its battered economy. The IMF said that Zimbabwe would need to clear its debts and show a sustained record of sound policies before it could give financing. China recently agreed to give Zimbabwe a loan of $950m. China is one of the few countries to retain economic support for Zimbabwe in recent years.
Zimbabwe prices 'begin to fall'
25 March 2009
Prices in Zimbabwe have begun to fall after years of galloping inflation, according to figures from the state Central Statistical Office (CSO). Prices of goods bought in US dollars, Zimbabwe's new official currency, fell by up to 3% in January and February. They were the first official figures since the country's recent adoption of the US dollar. The US dollar was adopted by Zimbabwe's government following the inauguration of the unity government between the MDC and President Mugabe's Zanu-PF.
Zimbabwe rolls out Z$100tr note
16 Jan 2009
Zimbabwe is introducing a Z$100 trillion note, currently worth about US$30. There is more than 80% unemployment in the country and those with jobs find their salary is worthless unless they are paid in foreign currency.
01 Dec 2008
Dozens of troops have run amok in the Zimbabwean capital Harare after losing their temper while queuing up to withdraw cash at a bank. Because of a national cash shortage, Zimbabweans can only withdraw small amounts of money every day - often barely enough to buy a loaf of bread. The country's economic free-fall has been accelerating and the latest annual inflation rate was 231,000,000%. Just one adult in five is estimated to have a regular job. Earlier, the state-owned Herald newspaper reported that water in the capital had been cut because of a shortage of purification chemicals, as authorities try to contain a cholera outbreak.
Cholera outbreak strikes Zimbabwe
21 Nov 2008
Nearly 300 people have died in Zimbabwe in recent weeks in a cholera outbreak which has hit about 6,000 people, the World Health Organization reports. The UN body predicted the water-borne disease would continue to spread because of poor sanitation in the impoverished country's urban areas.
Analysis: Zimbabwe's dire forecast
15 Sep 2008
Zimbabwe's economy has passed "tipping point". Inflation escalated from 7,500 percent a year ago to 100,000 percent in January and 11.2 million per cent in June. Current estimates put the annual rate at around 30 million per cent for September. Production in agriculture, mining and manufacturing has more than halved since the political crisis started in 2000, and a recent industrial survey shows that manufacturing industry is operating at less than 20 per cent of capacity. The middle class, once the bedrock of this economy has diminished – doctors, teachers, nurses, engineers, artisans and lawyers have left the country.
Zimbabwe inflation rockets higher
19 Aug 2008
The rate of inflation in Zimbabwe jumped to just over 11,250,000% in June, official figures show. Zimbabwe is in the midst of a dire economic crisis with unemployment at almost 80%, most manufacturing at a halt and basic foods in short supply.
Zimbabwe introduces Z$100bn note
19 Jul 2008
Zimbabwe is to introduce a bank-note worth Z$100bn in response to rampant inflation - but the note will barely cover the cost of a loaf of bread.
Zimbabwe inflation at 2,200,000%
16 Jul 2008
Zimbabwe's annual rate of inflation has surged to 2,200,000%, official figures have shown. The figure is the first official assessment of prices in the troubled African nation since February, when the rate of inflation stood at 165,000%. Rising costs are forcing retailers to increase prices a number of times a day for goods purchased with billion dollar bank notes and the number of people falling into poverty is on the rise.
Zimbabwe bank issues $500m note
15 May 2008
The central bank has issued a 500m Zimbabwe dollar banknote, worth US$2, to try to ease cash shortages amid the world's highest rate of inflation. The previous highest denomination note was for Z$250m, issued 10 days ago. Zimbabwe's annual inflation rate is 165,000% and one economist said prices now double every week. At independence in 1980, one Zimbabwe dollar was worth more than US$1.
Zimbabwe inflation hits 165,000%
16 Apr 2008
Zimbabwe's soaring inflation hit an annual rate of almost 165,000% in February, official figures show. Continuing shortages of food and fuel helped to push up inflation from January's rate of 100,000%.The central bank has introduced new banknotes to cope with the spiraling prices. Last month it issued a 10 million Zimbabwe dollar note.
Zimbabwe bank to issue $10m bill
18 Jan 2008
Zimbabwe's central bank is to introduce new higher-denomination banknotes in an effort to ease the critical shortage of cash in the country. Zimbabwe has been in economic decline for the past eight years, with annual inflation widely thought to be in excess of 50,000%. The highest value note that will go into circulation on Friday is worth 10m Zimbabwean dollars.
New moves to ease Zimbabwe crisis
02 Oct 2007
Zimbabwe's central bank governor has unveiled a series of measures aimed at easing the country's economic crisis. A new currency will be introduced - striking more zeros off bank notes - in an attempt to curb the black market in currency, Gideon Gono said. Mr Gono has also urged parliamentarians to consult widely before going ahead with the controversial bill that allows black Zimbabweans to take a majority shareholding in foreign owned companies. President Robert Mugabe's government has proposed the new law in a bid to give Zimbabweans more control over the economy, despite fears it could further drive investors from the country.
