Zimbabweans Mend Old Dollar Notes as Economic Crisis Worsens

Worn out, torn or shredded $1 notes are now sort after in Zimbabwe, as the economic crisis lingers. Dollar bills are used by many people to buy their daily needs. Crisp new notes are not coming into Zimbabwe, so enterprising traders are fixing old ones for desperate customers.

Formal businesses, however reject such notes, forcing people to sell them to traders in the informal sector for a fraction of their original value. Informal street markets will usually — with some negotiation — accept the glue-patched notes.

Zimbabwe’s booming informal economy uses about two-thirds of the population, according to the International Monetary Fund, so there are lots of dirty dollars in circulation.

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The U.S. dollar has dominated transactions in Zimbabwe since the country’s hyperinflation soared to more than 5 billion per cent and forced the government to abandon the local currency in 2009.

Last year the government re-introduced a Zimbabwean currency and banned foreign currencies for local transactions. Few took heed though and the black market thrived, while the local currency quickly devalued. In March this year, the government relented and unbanned the dollar. Now shortages of small denominations of the dollar are a recurring nightmare.

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