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Zim Inflation Zooming, Hurting

FILE: A man holds one of the new two-dollar banknotes issued by the Reserve Bank of Zimbabwe in Harare. Taken 11.12.2019

Rising prices and a fast depreciating currency have pushed many Zimbabweans to the brink, reminding people of when the southern African country faced world-record inflation of 5 billion % in 2008.

With inflation jumping from 191% in June to 257% in July, many Zimbabweans fear the country is heading back to such hyperinflation.

To prevent a return of such economic disaster, President Emmerson Mnangagwa's government last month took the unprecedented step of introducing gold coins as legal tender.

The country's central bank, the Reserve Bank of Zimbabwe, said the one-ounce, 22-carat coins would help tame runaway inflation and stabilize the nation's currency.

The coins are at an average price of just below $2,000 (1.982 euros) per coin, depending on the international gold price. But many such as one Zimbabwean, Jeffrey Carlos, say they can hardly afford a meal, let alone earn enough to save money to buy a gold coin.

Carlos, in Mabvuku, says he gets about 100 US dollars a month from his job as an overnight security guard for a church and the bar next door. That's hardly enough to pay rent, school fees and other basic needs. Sometimes, he exchanges water for food items.

Inflation Pushes Zimbabweans to Brink
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"There is no water coming out of our taps, so our life now is just to pump the borehole daily and carry buckets of water home."

Carlos added "This is our gold, if we are lucky we can sell up to 12 buckets for 2 dollars per bucket. This is how we are surviving."

Economist Prosper Chitambara observed "The plight of the ordinary person is such that it is difficult to really survive in this economy where prices are increasing on a daily basis."