Today, shops in the capital are fully stocked with goods which anyone can buy as long as they pay in U.S. dollars. Zimbabwe's government allowed the use of multiple currencies in early 2009, effectively making the dollar the official currency.
Harare's streets are markedly cleaner than they were six months ago, grocery shops have sprung up all over the capital -- offering goods at prices comparable to neighbouring South Africa -- and there are more new vehicles on the roads.
But much-needed investment from abroad remains absent and the country's stock exchange has seen foreign investors retreat after the introduction of regulations calling for foreign-owned companies to transfer a majority stake to Zimbabweans.
Zimbabwe moved to implement the Indigenisation and Economic Empowerment Act that requires foreign firms to sell a 51 percent stake to local blacks at the end of January.
"The foreigners are sniffing around. You can see that from the full hotels but nothing will happen until the economy picks up," said one banker in Harare.
Zimbabwe's power-sharing government, set up by President Robert Mugabe and his rival Morgan Tsvangirai, now the country's prime minister, has estimated around $10 billion is needed to repair the economy. Continued...