In the centre of shabby Harare it’s hard to know what is causing the most pain: runaway inflation and shortages of goods such as bread, or load-shedding, in effect for 18 hours a day. Then of course there are the fuel queues, which have been a daily fact of life for the past 10 months. In the midst of all this, the government’s June 24 ban on using foreign currency may make little immediate difference on the street.

Most urban Zimbabweans have no access to foreign currency; for more than two years, they’ve been using electronic cash (the real-time gross settlement, or RTGS, dollar) on their phones for shopping and for paying everything from school fees to taxi fare.

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