Browsing: Inflation in Zimbabwe

Inflation in Zimbabwe: Zimbabwe two dollar banknote (Photo: Waldo Swiegers/Bloomberg) https://theexchange.africa/

Zimbabwe’s decades old inflation has been worsened by the Russia-Ukraine war. Inflation in Zimbabwe remains one of the highest globally and the only country in Southern Africa with headline inflation above 50 per cent.

Prior to the war, rising inflation in Zimbabwe, low foreign direct investments, unsustainable foreign debt levels and corruption were among a plethora of problems plaguing Zimbabwe’s economy.

Zimbabwe’s economic problems started surfacing in 1997 when the regime of the late Robert Mugabe paid unbudgeted pensions to veterans of the country’s 1970s liberation war, leading to a currency collapse. The situation got worse in 1999 when Zimbabwe sent its troops to fight in Democratic Republic of Congo civil war that also drew armies from Uganda, Rwanda and Angola. A violent land reform programme that displaced nearly 5,000 commercial farmers, precipitating the crisis. Disputed elections and human rights violations led to the country’s economic isolation, which has taken a serious toll on the economy.

Banks provide working capital for the day to day running of the majority of corporate Zimbabwe. Most suppliers work on a 30 to 90-day credit facility where supermarkets get access to products and then pay for the merchandise later. With no line of credit, there has been a shock to the supply chain. A few days after the announcement, companies started issuing press statements stating their failure to honour pre-standing contracts. Within a week, certain products started disappearing from shelves.

Cooking oil, cornmeal, and sugar have vanished from supermarket shelves. A precedent that echoes the dreaded year 2008 when another policy inconsistency made supermarkets into ghost towns. Zimbabweans know the signs of a dying economy and remember how tough life became in 2008.