African business, politics and lifestyle
Losing billions in Zimbabwe
Zimbabwe may lose its status as the country with the world’s highest proportion of billionaires after the central bank’s decision to lop 10 zeroes from its dollar.
What it means for the currency is that 10,000,000,000 dollars will become just one - although it will still take 25 of the new dollars to buy a loaf of bread.
What it means for Zimbabweans could be much less.
Having so many zeroes on the notes certainly doesn’t make shopping any easier, but there is little in the shops anyway and what is there costs too much for many to afford.
The decline of the currency’s value has become a stark symbol of the economic collapse of a country that was once prosperous by regional standards, but now suffers shortages of food and fuel and has lost millions of its people as refugees to neighbouring states.
Experts doubt whether the impact of the re-denomination will be any more than cosmetic. Zimbabwe removed three zeroes from the dollar in 2006, but prices actually spiked after that.
Is there any hope of economic recovery without a deal to end the political crisis? And can there be a hope of that given the differences between Zimbabwe’s rivals? Is the optimism of South African President Thabo Mbeki realistic with the clock ticking down to the initial deadline for an agreement?
What do you think?