Zimbabwe launches a new bank note that the authorities hope will ease a severe cash crunch, but critics fear it will erase their savings. Ciara Lee reports.
Another day, another dollar - but not just any dollar - a new one for Zimbabwe. Customers were able to withdraw their first bond notes from banks in Harare. The government hopes they'll ease a severe cash crunch. (SOUNDBITE) (Shona) HARARE RESIDENT, TENNISON TIGERE, SAYING: "I have bought a few items, including topping up my phone. Now I want to see if the supermarkets accept them." The Reserve Bank of Zimbabwe came up with the plan in May to address chronic cash shortages. An initial 10 million dollars worth are being introduced to supplement U.S. dollars which have widely been used since the collapse of the old currency seven years ago. The bank says the bond notes will be deposited directly into U.S. dollar accounts and will have the same value. But many fear their savings will be worth less, partly because they can only be used in Zimbabwe. The notes have also fuelled some of the largest protests in a decade against President Robert Mugabe, Zimbabwe's 92 year old leader. |The cash shortages come against the backdrop of slowing economic growth and a devastating drought that has left millions facing hunger.