Zimbabwe stuck in financial mire
Seated in a silver-grey Toyota twincab, Keith Mlambo* is parked on the corner of Nelson Mandela Ave and 4th Street in Harare's central business district. His phone rings from time to time; he either tells those callers his location or drives to where they are, elsewhere in the city. Mlambo is a foreign-exchange trader and buys and sells the scarce US dollar on the black market. In this market, the dollar and the bond note have long lost the one-to-one parity first proclaimed by presidential decree when Robert Mugabe was still in office. An unofficial index, Zimbollar, puts the bond note/dollar exchange rate at 3.35/$. Foreign-exchange traders such as Mlambo have in recent weeks been forced off the streets by police as the government wages war on runaway prices and a surging black market. About 150 of the dealers have been arrested on the grounds that their activities are said to be fuelling price increases of basic foodstuffs such as cooking oil, sugar, flour and bread. Some busines...
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