Sunday, May 14, 2006

Million dollar Chicken

With Zimbabwe’s official inflation now at 913 per cent, (international accountants say it is closer to 1500 percent,) it’s a pain going shopping. A decent sized whole chicken cost nearly a million Zimdollars this week....

Interest rates are officially about 783 per cent. Last week it was 750 percent. A medium sized engineering company had an overdraft of Z$10 billion in December. Now it owes the bank Z$65 billion. It can’t pay. In theory its trading figures should have kept its overdraft manageable as the value of the Zimbabwe dollar shrinks daily....

The army runs the other part) acknowledges without blushing that it prints trillions and trillions of Zimbabwe dollars, to keep the economy going.

Tuesday after Easter is Zimbabwe’s independence day, 26 years since the Union Jack was lowered in front of Prince Charles, and 26 years of rule by President Robert Mugabe.

When he came to power the Zimbabwe dollar was equivalent to US $1.60. This week the black market rate of the Zimbabwe dollar - which is the real rate - is Z$220 000 for US$1 on the street outside top hotel, Meikles, in central Harare. The official rate is Z$99 000 to US$1.

Every aspect of life in Zimbabwe is in a state of collapse. Education, health care, trade, commerce, and of course human rights. The most immediately visible decay is the roads. Advertisements on billboards around Harare now invite people to buy tarmac to “mend your own potholes.”

Zimbabwe’s main roads to South Africa and north to Zambia were probably the best roads in Africa 26 years ago. Potholes are the minor problem on serious roads south and north as the foundations are shifting. ....

(thanks for headsup to ShrinketteBlog)

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