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Zimbabwe Introduces New Currency Amid Skepticism

Zimbabwe has launched a new currency called the ZiG (short for Zimbabwe Gold) in an attempt to address the country’s long-running currency crisis. The ZiG, backed by Zimbabwe’s gold reserves, was introduced electronically in early April and has now been released in banknote and coin form.

Mistrust and Rejection

Despite being the sixth currency since the collapse of the Zimbabwe dollar in 2009, the ZiG is already facing mistrust and rejection from some quarters. Several government departments and businesses are refusing to accept the new currency, preferring to stick with the U.S. dollar, which remains the most trusted currency among Zimbabweans.

Conflicting Policies

While some businesses, like gas stations, have been allowed to reject the ZiG in favor of U.S. dollars, others are being ordered to use the new currency exclusively, facing punishment if they don’t comply. This conflicting approach has raised suspicions about the government’s commitment to the ZiG.

A Painful History

Zimbabwe’s hyperinflation crisis in 2009, which saw prices spiraling out of control and the printing of a 100 trillion Zimbabwe dollar banknote, remains a painful memory for many Zimbabweans. The U.S. dollar became a lifeline during this period, and its use has continued despite subsequent currency attempts.

Black Market Thrives

The black market for U.S. dollars remains active, with many Zimbabweans exchanging their local currency earnings for the greenback. Some even stash their U.S. dollars at home, distrustful of the banking system.

A Matter of “National Identity and Dignity”

President Emmerson Mnangagwa has urged Zimbabweans to trust the ZiG, calling it a matter of “national identity and dignity.” However, after decades of economic turmoil and repeated currency failures, many remain skeptical about the new currency’s prospects.

As the ZiG enters circulation, its fate remains uncertain, with Zimbabweans torn between the allure of a new currency and the safety of the tried-and-true U.S. dollar.

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