Now, a decade after some momentous and even wrenching political and economic changes, the Zimbabwean dollar is making a comeback.
The problem is that most Zimbabweans expect the new currency to tank, and an increasing number of people are showing a distinct disinclination to have anything to do with it. The currency’s unsteady launch, international economic analysts say, is a sign that the economic dysfunction that plagued this country under longtime President Robert Mugabe hasn’t gone away with his ouster.
“I must have foreign currency to import my leather products,” said Crispen Dembedza, 51, who runs a leather clothing shop in Harare’s central business district. “Without foreign currency, I won’t be able to remain in business. I can’t find any local suppliers [of my products], and if they were any they would not be able to meet demand.”
Late last month, the government surprised the population by reviving the reviled Zimbabwean dollar and abruptly banning all transactions paid with the U.S. dollar, the euro, the pound and the South African rand, which has been in use since the collapse of the national currency.
Finance Minister Mthuli Ncube told Parliament last week that the move was meant to instill discipline on the nation’s financial services sector and help the poor, who lack access to foreign currency.
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