Harare Day 1 – Money and Food

Day 414 January 2020 in Zimbabwe ⋅ ⛅ 29 °C

We have most of the day free in Harare and spent most of the day chilling around the hostel and swimming in the pool.

Our hostel in Harare (Click on any image to enlarge)

We decide to go out for a meal at 7pm at a local shopping village because 2 people are leaving and a new one is joining us. The restaurant is great with good service from a very handsome waiter with a London accent.

Before we go, we change some money into a local currency recognised nowhere in the world. It’s not even recognised as a currency. There are only 2 and 5 bond notes so I get a pile about 4cm thick. Insane. I felt rich beyond the dreams of avarice.

It reminds me of the time I was in East Berlin before the wall fell. You had to change 25 Deutschmarks into Oostmarks. You couldn’t buy anything with them and what you could buy was dirt cheap.

Here’s some info from Wikipedia, who else, that might give you an insight into the money situation here

Zimbabwean bond notes are a form of banknote  in circulation in Zimbabwe. Released by the  Reserve Bank of Zimbabwe the notes are stated to not be a currency in itself but rather legal tender  near money pegged equally against the U.S. dollar. In 2014 prior to the release of bond notes a series of bond coins entered circulation.

In November 2016, backed by a US$200 million African Export-Import Bank loan, the Reserve Bank of Zimbabwe began issuing $2 bond notes. Two months later, US$15 million worth of new five dollar bond notes were also released. Further plans for $10 and $20 bond notes were ruled out by the Reserve Bank’s governor John Mangudya.

The notes were not generally accepted by the Zimbabwean people, so the government tried expanding the electronic money supply and issuing Treasury bills instead.

The bond notes were still in circulation in 2018, although former Finance Minister Tendai Biti said that they should be demonetised, as they were being subject to arbitrage. In the campaigning for the 2018 elections, the bond notes became a political issue, with the MDC Alliance calling for their replacement with ‘real cash’.

Despite the notes being notionally pegged to the US dollar, their value, like the former Zimbabwean dollar, is collapsing, with everyday transactions using a rate of $3 bond notes to 1 US dollar in January 2019 and $13 bond notes to 1 US dollar as of November 2019.

I changed 50 US$ at 15 to the Bond . Today, the rate is 22 to the dollar. This is great if you’re changing from dollars but not good if you want to buy anything using Bond as everything seems to be priced in dollars.

Off to bed to read for a bit and then go spark out at around 11pm.

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