Zimbabwe’s Currency Crisis Worsens Amid Economic Turmoil

The country faces soaring inflation, exchange rate instability, and low consumption as it enters 2024

by Victor Adetimilehin

Zimbabwe’s Currency Crisis

Zimbabwe is facing a bleak economic outlook as it enters 2024, with a widening gap between the official and parallel market exchange rates, soaring inflation, and low consumption.


The country’s local currency, the Zimdollar, has depreciated massively on the black market, reaching over ZWL$13 000 to the US dollar, while the formal exchange rate has remained stagnant at about ZWL$7 000. This represents a percentage difference of over 130%, far exceeding the global threshold of 20% for currency stability.


The Zimdollar’s loss of value has pushed up the prices of goods and services, eroding the disposable incomes of ordinary citizens and reducing their purchasing power. According to the Hanke index, Zimbabwe has the worst inflation in the world, measured at over 900%.


The currency crisis is a reflection of the many structural problems in the economy, which suffers from a failed monetary framework, low productivity, high taxation, and poor infrastructure.


Government’s Response

Based on a report by Newsday Zimbabwe, the government has tried to address the currency crisis by implementing some economic measures, such as banning the use of foreign currencies, introducing a new currency, and tightening monetary policy. However, these measures have failed to achieve the desired results, as the market remains skeptical of the government’s commitment and capacity to reform the economy.


The government has also faced criticism for its lack of transparency and accountability in managing the public finances, especially the use of Treasury bills and bonds, which are seen as a form of money printing that fuels inflation and exchange rate instability.


The government has also been accused of using the budget and fiscal policies to stifle the private sector and extract more revenue from the already struggling businesses and consumers. Some of the controversial policies include the introduction of a 2% tax on electronic transactions, the increase of fuel and electricity tariffs, and the imposition of import duties and surcharges.


Prospects for 2024

The prospects for 2024 are not promising, as the country is likely to face more economic challenges and shocks. Some of the factors that could worsen the situation include the following:

– The impact of the drought that hit the country in 2023, which reduced the agricultural output and food security, and increased the need for imports and humanitarian assistance.

– The political uncertainty and tension ahead of the 2024 elections, could deter investment, increase violence, and undermine the rule of law and human rights.

– The regional and global economic slowdown, especially in South Africa, which is Zimbabwe’s biggest trading partner and source of remittances, and which is also facing its own economic and political problems.

– The effects of the COVID-19 pandemic, have disrupted the global trade, travel, and health systems, and which has exposed the weaknesses and vulnerabilities of Zimbabwe’s health sector and social safety nets.


Despite the gloomy outlook, some analysts and experts believe that there is still hope for Zimbabwe to turn around its economy and achieve sustainable growth and development. They argue that the government needs to implement the following reforms:

– Address the issue of inflation and currency stability by adopting a credible and consistent monetary policy, and by allowing the market to determine the exchange rate.

– Promote consumption and production by reducing the tax burden and providing incentives to the private sector and the informal sector, which are the main drivers of the economy.

– Improve the infrastructure and the ease of doing business by engaging in public-private partnerships and attracting foreign direct investment, especially in key sectors such as energy, transport, and telecommunications.

– Enhance the governance and accountability of the public institutions and the public resources by fighting corruption, improving transparency, and respecting the constitutional and legal frameworks.


These reforms, if implemented, could restore confidence and trust in the economy, and create opportunities and prosperity for the people of Zimbabwe.


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