Zimbabwe: Z$50 New banknotes to ease shortages

Another new note is being introduced into Zimbabwe. A new 50 Zimbabwe dollar note will be in circulation from Wednesday, according to a statement from the Central Bank Governor, John Mangudya.

He explained that authorities would gradually introduce higher denominations, but the country is still haunted by memories of the previous hyperinflation. People in Zimbabwe had to carry many notes for transactions hence the need for a higher denomination.

The new note’s design features an image of anti-colonialist heroine Mbuya Nehanda.

Mangudya said that 360 million Zimbabwe dollars ($4.2 million) worth of new notes would be injected immediately into the banking system, making it easier for Zimbabweans to use cash in day-to-day transactions. Two of the new Z$50 notes would be roughly enough to buy a loaf of bread.

Zimbabwe reintroduced its own currency, in the Zimbabwe dollar, in June 2019, ending a decade of dollarisation. The move sent inflation rocketing to as high as 837.53% by July last year, reviving memories of hyperinflation that wiped out the economy in 2008.

The government has since allowed the US dollar to circulate alongside the local unit, and inflation has come down to around 106 percent. But the authorities have been loath to print bigger banknotes for fear of reawakening memories of the darkest days of the previous currency, when there were notes in circulation with a face value of Z$100 trillion.

The new Z$50 bank note is equivalent to $0.59 at the official exchange rate, or around $0.35 on the black market. Last year May, Z$10 and Z$20 notes were introduced but they have been eroded by inflation.

Many Zimbabweans now conduct their transactions through mobile money, electronic cards or in US dollars.

By Africafrique and agencies

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