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Zimbabwe opens to multiple currencies

By on January 29, 2009

Zimbabweans will be allowed to use foreign currencies alongside the local dollar, which has collapsed due to hyperinflation, acting finance minister Patrick Chinamasa said Thursday. The country’s world-record hyperinflationary environment – last officially set at 231 million percent – has led the central bank to slash 13 zeros from the local unit over the past three years in a bid to make the currency more manageable.

“In line with the prevailing practices by the general public, government is therefore allowing the use of multiple foreign currencies for business transactions alongside the Zimbabwean dollar,” said Chinamasa, delivering the budget speech in parliament.
Previously, only licensed businesses could trade in forex but nearly all transactions in Zimbabwe are now conducted in U.S. dollars, U.K. pounds, the South African rand and Botswana pulas.

This month, the bank introduced a 100 trillion dollar note in its latest attempt to keep pace with conditions that has left its once-vibrant economy in tatters.

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