Zimbabwe issues 10-billion-dollar note


Harare : Zimbabwe’s central bank Friday issued a 10-billion-Zimbabwe-dollar banknote, as inflation drove the value of the currency to new depths, according to state radio.

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A bulletin said the 10-billion-dollar note, issued simultaneously with 1-billion and 5-billion-Zimbabwe-dollar notes, “would go a long way in improving workers’ access to cash.”

Only a week ago new notes of up to 500 million Zimbabwe dollars in value were issued in a bid by the Reserve Bank to ease mammoth queues at banks around the country caused by acute cash shortages.

Zimbabweans try to draw as much money as possible because inflation, officially listed at 231 million percent but estimated in the quadrillions of percent (18 zeroes), erases the value of their salaries in a matter of days.

The new note comes 141 days after the bank slashed 10 zeroes off the currency because the multiplicity of noughts made it impossible for computers and checkout tills to compute.

“What I can only let you know is that in the next couple of days these things will be a thing of the past,” central bank governor said at the time.

Economists say that each new issue of ever larger value banknotes triggers a new surge in inflation and a nosedive in the currency.

The price of bread shot up Friday from 300 million Zimbabwe dollars to 500 million Zimbabwe dollars ($1).

Opening the annual conference of his Zanu-PF party in the town of Bindura, 80 km from Harare, President Robert Mugabe said “better times were beckoning”.

The country is experiencing a prolonged economic, political and humanitarian crisis, marked by a cholera epidemic that has killed over 1,100 people and widespread hunger.