Daily Life in Cash-Poor Zimbabwe

A cash shortage can force people to take desperate measures, but a nationwide cash shortage can change the way a country operates. This special report examines how Zimbabwe’s crisis-prone economy has changed daily life for people who live there.

1

Amid Job Scarcity, Zimbabwe’s Unlicensed Brick Molders Degrade the Land

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2

Male Sex Workers Struggle In Zimbabwe’s Shifting Economy

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3

Despite Rise in Hunger, Zimbabwe Continues Ban on Some Genetically Modified Products

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4

Illegal Residents of Zimbabwean Slum Faced With Two Bad Choices Amid Water Shortage

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5

In A Weak Economy, Traditional Healers In Zimbabwe Feel Boom and Bust

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6

Food Insecurity Forcing HIV Patients In Zimbabwe Off Lifesaving Medications

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7

Zimbabwe’s Import Limits Spark Criticism Among Both Consumers and Informal Vendors

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8

Unemployed Men in Zimbabwe Turn to Gambling to Earn Cash

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9

Despite Grave Health Risks, Zimbabwe City Lacks Funds to Fix Many Burst Sewage Pipes

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10

Invisible Children Beg, Sell on Zimbabwe’s Streets to Aid Families in Economic Turmoil

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11

Forced into Street Vending, Zimbabwe’s Professional Class Struggles to Survive

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12

Citizens React: Zimbabwe to Print $75M in Bond Notes in Response to Cash Shortages

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Daily Life in Cash-Poor Zimbabwe

1 Current
Amid Job Scarcity, Zimbabwe’s Unlicensed Brick Molders Degrade the Land
2 Current
Male Sex Workers Struggle In Zimbabwe’s Shifting Economy
3 Current
Despite Rise in Hunger, Zimbabwe Continues Ban on Some Genetically Modified Products
4 Current
Illegal Residents of Zimbabwean Slum Faced With Two Bad Choices Amid Water Shortage
5 Current
In A Weak Economy, Traditional Healers In Zimbabwe Feel Boom and Bust
6 Current
Food Insecurity Forcing HIV Patients In Zimbabwe Off Lifesaving Medications
7 Current
Zimbabwe’s Import Limits Spark Criticism Among Both Consumers and Informal Vendors
8 Current
Unemployed Men in Zimbabwe Turn to Gambling to Earn Cash
9 Current
Despite Grave Health Risks, Zimbabwe City Lacks Funds to Fix Many Burst Sewage Pipes
10 Current
Invisible Children Beg, Sell on Zimbabwe’s Streets to Aid Families in Economic Turmoil
11 Current
Forced into Street Vending, Zimbabwe’s Professional Class Struggles to Survive
12 Current
Citizens React: Zimbabwe to Print $75M in Bond Notes in Response to Cash Shortages
12

Citizens React: Zimbabwe to Print $75M in Bond Notes in Response to Cash Shortages

Faced with a massive cash shortage, the Reserve Bank of Zimbabwe plans to introduce $75 million in bond notes into the country's economy in October. While the effort could resolve short-term challenges for citizens, many are concerned about the long-term impact.

People wait to access cash at a CABS bank in Harare. Cash shortages in Zimbabwe have prompted plans to introduce bond notes.

Linda Mujuru, GPJ Zimbabwe

HARARE, ZIMBABWE — It’s about 6 a.m., and people are already queing up at ATMs at local banks. This is a normal sight in Zimbabwe as people struggle to access their money as a result of a massive cash shortage.

To ease the shortage, The Reserve Bank of Zimbabwe (RBZ) announced in May that it would introduce bond notes. This comes on top of the release of bond coins which occurred to help manage a coin shortage.

Bond notes are notes of monetary value that will be printed by the RBZ. They can be used just like currency in Zimbabwe, but they can’t be converted to any other currency.

John Mangudya, the RBZ governor, said the move is expected to ease the country’s cash shortage, reduce a dependence on imported goods and promote local production.

Mangudya said in the 2016 Mid-term Monetary Policy Statement that the bond notes will be in circulation by the end of October. By December, bond notes equivalent to $75 million will be in use.

This announcement sparked a lot of debate amongst Zimbabweans. Some welcome the bond notes, but others worry they will cause the economy to deteriorate.

Global Press Journal asked people how the bond notes will affect them. Here are their answers:

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“As for me, when we buy food stuffs in bulk from South Africa for resale, it will be difficult with the bond note. It will be better if the bond note is of the same value to the United States dollar. The bond note might be rated lower against the South African rand. That will make customers (not) buy my tomatoes.” — Rebecca Matangira, 28, vegetable vendor

Linda Mujuru, GPJ Zimbabwe

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“(The) bond note is good for me because it will enable me to have access to money. Whatever happens after, we may have to wait and see. For now, what l want is money. I am sewing a lot of things and people are not coming to buy my stuff because they have no money. I am angry because l have no access to cash at the moment.” — Albert Chinyeve, 38, tailor

Linda Mujuru, GPJ Zimbabwe

 

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“I don’t really understand how the bond note will really work. What l am asking from the government is for them to introduce something that improves our lives. … If they think bond notes will work, they should bring them. We just want something that will improve the economy.” — Dorica James, 26, electrical gadgets seller

Linda Mujuru, GPJ Zimbabwe

 

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“So many single mothers are surviving through cross-border trading. We cannot use the bond note to purchase stuff from outside the country. In (Zimbabwe), things will become more expensive. To survive, it will be difficult. Ever since it was announced that the bond note will be introduced, things are difficult for us. All these women selling are single mothers and do not know how to survive.” — Tendai Chimbwanda, 40, cross-border clothing and groceries trader

Linda Mujuru, GPJ Zimbabwe

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“We don’t want the bond notes. We do not have an industry in Zimbabwe that is manufacturing products. The businesses that are operating get their goods from South Africa. The bond note is useless in other countries. It will make us suffer. The introduction will benefit few people and businesses will close. They will not be able to control the bond note. We think forward, our children will not be able to go to school. … We don’t want things that benefit a few people while the rest are suffering.” — Winderlane Chivanga, 45, candy vendor

Linda Mujuru, GPJ Zimbabwe

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“The bond notes is a good move for me. Later on it might be a problem if we have landlords who want to be paid rentals in U.S. dollars and rejecting bond notes, but for now, viva bond note!” — Grace Chigwedere, 38, second-hand clothing seller

Linda Mujuru, GPJ Zimbabwe

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“The bond notes are going to affect us positively but for a short time, but in the long run it’s going to be a big problem. With the bond note my career is confined in Zimbabwe. l cannot import anything to Zimbabwe. The bond note will flood the market and it will be rated lower against the U.S. dollar.” — Tasunungurwa Dewah, 24, student

Linda Mujuru, GPJ Zimbabwe

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“The bond note is good. Money is not easily accessible these days. With the business l am doing the bond note will improve my income.” — Malvern Mukanga, 20, DVD and CD seller

Linda Mujuru, GPJ Zimbabwe

 

 

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