Zimbabwe inflation at record level

One hundred US dollars will now buy almost 20kg of local currency.

    Zimbabwe is battling with the world's highest
    inflation rate at over 100,000 per cent [EPA]

    Zimbabwe's black market exchange rate for the US dollar broke the one million Zimbabwe dollar mark for the first time in late October.
    Black market
    "There may be a severe shortage of foreign currency to drive the Zimbabwe economy, but that's not necessarily true of the informal markets," Al Jazeera's Supa Mandiwanzira reported from Harare.
    "Many Zimbabweans receive US dollars from friends and relatives who are working abroad ... they actually get it in US dollars cash."
    But he said that money fails to make it into Zimbabwe's banks because the official exchange rate is removed from the actual exchange rate. Instead they change it on the black market.
    "The [black market] rate is far better than you get in the bank," he said.
    The value of the Zimbabwe dollar weakened steadily against hard currencies throughout last year but its fall has quickened dramatically in recent weeks.
    Food shortages
    On Wednesday, Mugabe told an election rally that he would tackle hyper-inflation and review the salaries of teachers who frequently strike over low pay.
    He also said the government was trying to rush in maize imports from southern African states after a government report revealed Zimbabwe would fail to meet its targeted harvest this year.
    "Maize is [in Zambia] ... but we are having problems moving it," Mugabe told about 8,000 party supporters during a campaign rally in Mahusekwa, a rural settlement 70km south of the capital Harare.
    With industry and production collapsing, Zimbabweans have become heavily dependent on imports of the corn meal staple and basic goods.
    Zimbabwe, until last year self-sufficient in canned and processed food, is now facing food shortages.

    SOURCE: Al Jazeera and agencies


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