The Wheels Have Come Off

I promised an update by midday. So here goes:

The wheels have now truly come off the Zimbabwean economy today. The US dollar exchange rate has tripled since Friday and the lowest quote one is getting today is Z$5 000 000 per one US dollar. The numbers are now totally meaningless. With civil servants earning Z$60 000 per month, who is going to survive?

Food is only available in shops that are selling their goods in US dollars. All other shops are clearly sulking that they did not get licences to sell in foreign currency. So they are refusing to accept any form of payment, including electronic means (swiping with your debit or credit card). The only outlets selling anything now are fast food chains, whose prices are punitive, even by US dollar standards.

What boggles the mind is how the government has the nerve to hold a Tourism Expo under the current circumstances, when the pricing system has collapsed so much that we are now by far the most expensive country on earth in US dollar terms. Everything from food to household goods now costs at least double in US dollar terms than in any neighbouring countries. I have made quick comparisons with a friend in Hong Kong, which is a notoriously expensive place and Zimbabwean prices are 1/4 (one quarter) more expensive than this most expensive city in the world, Hong Kong.

This country is shooting itself in the foot. Our sights and sounds are not so magnificent that tourists would be willing to pay an arm and a leg to see them. What we have, including Victoria Falls, can be seen from other countries that are much cheaper. Unless there is agreement on the cabinet today, there will be a disaster in this country before Friday. You have been warned.


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