Tuesday 25 April 2017

Zimbabwe issues own currency to ease US dollar shortages

A man shows a new note introduced by the Reserve Bank of Zimbabwe in Harare (AP)
A man shows a new note introduced by the Reserve Bank of Zimbabwe in Harare (AP)

Zimbabwe has issued its own currency for the first time since 2009 to try to ease biting shortages of the US dollar.

Banks started issuing the new currency, called bond notes, on Monday. Previously, the US currency had been Zimbabwe's main medium of trade.

The new bond notes sparked a mix of hope and apprehension among a population desperate for a solution to the country's cash crisis - but also sceptical of the ability of President Robert Mugabe's government to manage a currency.

In 2008 and 2009, the state's central bank printed so much of its currency - the Zimbabwe dollar - that the country experienced mind-boggling hyperinflation that reached 500 billion per cent, according to the International Monetary Fund.

The inflation was only brought under control when the government abandoned the Zimbabwe currency.

AP

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