Africa News blog

African business, politics and lifestyle

Losing billions in Zimbabwe

July 30, 2008

dollars.jpgZimbabwe 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?


there is no need for these negotitions going on, mugabe lost the march election, has been in power for 28 years, its time to pack your suitcases and go to zvimba, buy two oxen and a plough and get ready for the next rain season.

let the party and the person enjoying peoples support lead the government.if you dont voluntarily leave, one day someone is going to loose their life for you.

if really love the zimbabwean people then step down and letthe world rebuilt zimbabwe you destroyed over 28 years, will take time to rebuilt.

to you robert “evil” mugabe i hope you will get a chance to enjoy jail time for the murders you committed while in office, not only the current ones but dating back to the mateleland error

Posted by tozi | Report as abusive

Zimbabwe economic is in deep, deep trouble and the people are suffering and dying. It is really intolerable that Tsvangirai should be talking of a soft landing and honourable exit for Mugabe.

Mugabe and his cronies’ life styles is well know to be total luxury- they have everything. A friend of mine was talking the other day of a relative who is mistress of a Zanu PF junior Minister; she has four cars, has a large farm (although the farm only produces a tiny fraction of what it used to) and is forever going up and down to South Africa and Botswana on shopping trips. You can bet Mugabe himself all money can buy. Is it any wonder these people have shown they would do anything, even commit the most sacrilege of all crimes take the life of an innocent human being in defence of their ill got wealth!

What the dickens is Tsvangirai blubbering about give these people a soft land! If there is one thing Mugabe and his cronies are, it is comfortable. Luxury is something that will nag one’s conscience, even if it is honestly earned. But when the luxury is from taking bread out of a starving child it is criminally obscene.

What honour is there in a leader who has the blood of 20 000 to 30 000 innocent fellow countrymen and women on his hands from the 1980s. And today has the fresh blood of over 120 Zimbabweans following the world’s worst shameless act of election fraud.

It is telling that Tsvangirai should be concerned about the discomfort of Mugabe and his cronies who will have to give up their luxuries but not the millions facing starving because the nation’s wealth is wasted on these luxuries.

Zimbabwe is in the political and economic mess it is in because Mugabe never got this nation beyond the first base- where every Zimbabwean from rich in their ivory towers to the rural poor in their pole and mud hovel all can enjoy the basic and fundamental rights and freedoms. In particular the right to a meaningful say in the governance of the country and have the right to life; both of which Mugabe have shameless and repeatedly denied the people of Zimbabwe.

The situation in Zimbabwe can be compared to that of the Children of Israel during Moses’ time. They had live for generation in bondage denied all human dignity. The top priority was for every men, women and child to be free and have their human dignity. Therefore Moses demand to Pharaoh was clear and unambiguous “Let my people go!”

The end of slavery was going to cause serious hardship for the Pharaoh of Egypt and his people; who was be doing the back breaking tasks for them for no pay? To the slave, perish the thought!

Tsvangirai’s demand for an end to political violence is so form of half-way house, at best. Instead of demanding the full restoration of all the basic and fundamental rights of Zimbabweans which would not only mean stopping all the violence but that the militia are disbanded the Police return to their proper duty of up holding the law not be at the front of those undermining it! After thirty years of waiting for the freedom and liberty others take for granted Zimbabweans will have to wait a bit longer because Tsvangirai’s demands will never ever get Zimbabweans off first base!

There certain basic issues that should never ever be negotiated and batter; Moses understood that Tsvangirai clearly does not. The people’s basic human rights are not for anyone to give, withdraw or deny, period.

The people of Zimbabwe were pretty desperate to have elected the likes of Tsvangirai; the country’s economic and political situation is pretty desperate that mush is true. Ironically, it is during desperate times that the greatest care and attention should be paid to electing the best there is. So before Tsvangirai is even sworn in as leader of the unity government or whatever arrangement with Mugabe; the people of Zimbabwe must now search for a more competent person to replacement him!

Tsvangirai must not lead Zimbabwe after the next free and fair election. The nation was too desperate to have elected him this year, what excuse we will have then! It is his sheer incompetence that has allowed Mugabe to do as he pleased, and the nation has paid dearly for it.

Posted by Wilbert Mukori | Report as abusive

The economy awaits the results of the current negotiations for a political settlement. Hopefully the situation demands cooperation from all parties on the negotiating table. The zeros have been known to come back and no policy framework has managed to reverse that. The slashing of the zeros is designed to ease cash handling and challenges and the ability of computers to handle calculations. A political solution is needed before the economy can begin to make a comeback and even then it may take decades before we can talk of Zimbabwe as a competitive economy again. The people must demand to be led by competent and accountable leaders. These people who write articles always mention the same political figures who are responsible for the problems we have today. Let them show leadership before they are allowed to lead…

Posted by Derrick | Report as abusive

One thing has to happen. Mugabe must go.

Posted by Albert Muzenga | Report as abusive

Nothing will change with the removing of zeros other than it is easier to understand when exchanging foreign currency to Zim.

I agree with Wilbert except I don’t believe an agreement can be reached where the people will truly benefit.Except for the Chinese, who will invest when Mugabe and his people are in power even if it is shared power. Without investment aid in the forms of micro-loans and other ways the poor people will continue to suffer.

My heart bleeds for my friends who are still in Zimbabwe. It will only end when Mugabe goes. I think Mbeki should host Mugabe until he passes on.

Posted by buffalojump | Report as abusive

Mugabe is a mad, bad and dangerous psychopathic murderer who ideally needs to be placed in a prison for the criminally insane for the rest of his infamous and sorrowful life.

He has caused the appalling hardship that his people do not enjoy. Theyt suffer terribly and he does not care one iota – he laughs at their pain and hunger and he has not the soul to even begin to reflect on reality.

He will go down in history as one of the world’s greatest ever malignant leaders to ever disgrace this earth of ours.

He has no shame, no remorse, no real intelligence, no sense of reality and no idea what the hell he is doing.

He is nothing more than a savage idiot with the brains of a violent lunatic.

But he will be brought to book and justice will see him condemned.

Posted by The Truth Is... | Report as abusive

Post Your Comment

We welcome comments that advance the story through relevant opinion, anecdotes, links and data. If you see a comment that you believe is irrelevant or inappropriate, you can flag it to our editors by using the report abuse links. Views expressed in the comments do not represent those of Reuters. For more information on our comment policy, see