Over the weekend I was in Harare, Zimbabwe. before going I had seen all the newspaper reports about the inflation and issues around lack of food and odd pricing policies being employed within the country, but actually being there and seeing it made it all the more bizarre.
When we arrived we “acquired” some local currency through non-official channels, getting an exchange rate of Z$100,000 to US$1! Apparently the previous week it had been higher (around Z$250,000 to $1) but this week it was slowly reducing after the harsh price cuts imposed by the government. This meant that for the couple of days we were there we had the rather large pile of cash shown. You’re only allowed to export Z$100,000 from the country.
The cash actually carried an expiration date! This tied in with stories of the mint running at full speed 24 hours a day to keep up with the amount of cash needed to pay people.
The hotel had food but we did hear a lot of horror stories from hotel workers about the problems getting sugar, flour and other basic foodstuffs. The people were friendly and country looks amazing – lets hope they get their situation sorted out soon.