Beset by hyper-inflation, Zimbabwe is to cut ten zeros from its currency. That means that the old ten billion dollar banknote will become a one dollar note. The re-denomination by Zimbabwe’s central bank is in response to inflation which is at an official annual rate of 2.2 million per cent, but which economists say is closer to 12 million.
In a televised speech, President Robert Mugabe – whose policies have been blamed for the economic meltdown – accused businesses of putting up prices to turn people against his government. He said: “It is incumbent upon us and upon us all to rededicate ourselves to ethical norms and behaviour as we strive to shun parallel markets activities, illegal dealings, profiteering and everything that disregards consumer rights.” Mugabe warned business that “emergency measures” would be introduced if they did not stop profiteering from Zimbabwe’s economic crisis.
Eighty per cent of Zimbabwe’s people are unemployed, but even those with jobs mostly cannot afford the basics. Government workers recently had their salaries raised to two trillion Zimbabwean dollars a month, which is about enough to buy eight loaves of bread.