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Zimbabwe`s troubled history with bank notes enters a new chapter as fresh notes come into circulation.

Notaphilists – people who study or collect paper money – are likely salivating and dusting their collections of Zimbabwe`s bank notes, as they prepare to add to their collections, yet another series of notes as the country`s uneasy relationship with its currency continues. The RBZ has announced a new series of ZWL$10 and ZWL$20 notes to start circulating in the economy, starting with the ZWL$10 note already in circulation, and the ZWL$20 note to come in the first week of June. Not only that, it has also announced the upward revision of withdrawal limits from ZWL$300 to ZWL$1,000 per week. Not that it is unclear to anyone, this revision in withdrawal limits to some measure portends the growing trouble the economy is facing. Hyperinflation. This then begs the question, why not just go for the jugular and issue say a ZWL$50 and a ZWL$100 note? Introduction into Circulation of $10 and $20 Dollar Banknotes— Reserve Bank of Zimbabwe (@ReserveBankZIM) May 15, 2020W…
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Victoria Falls Stock Exchange: The knight in shining armour Zimbabwe needs?

Exactly 30 days from the date a harried Mthuli Ncube wrote to the International Monetary Fund (IMF) pleading for debt relief and financial assistance to help Zimbabwe`s fight against Covid-19, the finance minister put out a series of tweets announcing a major government policy. Mr Ncube announced plans to launch the Victoria Falls Stock Exchange (VFEX) to trade in “hard currency” – read United States dollars. In his own words, the VFEX is aimed at “foreign investors and global capital, especially (sic) mining sector.”
That such a major policy development was announced at 7:06pm, on a Saturday evening, is perhaps meant to signal to the global market, and indeed the whole country, that the Zimbabwean authorities are hard at work to repair the economy. The said economy, by Ncube`s own admission in the leaked IMF letter, is set to contract by anything from 15-20% this year, under the weight of the Covid-19 pandemic. $18 Billion Economic Stimulus: The stimulus measures also aimed at suppo…

There will be blood: The looming carnage that awaits Zimbabwe’s banking sector

To be absolutely clear, there is a banking sector crisis unfolding in Zimbabwe. The chief catalyst of the current crisis that is likely to see some banks fold, is the country’s long standing currency conundrum. The wider use of the Zimbabwe dollar ushered in through Statutory Instrument 142/2019, has left banks technically insolvent. The jaw dropping, and seemingly outsized profits being posted by banks should not, and cannot mask this reality. They are for all intents and purposes, only paper profits, driven in part by the highly inflationary environment, where inflation levels are at their highest in over a decade, fair value adjustments and exchange gains.

These (non-monetary) profits and the oft glossy commentaries that accompany them in the financial statements of banks, featuring a lot of high-sounding, but meaningless crackle of “resilience”, “enhanced focus on digitalisation”, “cost containment” and “mission focus”, cannot make up for the fact that the same banks are encumbere…

It makes sense once you’ve accepted that it doesn’t: In an about-turn the RBZ legalizes the payment of goods and services using US dollars

On 1 February 2009, Zimbabwe’s government buckled and gave in to the economic realities that had characterized the economy for much of 2007-08. On this day, the Zimbabwe dollar as we had come to know it, was no more. The economy adopted a multi-currency system which used a basket of about nine currencies, with the US dollar being the predominant currency.
Then 10 years later, on 24 June 2019 to be exact, the government of Zimbabwe finally officialised a plan that had been in motion since April 2016, when through the RBZ, it initially announced the use of Bond Notes, alongside the multi-currency system. Through Statutory Instrument 142/2019, the government of Zimbabwe announced that the United States dollar and all other foreign currencies, were no longer legal tender in Zimbabwe. Effectively, the Zimbabwe dollar had bounced back from obscurity.
And until recently, even in spite of resistance from the market, with the Zimbabwe dollar continuously losing value against the United States do…

The year ahead, 2020: Understanding Zimbabwe`s economy

The economic headwinds being carried over from last year are likely to persist in 2020, curtailing overall economic growth. The economic challenges prevailing in the country will likely be worsened climatic shocks chief among them, the droughts that have been experienced in the country which have affected power generation, and food security. Given the foregoing, major downside risks in the economy remain, and 2020 will likely be a very challenging year.
GDP Trends In official government forecasts, the Ministry of Finance projected GDP growth of 3% for 2019, which was above the 3.5% growth rate originally estimated by the World Bank. However, the World Bank now forecasts that Zimbabwe`s economy shrunk by as much as 7.5% in 2019, and the Bank is forecasting GDP growth of 2.7% in 2020.
Zimbabwe's projected growth for this year lags behind the sub-Saharan Africa growth forecast of 2.9%, which is based on the assumption that investor confidence improves in some large economies, energy b…

New planes or not: The rather curious case of why success will evade Air Zimbabwe

Air Zimbabwe recently took delivery of a pre-owned Boeing 777-200ER aircraft, and as the goings on at Air Zimbabwe so often do, this event sparked mixed reactions, especially considering the manner in which the flights were acquired. At the heart of such polarising debates inevitably, is the ‘small’ matter of the profitability of Air Zimbabwe, and its cost to public taxpayers.
The ferocious debate raging in South Africa, with regard to continual government bailouts to the perennially loss making South African Airways, which is threatening both South Africa`s fiscal health and its international credit ratings, will obviously not have been lost on Zimbabweans, in this context.
For years now, the unbridled descent of Air Zimbabwe has shown no immediate signs of abating. Strikes, allegations and counter allegations of mismanagement have hemmed-in the airline, choking the very life of Zimbabwe`s flag carrier in the skies. And of course, the story of Air Zimbabwe, like most of the country`s …