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Gold: Ever wondered what drives the price of Zimbabwe`s largest mineral export?

The ancient Egyptians performed the first smelting of gold circa 3,600 BC. A thousand years later, gold jewellery appeared as the goldsmiths of ancient Mesopotamia crafted a burial headdress made of lapis, carnelian beads and leaf-shaped gold pendants. Since these early days, mankind has been fascinated by gold, and the desire to own it has led to great gold rushes and to wars: King Ferdinand of Spain declared in 1511, "Get gold, humanely if you can, but at all hazards, get gold!"

Today, gold is sought after not only for investment purposes and a strong jewellery market, but it is also used in the manufacturing of certain electronic and medical devices. Gold (as of November, 2017) was around $1,280.39 per ounce and making record highs.

Gold is Zimbabwe`s single largest mineral export. But what factors drive the price of this precious metal?

Central Bank Reserves
Central banks hold paper currencies and gold in reserve. The World Gold Council has stated that central banks have rec…
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The story behind the iconic Meikles Hotel and its founder Thomas Meikle

The 15th of November marks the 102nd anniversary of Meikles hotel, a hotel founded by Thomas Meikle, following on a vision he shared with his brother Stewart, of establishing a hotel on the influential site overlooking Cecil Square (now called Africa Unity Square, in the heart of then Rhodesia`s capital city, Salisbury. Meikles hotel was officially opened on November 15, 1915, on the site which now houses ZB Life Towers, along Jason Moyo avenue in Harare and currently has a capacity of over 535 bedrooms.
Meikles hotel holds the honour of being the first Zimbabwean hotel to attain the coveted 5-star rating, a feat it achieved in August 1983. Hotel grading was introduced in Zimbabwe in 1968, and the first results were announced in 1969. At the time, no local hotels received 4-stars, however the Ambassador Hotel, Jameson Hotel and Park Lane Hotel (now the GMB Headquarters) received 3 stars each. Interestingly, the Montclair Hotel in Nyanga got its four-star rating before the Meikles Hot…

Black Friday 1997: How the Zimbabwe dollar crashed and tipped the economy over the brink

14 November 1997 – dubbed “Black Friday”-  is a day that will forever be etched in Zimbabwe`s economic history as the cataclysmic point that triggered Zimbabwe`s economic free-fall. Below is a brief chronicle of the events leading up to this seminal day, and what ensued in the aftermaths of Black Friday.

In the second decade of its independence, the Zimbabwean government launched an economic reform programme essential in liberalizing the economy and dealing with the structural impediments to growth. However, fiscal policy was weak and monetary policy unsteady during the time period; and the country suffered from two serious droughts (in 1992 and 1995), which affected Zimbabwe’s agriculture, its primary economic industry. A land reform had been a highly contentious issue since independence, as the majority of prime agricultural land was owned by about 4,000 white commercial farmers; while the indigenous population continued to engage in subsistence farming.
In the first five years of ind…

Emmerson Mnangagwa the "Reformer" gone: What now for Zimbabwe`s economy?

First published at The Source
Early in November 2014, as tensions rose in ZANU-PF, Emmerson Mnangagwa spoke with a small group of his supporters in his home town, Kwekwe.
He described to them how, in those tense hours of transition into independence, he had stayed up with President Robert Mugabe to hold midnight negotiations with Ian Smith and his negotiator David Smith.
“It was just President Mugabe and myself at one side and the two Smiths on the other side. I saw (the transition) happening with my own eyes, step by step, while I sat next to President Mugabe,” he said. Around the time Mnangagwa was speaking to his allies, his rival Joice Mujuru and her own backers were under siege from Grace Mugabe. It was a time in which loyalties were being questioned, and Mnangagwa was laying out his.
When the economic crisis of 2008 threatened to sink the government, Mnangagwa told his people, it was to him that Mugabe turned for leadership.

“Even after our dollar was hit to the point that it became u…

When the Zimbabwe Stock Exchange bubble comes crashing, and it will, there will be chaos

Those without sticky memories may recall that bull runs on the local stock exchange are not something new. In 1979 The promise of a ceasefire stemming from the successful conclusion of the Lancacster House talks, with the potential to stabilise Zimbabwe following years of conflict, ushered in a bull run on the stock exchange that was to last until early 1981. In fact, by November 1979, the Industrials index had surpassed its previous record high achieved in 1974, doubling from levels reached in 1978. On the other hand, the market capitalisation of the counters on the Mining Index had more than tripled.
Flash forward a couple of years down the line, while the financial markets across the world were reeling from the Wall Street crash of October 1987 – dubbed “Black Monday”, the Zimbabwe Stock Exchange (ZSE) was flying high, unperturbed by the calamity stalking other global markets then. The ZSE rose so much so, in 1988 it was the only stock exchange in the world to reach a record new hig…

Ignore economics, Impose a price and Punish anyone that disagrees: Zimbabwe`s approach to price controls.

In the midst of the high drama ensuing in Zimbabwe following the expulsion of former Vice President Emmerson Mnangagwa, news that the cabinet had endorsed the decision to set up a special task-force on price stabilisation and supply of essential commodities – basically meaning price controls – largely went unnoticed. It comes as no surprise however, given the way politics seem to take precedence over key economic issues in Zimbabwe. Interestingly, Zimbabwe has been here before, and the results are almost guaranteed to result in wide-scale shortages and a flourishing black market.

Renowned Economist Milton Friedman once said, “We economists don`t know much, but we do know how to create a shortage. If you want to create a shortage of tomatoes, for example, just pass a law that retailers can`t sell tomatoes for more than two cents per pound. Instantly, you`ll have a tomato shortage.” The suits in government however do not seem too bothered to be flouting even the most elementary law of ec…

BACOSSI, ASPEF, PLARP: Refresher on quasi-fiscal activities during Gideon Gono`s RBZ Reign of Terror

“Quasi-fiscal” interventions by central banks might be something that came in vogue, post the 2008 global financial crisis, with both the US Fed`s and the European Central Bank`s quantitative easing programs – code for printing money.  At its peak, the US Fed in particular was pumping $85 billion a month into the US economy. For Zimbabwe however, quasi-fiscal activities are something that we are all too familiar with, largely thanks to one Gideon Gono.
“Gee-Gee” as he is otherwise known made sure that the mention of his name would inevitably be followed by the phrase “quasi-fiscal.” He financed the purchase of cars, generators, ploughs and even scotch carts, through a broad range of quasi-fiscal activities. In fact, Gono created FISCORP (Pvt) Ltd, an RBZ subsidiary to oversee the central bank`s quasi-fiscal activities. The man clearly wasn`t mucking around!
These quasi-fiscal activities drew the ire of most economic watchers, so much so, the IMF`s Article IV consulting mission in 2005 s…