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article imageZimbabwe Withdraws Currency In Effort To Rebuild Economy

By Christopher Szabo     Apr 15, 2009 in Business
The Zimbabwe dollar is no more, at least not for a year or so, according IRIN News and South African media. It has been replaced by the U.S. dollar and the currencies of two neighboring countries following the nation’s economic collapse.
Both South African rands and Botswanan pula may be used, according to a decision by the national unity government of President Robert Mugabe and Prime Minister Morgan Tsvangirai.
The government planned to reintroduce the ”Zim Dollar” when industrial output reached about 60 percent of estimated capacity, as compared with the current 20 percent and a hyperinflation figure of 230 million percent with unemployment at over 90 percent.
The measure, IRIN News says, benefits those city dwellers who are able to obtain the foreign currency and has caused shops to fill up with goods, a sight long not seen in Zimbabwe, but the vast majority of the country’s population have no chance to obtain any foreign currency and now the meagre piles of Zimbabwe Dollars they had are useless.
A shop assistant told the news agency: "Where does the government expect the villagers to get foreign money when it is battling to pay its own civil servants?"
Zimbabwe, once referred to as the ”breadbasket of Africa” and a country tipped to be the continent’s success story following independence in 1980 has become a disaster following the sabotaging of democratic processes and controversial economic policies
including the seizure of white-own commercial farms. The farms were reportedly redistributed to Mugabe cronies who let the land lie fallow.
The 85-year-old leader rejects this, arguing that ”enemies” had sabotaged Zimbabwe. The term usually refers to Britain and the USA.
The unity government has called for 2 billion U.S. dollars to stabilize the economy, but Western donors are hesitant to invest, citing ongoing human rights abuses and a lack of transparent reforms.
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