Zimbabwe Inflation Hits New High
22 Aug 2007
Zimbabwe's annual rate of inflation jumped to 7,638% in July according to the first official figures to be published for three months. Last month, the International Monetary Fund warned annual inflation could reach 100,000% by the end of the year. Zimbabwe's economic crisis has led to an estimated three million people fleeing the country for South Africa. Unemployment stands at about 80% and there are mass shortages of fuel and foodstuffs.
Plans Needed for Zimbabwe Exodus
21 Aug 2007
More and more people are fleeing the worsening economic and political situation in Zimbabwe. Zimbabweans are struggling to find even the most basic goods on shop shelves, as an economic crisis pushes inflation above 4,500% and unemployment is estimated at more than 80%. Refugees come into neighboring countries "because they need to survive to a certain extent, to find food security, to try to find some kind of economic activity that they cannot find in their own country."
Zimbabwe Sugar Stampede Kills Two
16 Aug 2007
Two people have been crushed to death in Zimbabwe when desperate shoppers scrambled to buy sugar. Pressure from the crowd, in Zimbabwe's second city Bulawayo, caused a pillar to fall on top of a security guard and a 15-year-old boy, killing them both. Zimbabweans are struggling to find even the most basic goods, as an economic crisis pushes inflation above 4,500%.
Zimbabwe launches $200,000 note
31 Jul 2007
Zimbabwe is to start circulating a new 200,000 Zimbabwe dollar note, in a bid to tackle the country's inflation, the highest in the world.The new note, issued by the Reserve Bank of Zimbabwe from Wednesday, can buy 1kg (2.2lb) of sugar. The official annual rate of inflation in Zimbabwe is nearing 5,000%. The new note is worth US$13 at the official exchange rate or $1 on the black market.
Mugabe Vows to Save Sick Economy
24 Jul 2007
President Robert Mugabe has said at the opening of parliament that strict price controls will continue as Zimbabwe tries to turn around an ailing economy. The country, once the bread-basket of the region, is suffering crippling food shortages and rampant inflation. Economic refugees are arriving in neighboring states like South Africa at a rate of around 3,000 a day.
Zimbabwe Crisis 'Threatens Lives'
10 Jul 2007
Roman Catholic Archbishop of Bulawayo Pius Ncube says the political and economic situation in Zimbabwe has reached "life-threatening proportions". He says there is almost no fuel in the country, and every day, people are reduced to hunting for a loaf of bread. The archbishop said it had reached a point where regional political intervention was now needed. Mr Mugabe blames the worsening economic crisis on a Western plot to remove him from power.
Mass Zimbabwe Arrests Over Prices
9 Jul 2007
A total of 1,328 Zimbabwean businessmen and women have been arrested and fined for breaking official price controls in the past two weeks, police say. The government ordered that the prices of many goods be cut in half, in order to tackle the world's highest rate of inflation - more than 3,700%. But businesses say the new prices are below cost, so some firms have closed.
Zimbabwe to Cut Prices by Half
26 Jun 2007
Zimbabwe has ordered factories and firms to cut the price of basic goods and services by up to half, in a bid to tackle rampant inflation. The price of basic commodities such as oil and bread must be reduced with "immediate effect" said the government. Economists warn that the measures are likely to lead to shortages, as companies either stop producing because they cannot afford to, or sell their goods on the black market.
Huge Rise in Zimbabwe Inflation
17 May 2007
Zimbabwe's rate of inflation surged to 3,731.9%, driven by higher energy and food costs, and amplified by a drop in its currency, official figures show. Zimbabwe will be forced to import maize, a basic food staple, to make up for a lack of home-grown produce. The government has also recently warned of shortages of bread and flour, which may cause even more hardship.
Electricity Rationed in Zimbabwe
May 9, 2007
Households in Zimbabwe are to be limited to four hours power supply a day in the latest setback to hit the country's struggling economy. Rampant inflation has led to widespread shortages of fuel and food. The monthly rate of inflation rose to 2,200% in March, the highest in the world.
Zimbabwe Inflation Reaches 2,200%
07 May 2007
Inflation in Zimbabwe reached a record 2,200% in March amid a deepening economic and political crisis. This is the highest rate in the world. Zimbabweans spend any money they have as soon as they can, before prices rise even higher. Exporters claim their businesses have been devastated by this skewed exchange rate.
Bread, Net Disasters Hit Zimbabwe
19 Sep 2006
Shops in the Zimbabwe capital Harare are running short of bread after three top food-makers were arrested for over-charging for their products. Prices of bread and other staple foods are controlled by the government and bakers say the official price does not even meet production costs. The bakers said last week that their costs had risen by up to 289% in the month of June alone. Zimbabwe's annual inflation is running at 1,200% - the highest rate in the world. Earlier this year, Zimbabwe knocked three zeros off the denomination of its banknotes in an effort to contain inflation.
Rush to Spend Old Zimbabwe Money
21 Aug 2006
People in Zimbabwe have been rushing to shops to spend their old banknotes before they cease to be legal tender at midnight on Monday. Three weeks ago Zimbabwe adjusted its currency, removing three zeros from the values after years of high inflation. The new currency is intended to end the necessity of carrying bags of cash for even small purchases, and eliminate the multiple zeros that Zimbabweans have become used to seeing on price tags. A loaf of bread, for example, will now cost 220 Zimbabwe dollars, as opposed to 220,000 old Zimbabwe dollars.