I saw this BBC article earlier this month but didn't get a chance to include it until now. Zimbabwe continues to have currency issues, although very different in nature from the days of their hyper-inflation.
Once known for its billion dollar notes and hyper-inflation, Zimbabwe must be the only place in the world to have eight currencies as legal tender - none of them its own.
For the last five years most people have been using US dollars or South African rand, but pula from Botswana and British pound sterling have also been changing hands.
Now the central bank is also allowing the use of Australian dollars, Chinese yuan, Indian rupees and Japanese yen.
For the moment, customers can open bank accounts in these currencies but the hard cash is not yet in circulation.
"I definitely think there is going to be confusion being caused by so many currencies - for a cashier to be handling so many currencies at the same time," says Denford Mutashu, general manager of Food World, a nationwide supermarket chain.
Currently most shops in the capital, Harare, mark prices in US dollars. The rand is more commonly used in Bulawayo, closer to the South African border - and cashiers check daily exchange rate for conversions.
Given the complexities of the multiple currency system, there are now fears that forgery will be easier with unfamiliar notes.
Zimbabwe's liquidity crisis means shopkeepers and market traders often give change in sweets, airtime for mobile phones and even condoms.
One elderly shopper in Food World, buying 5kg of the staple food, maize meal, says the severe cash shortages, which meant the festive season was hard to endure, make her nostalgic for the Zimbabwean dollar.
"We want our currency, we want our Zimbabwean money," she says.
The small change shortage is reminiscent of what happened here in the U.S. as silver and gold went into hiding at the start of the Civil War. The "small change panic" of 1862 led shopkeepers and their patrons to resort to using candies, packets of flour and postage stamps in lieu of coins. I'd never heard of condoms being used as change, but desperate times lead to desperate measures.
To read the complete article, see:
Zimbabwe’s multi-currency confusion
Wayne Homren, Editor
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