Zimbabwean Dollar

The Zimbabwean dollar was the official currency of Zimbabwe from 1980 to April 12, 2009.  Due to political turmoil and the collapse of the economy, the Zimbabwean dollar with currency code ZWD (symbol: Z$) is no longer in circulation.  Instead, standard trading currencies used and accepted today are the US dollar and South African rand.  The UK pound, Euro, and the Botswana pula are also generally accepted.

On April 18, 1980, The Republic of Zimbabwe gained independence from former British colony Rhodesia.  As a result the Zimbabwean dollar was issued to replace the Rhodesian dollar at par value. At that time, the Zimbabwean dollar was higher in value against the US dollar at 1.59.  However, since then political turmoil, hyperinflation, and the collapse of the economy has severely devalued the Z$ making it one of the weakest currencies in the world.

By 2008 inflation rates peaked at 80 billion percent a month.  That’s 6.5 quindecillion novemdecillion percent a year–or 65 followed by 107 zeros!  Simply put, this means that inflation was at 98% a day and that prices of basic commodities doubled every 24.7 hours.

The Z$ underwent three re-denominations in 2006, 2008, and 2009.  For up to July 2008, a Z$100 billion banknote can only purchase 3 pieces worth of eggs.  On July 30, 2008, the Reserve Bank of Zimbabwe redenominated Z$10 billion to Z$1.  Coins were subsequently issued with and valued at Z$25, Z$10 and Z$5; banknotes, on the other hand, were issued and were valued at Z$5, Z$10, Z$20, Z$100 as well as Z$500.  On the 2nd of February, 2009, another redenomination made the Z$1 trillion equivalent to Z$1 new (4th edition).  New bank notes were introduced again at Z$1, Z$5, Z$10, Z$20, Z$50, Z$100 and Z$500.  These currencies remained legal tender and circulated together until June 30, 2009.  During this time 1 US dollar was trading above 300 trillion Zimbabwe dollars.

In January 2009, the use of foreign currencies was legalized.  This move led to a sharp drop in the usage of the said currency.  By April 12, 2009, the Zimbabwean dollar was abandoned as an official currency.  According to the Zimbabwe government, they will only reintroduce the dollar if industrial output would average 60 percent more of its current output capacity as compared to the April 2009 output of 20 percent.

2 thoughts on “Zimbabwean Dollar

  1. Maxwell Christian

    I think the date in the fourth paragraph in the sentence “On the 2nd of February, 2009, …” should be ‘2nd January’, and not February as by 1st February Zimbabwe had fully dollarised.

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