Accessibility links

Breaking News

Zimbabweans Reeling as Inflation Hits 175%

FILE - A man shows off Zimbabwean currency notes outside a grocery store in Harare, Zimbabwe, March 17, 2022. Picture taken March 17, 2022.

HARARE —Average Zimbabweans are feeling the effects of inflation which has soared to more than 175% as the country’s weak currency — known as bond notes or ZWL — continues to lose value against the U.S. dollar.

Officials announced Monday that country’s annual inflation rate more than doubled from May to June. Economists say multiple devaluations of Zimbabwe's struggling dollar led prices to surge.

40-year-old Kathleen Maswera said her salary in local currency has lost about 70% of its value since the beginning of the year. She has been begging her employer to adjust her pay.

“So, it’s very difficult. Everything is going up, you get into the shop the next time the rate has changed, everything has changed, so it’s tough,” she said. “I take care of school going children, I also take care of my niece, who is not employed right now. So, it’s very tough. I have to work on contracts, all the money that I work is from hand to mouth. So, it’s quite difficult at the moment.”

Taguma Mahonde, the director-general of the Zimbabwe National Statistics Agency, said the country’s inflation rate remains high and accelerated this month.

“The month-on-month inflation rate in June 2023 was 74.5%, gaining 58.8 percentage points on the May 2023 rate of 15.7%, he said. “The year-on-year inflation rate for the month of June 2023 as measured by the all-items Consumer Price Index was 175.8%.”

Trust Chikohora, a businessman and former president of the Zimbabwe National Chamber of Commerce, said prices have skyrocketed as the local currency loses value against the U.S. dollar.

But, Chikohora said, the inflation rate may soon start to decrease.

“Maybe it will start to even out as we move forward in July and beyond, especially if the government continues to move with measures they have been putting in place now,” he said. “That’s to minimize activity on the parallel market, to have [a] situation where interest rates are higher than inflation, money supply growth needs to be curtailed so that government is not pumping Zim dollar money into the market.”

Many Zimbabweans are struggling as wages fail to keep up with the rising prices at the market.