Anyone who says there’s nothing to buy in Zimbabwe has it all wrong. Andrea came back from Harare last week with a few 100 and 50 trillion dollar notes that she’d bought as souvenirs for the kids (apparently there are more than a few of those around). She paid $5.00 (US) for each of them, which made me think of Jack exchanging the family cow for a handful of beans. However, there appears to be a vibrant trade in uncirculated Zim dollars, with sellers on eBay touting it as “historic currency”. Some are even appealing to bidders to “reduce poverty” by buying these notes.
Gideon Gono (the Governor of the Zimbabwean Reserve Bank) may well be doing some sums on the potential hard currency to be earned by selling the trillion-denominated banknotes as collectors’ items. However, like the hyper-inflation that led to their creation, releasing too many of them onto the market will destroy their value. A handful of beans is useful in the food production cycle. Perhaps Jack was quite clever, after all.